Reserving green space and public access to the Outer Harbor is key

Things have shaped up over the last few months around Buffalo’s waterfront. Approximately a year removed from a relative low point in construction and planning – punctuated by the removal of Pike Construction from the Aud site – things have hit a definitive upswing.

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has recently taken control of Outer Harbor land and are currently working to identify the proper direction for the property. The public hearings on the land appear to reflect the desire for park space to occupy most, if not all of the ECHDC-held land. As someone who has longed to see true progress along the waterfront in the form of a mixed-use, entertainment district I feel that this seems like a terrific way to go for the Outer Harbor.

If the Outer Harbor was kept as green space that maximized public access thanks to the acres and acres of land, the Inner Harbor and Canalside could be left to grow as the entertainment district it’s been slated to become since the first drafts of the master plan were laid out. A relationship of public access and green space along the Outer Harbor and mixed-use development on the Inner Harbor would not only appease nearly every sector of the public, but would also allow the ECHDC to keep their focus on each topic without being spread thin.

Of course, that means that the Outer Harbor is indeed pegged to become a sterling waterfront park. It seems doubtful that the Outer Harbor is used for a football stadium, residential development or any other sort of large development. This is a space that is already dominated by a number of linked green spaces that could be further enhanced if the space was enhanced further. Continue reading

Boston offers hints for Buffalo’s future

I took another roadie to a city with quite a bit of history and tradition this past weekend. Wouldn’t you know it, there are plenty of ideas staring you right in the face that make you wonder, “why isn’t this being done in Buffalo?”

The belly of Quincy Market. The food court stretches down the hall in both directions on the bottom floor.

The city I visited was Boston. I caught a Dispatch concert that absolutely kicked ass and I was able to taking the area in and around TD Garden (the USRT boys certainly know this area) and I was able to stroll many a city block taking in the history and architecture of that great city. I also hung out a Quincy Market, an ideal template for some of the questions floating around Canalside and the waterfront.

I will first say this, I understand that Boston is one of the oldest American cities with boatloads more history and tradition than Buffalo. I also am well aware that Boston dwarfs the Queen City in size. But that is ok. What I want to focus on are key cogs, not the big picture.

No beating around the bush, though. Quincy Market is EXACTLY what Buffalo needs. I mean E-X-A-C-T-L-Y. It is filled with shopping and eateries in an open market setting. There is room for kiosks – for those functional lawn fans who only want t-shirts being sold – while having, gasp, national chain retailers as well. Basically, it is like taking parts of the Galleria Mall and turning them inside out so people can enjoy the weather while they shop. By the way, the snow argument doesn’t really hold water considering Boston’s geographic location. Continue reading