Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) stood along the Buffalo waterfront to report on ongoing construction occurring at various points along the Outer Harbor.
“Today you see something new along Buffalo’s Outer Harbor – construction trucks and workers,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “This is the beginning of Western New York building a better community by taking advantage of the natural resources that are uniquely ours.”
Fuhrmann Boulevard reconstruction south of Tifft Street will begin soon and scheduled for completion by August. Fuhrmann will be temporarily widened along the NFTA Boat Harbor. Temporary diversion ramps to take traffic off of NY Route 5 are underway. Traffic will be detoured to Fuhrmann Boulevard off of Route 5 around July while work is ongoing along Route 5, then traffic will be re-routed to Route 5 while work occurs along Fuhrmann Boulevard.
Outer Harbor Parkway
$55 million project is underway to change this unsafe and underutilized road into a two-way tree-lined parkway running parallel to the Outer Harbor. In addition to creating the infrastructure that can get people to the water’s edge we wanted to make the waterfront land surrounding the parkway an exciting public destination. Congressman Higgins and the New York State Department of Transportation put together a volunteer, citizen panel comprised of local landscape and design experts to work with the New York State Department of Transportation on incorporating landscape and urban design elements into the project. The team’s combined efforts will result in a gently curving parkway with decorative lighting and ample street-side parking; a pedestrian/bicycle path with benches and beautiful landscaping, new fishing stations, picnic pavilions and boardwalks.
Outer Harbor Greenbelt Project
Dramatic improvements are underway along the 6,600 feet of Lake Erie shoreline, starting at the now demolished Pier Restaurant, from the Bell Slip to Terminal B of Buffalo’s port facilities. This $14 million Greenbelt project will be completed this spring and will include a recreational path, decorative landscaping, stream-bank stabilization and construction of a shallow-water fish habitat along the Bell Slip.
Buffalo Lighthouse & Coast Guard Property
Senator Clinton has been a strong and active partner with Congressman Higgins on an effort which will open up public access to the historic lighthouse and valuable waterfront land near the site of the Buffalo Coast Guard station. Sector Buffalo currently occupies approximately 31 acres on the City of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. The present configuration of the base prevents public access to a significant portion of the City’s waterfront, including one of our community’s most historic landmarks, the Buffalo Lighthouse. The Coast Guard has indicated that Sector Buffalo occupies a site that is too large for its needs. In 2003 the Coast Guard drew up a preliminary plan to upgrade facilities – some of which are over 70 years old – and consolidate them in a way that would meet its operational needs and allow for future growth. $3.1 million in federal funding was included in the 2007 appropriations bill for preliminary engineering and design work which will begin this year.
NFTA Land Transfer and Lakeside Meadows Investment
Just recently, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding allowing for the transfer of 111 acres of Outer Harbor land to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) for a greenfield redevelopment project. ECHDC will spend $3 million in improvements on the site, being named Lakeside Meadows, which will take place on the land between the Skyway and the water’s edge. This initial investment will convert land currently barren and unsightly into property welcoming to the public and attractive to private investors interested in residential and commercial development along this site.
Skyway Removal and New Bridge Connections
Two million dollars in Federal Highway funds was designated to start the first phase of a project to construct an at grade bridge between the inner and outer harbors. This phase consists of an environmental study and preliminary engineering to investigate possible locations for the bridge connecting downtown Buffalo to the new Outer Harbor waterfront parkway. Empire State Development has agreed to serve as lead agent for the study of a new bridge. Bridge locations that have been considered include Michigan Avenue, Main Street and Erie Street.
“Skyway removal is a three step process,” added Higgins. “First we must construct the Waterfront Parkway which provides attractive, two-way access to the water’s edge. Next we need to build bridge that connects the inner harbor to the new Parkway. And finally, we can remove the Skyway once its alternative is in place. “