Buffalo Riverwalk Shoreline Trail
Situated along the Niagara River, the Buffalo Riverwalk Shoreline Trail is a multi-use recreational spine that links parks and offers prime vantage points of the Canadian shoreline, historic bridges, interpretive sites and watercraft activity.
The objective of the project was to upgrade the trail, improve safety and enliven the space as a catalyst to recreational and economic activity along the re-emerging Niagara Street corridor. With $1.3 million in federal funding, the project renewed the pavement and rehabilitated the associated infrastructure.
The project included removal of invasive species, shoreline restoration to prevent further degradation and to restore the trail alignment, a culvert replacement, timber curb replacement, railing repairs and the installation of energy-efficient LED site lighting. The improvements were designed to allow for low-impact public access and maintenance.
At the bulkhead lookouts, a new garden was created with densely planted native grasses, shrubs and a variety of trees clustered to allow for better adaption and survival in the exposed and windy site conditions along the river. The garden features paths, seat walls, unique seating and pavements treated with playful color and texture. The garden area is intended to be an immersive experience as trail users enter this special place and then remerge to more open and sunny stretches along the trail. The furnishings and seating areas are sited to take advantage of the spectacular views of the Niagara River.
Public art was incorporated into various project elements by soliciting artists’ proposals in cooperation with the Buffalo Public Arts Commission. The selected artwork involved the use of colorful mosaics inlayed on the sitting surfaces of the benches and painting symbols and clan animals that celebrate the Native American history that is so closely associated with the river.
Given the trail’s location along the Niagara River, an international boundary waterway, the project involved extensive coordination with various agencies including the Canadian National Railway, NYSDEC, NYSDOT, SHPO, NYS Department of State, the International Joint Commission and the Department of the Army. An extensive environmental review and documentation process was required, and several permits were obtained prior to construction.