UB Graduate Planning Studio

This semester, our Community Development team had the opportunity to work with Ellen Parker’s Graduate Planning Studio at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. The studio spent the past few months learning about Rail Trail planning and imagining the Northeast Greenway.

Tour of the Current Trail

In September, Darren Cotton and Stephanie Bucalo gave a presentation to the Masters of Urban Planning (MUP) students to introduce the Northeast Greenway Initiative. Afterwards, Darren and Stephanie led the students on a tour of the North Buffalo Rail Trail and the cycle track that runs along William L. Gaiter Parkway, which would be connected by the Northeast Greenway.

Tour of the Proposed Trail

In October, our Community Development team and the MUP students toured the area where the proposed Northeast Greenway would possibly run. The tour, which started at LaSalle Metro station, took the students down William Price Parkway, into McCarthy Park, and onto the East Amherst Street abutments. On the tour, possible planning challenges, like getting from Main Street to McCarthy Park, were addressed and discussed.


On December 4th, students from the studio presented on the Northeast Greenway Initiative. The presentation started off with discussing brief history of Rail Trails and the benefits they have to the community. The students then talked about the characteristics of the University District, including its bicycling infrastructure, schools, religious and medical institutions, population density and health outcomes. They gave recommendations regarding the planning of the new trail, addressed possible challenges and proposed multiple solutions. The students also considered the idea that the new trail could be a destination by installing public art, recreation infrastructure, wayfinding and signage.