The Western New York Land Conservancy and its design partners W Architecture, Hood Design Studio, and Green Shield Ecology presented their final concept designs for The Riverline at a press conference at the Tewksbury Lodge Pavilion in Buffalo last week.
The Riverline is the Conservancy’s proposed urban nature trail and greenway that stretches along an unused railroad corridor from Canalside at the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Terminal Terminal in downtown Buffalo to the Buffalo River across from Riverbend and Tesla.
The concept designs are the result of four years of public engagement. Organizers say the concepts are built around a common theme: The Riverline as a place of Refuge.
“The Riverline will provide a place for residents to find refuge, in whatever ways they define it: a place of security, a place of shelter; a place of safety; a place for small social gatherings; a place of sanctuary,” an announcement read. “The Riverline is a place of coming together and a place of personal growth: a place where we can find ourselves amongst a living history and heritage along our shared waterfront.Along the one-and-a-half-mile stretch, which runs through the Old First Ward, Perry, and Valley neighborhoods, the design team has also identified locations to introduce gardens and nature-based recreation to reflect the community’s vision for this important green connector.”
The designs include a variety of place types along the trail: The Del – where tight-knit neighborhoods come right up to the trail itself; The Junctures – where the legacy of the railroad becomes a place of connection; and The Basswoods – where nature takes center stage. Entrances have also been designed with respect to the character of the communities. The projects Gateways provide high profile public access points while neighborhood connectors provide more subtle approaches for those who live along The Riverline.
The DL&W corridor is owned by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), which has been supporting project planning and design work.
The proposed Riverline will include walking, bicycling, and winter activities like snowshoeing and sledding. It would connect to parks and kayak launches along the Buffalo River, and to trails that go to Canalside and the Outer Harbor, as well as the Larkin District and beyond.
Funding for the Concept and Schematic Design phase came in part through an Environmental Protection Fund grant (EPF #180842) administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Additional funding is provided by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York Blue Fund; KeyBank in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation; Moog Inc.; the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor’s IMPACT! Grant Program;the East Hill Foundation; Kathy Lasher and Scott Bieler;Peggy and Jay Elliott; Nancy and Tom Smith; and other individual community donors.
The Land Conservancy continues to seek additional funding for The Riverline. If you are interested in learning more about this project, or donating to create The Riverline, visit the new website for The Riverline: theriverline.com. You can also reach out to the Land Conservancy at (716) 687-1225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Western New York Land Conservancy is a regional, not-for-profit land trust that permanently protects land with significant conservation value in Western New York for current and future generations. To learn more about the Land Conservancy, visit their website.
Illustrations, from above: Riverline Double Bridge; and map of the Riverline Refuge provided.
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