First draft designs for Buffalo waterfront's new Riverline greenpath unveiled

Apr 29, 2021

Buffalo's Riverline is starting to take shape, with landscape designs from architects.

For decades, it was just an old DL&W railroad line from downtown Buffalo into the city’s East Side, gradually becoming overgrown and losing its massive rail bridges. Now, it’s going to be the Riverline, a recreational and cultural pathway connecting the waterfront through varied neighborhoods. There will be new bridges, perhaps six of them, and a long trestle over rail lines, woodland and parks.

During an unveiling of draft designs Wednesday, California architect Walter Hood said those bridges will give people a new look at Buffalo.

"Views back out might begin to reflect, again, being in a place, having prospect right over the landscape and then going down the landscape and having more refuge," Hood said. "And so, these views out -- What are we looking at? What are we looking to? What places are we sheltered? -- become really, really important. So the bridges become this function, that allow us to look out and understand the world in which we live."

Manhattan architect Barbara Wilks says the plan is for a block-by-block route and design.

"Once you leave the Moore Street gathering place and rise up to the top of the levee, you are in another world," Wilks said. "Here, nature takes hold and you are enclosed in a young woodland. This play between enclosed nature prospect and open prospect, as Walter mentioned earlier, is a key component of the Riverline experience."

Credit Western New York Land Conservancy / YouTube
Credit Western New York Land Conservancy / YouTube

The Western New York Land Conservancy plans to gather more public feedback and have final designs ready this summer. There’s no indication yet of the cost and construction schedule, but the land is available for walking and tourism.