Northeast Greenway Initiative
Connecting Communities to a Greener, More Equitable Future
The UDCDA envisions the Northeast Greenway Initiative (NGI) as the next step in building out critical alternative transportation infrastructure within City of Buffalo using existing, abandoned rail right of ways. The NGI leverages recent federal and local investments in a 5.2 mile bike path connecting the City of Buffalo with the Town and City of Tonawanda through research and planning components aimed at extending the path an additional 1 mile across Main Street into Buffalo’s East Side. Currently an overgrown and inaccessible abandoned rail right of way, this 1 mile path would provide a direct connection from Main Street to Kensington Avenue, where it would meet an existing 1 mile long cycle track that runs along William L Gaiter Parkway from Kensington Avenue to East Delavan Avenue.
Based on the UDCDA’s 2017 “Community Needs Assessment”, residents shared that public greenspace and recreation space are an essential need to improve the quality of life in University District. The new path would not only meet these needs, but will also serve as an important community greenway connecting four neighborhood parks, four schools and four different neighborhoods.
Research & Design
Understanding the short and long term impacts of investments in alternative transportation infrastructure will be essential in building out this initial 1-mile path extension as well as larger projects across the city and region. Through a research fellowship, the UDCDA will look at the impact of this type of infrastructure on public health outcomes (heart disease, diabetes, asthma, etc.), environmental factors (ambient air quality), and economic indicators (property values, tax revenue, etc.).
Precedent studies and literature reviews will assist with the final design of the path and help overcome obstacles, such as street crossings that are not at-grade. Theses studies will also help inform what measurements and metrics that the UDCDA and its partners can use in accessing the impact of the trail.
Finally, different approaches to long term maintenance of the path will be researched and explored to better understand how the path can thrive when and if construction funding is identified in the next phase.
Planning & Engagement
The existing 1-mile City of Buffalo bike path running from Kenmore Avenue to Main Street was the result of years of hard work and advocacy by the surrounding neighborhoods in partnership with the City of Buffalo. The UDCDA’s “Community Needs Assessment” indicates a strong support for the extension of the path into the East Side.
Through a combination of interviews, focus groups, community mapping exercises, and large community open houses, the UDCDA will engage the East Side residents in creating a community-based plan and vision for the path extension.
Non-traditional public engagement tools, such as longitudinal text messaging surveys will create opportunities for continuous community dialogue, while a “plan while doing” approach will engage residents of all ages in service events, cleanups, plantings of native species and tours of the existing path. Engagement activities will culminate with a signature “Crossroads of Creativity” event in the summer of 2020.
Take our Survey!
We would like to hear from you! Community input is highly valuable as we begin to plan the expansion of the North Buffalo Rail Trail and make improvements to existing green spaces. Let your opinion be heard by taking the Northeast Greenway Initiative (NGI) Survey. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes. Your feedback is key to ensuring local green spaces are designed in a way that encourages safety, creativity, fitness, fun and community.
Questions, comments, or want to get more involved? Please reach out to UDCDA Community Development Coordinator Stephanie Bucalo at email@example.com.