Constituent Services
Waterfront Parkway Landscape Design Panel Announces Recommendations for Fuhrmann Improvements
March 26, 2008

Congressman Higgins, Mayor Brown, Commissioner Glynn Applaud Panel Efforts Making Outer Harbor a Destination Site


Buffalo, NY – A group of local landscape and design experts were joined today by Congressman Brian Higgins, New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Astrid C. Glynn and City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown as they announced recommendations for the landscape and urban design elements for a new, 3.3-mile Parkway running parallel to Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.


 “This esteemed group of local professionals has volunteered their time and talent to create a one-of-a-kind gateway with abundant landscape, greenspace and pedestrian trails that welcomes people to the water’s edge,” said Congressman Higgins.  “After decades of talk and planning, tangible outer harbor progress is happening.  Construction trucks and workers were already hard at work along this stretch this week.” 


The uniquely qualified Western New Yorkers who met several times over the last few months served in an advisory capacity to the New York State Department of Transportation to devise a plan for the landscaping along the new parkway-like boulevard. 


“The Buffalo Outer Harbor Parkway Project is an important step in reclaiming the Buffalo waterfront now, creating both amenities that invite people to the waterfront and a setting for future waterfront revitalization.” State Department of Transportation Commissioner Astrid C. Glynn said.  “We welcome the recommendations of this outstanding panel and are committed to working with the community to implement them, ensuring that this project realizes the local vision for making the Outer Harbor a place for families, bicyclists and joggers to enjoy the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of the area.”


The new $55 million project will transform Fuhrmann Boulevard from a confusing, unsafe and underutilized road to a two-way, tree-lined parkway which delivers unprecedented public access and pastoral beauty to the water’s edge.  Major construction on the 36-month project is expected to be complete in the fall of 2010.


"Progress continues along the City of Buffalo's waterfront and I agree with Congressman Higgins that the contributions of the local landscape and design experts will make this project more inviting and appealing to anyone wishing to gain access to the Outer Harbor," said mayor Brown. "The revitalization of Buffalo's waterfront, here and at other critical points along our city's coastline, is a growing symbol of what can be achieved for the collective good of all city residents and our visitors. I thank Congressman Higgins for his continuing determination to see good things happen along Buffalo's waterfront and I commend the New York State Department of Transportation and the volunteers of the Waterfront Parkway Landscape Design Panel for partnering together to bring these pedestrian and environmentally-sensitive recommendations to fruition."


Members of the panel include:


·        David Colligan, Director of the Buffalo Green Fund, co-chair of Re-Tree WNY Campaign, chair-elect of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation board member;

·        Dean W. Gowen, RLA (Registered Landscape Architect), DWG Planning and Design, Former Director of Park Design and Restoration for the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, experience includes South Buffalo Redevelopment Concept Plan project manager;   

·        Constance L. Lydon, MLA (Master of Landscape Architecture), Lydon Landscape and Design, in 1993 taught “High Quality, Low-Maintenance Landscapes” at Harvard Graduate School of Design;  

·        David K. MacLeod, ASLA, MLI (American Society of Landscape Architects, Member of the Landscape Institute) Principal, Cannon Design, 33 years of experience in planning, landscape architecture, founding member of the Buffalo Lighthouse Association, served as advisor to the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation;  

·        Mark V. Mistretta, RLA, ASLA (Registered Landscape Architect, American Society of Landscape Architects) Principal Landscape Architect at Wendel Duchscherer, 28 years of experience includes development of Niagara River Greenway Plan and planning and implementation for six Buffalo Olmsted Parks;

·        Peg Overdorf, Executive Director of the Valley Community Association since 1979, responsible for the Buffalo River Fest Park with construction set to begin in 2008;  

·        Marge Ryan, Co-founder of South Buffalo Alive, volunteer community group responsible for McKinley Parkway  landscaped traffic circles and other community gardens ; and

·        Karen Wallace, Director, Center for Science Learning, Buffalo Museum of Science, holds a  Masters in Science Education, UB Adjunct Associate Professor  for Learning and Instruction. 


City of Buffalo Advisors were:

·        Stephen Stepniak, Acting Commissioner Department of Public Works, Parks and Streets, and

·        Mawusi Watson, Senior Special Assistant to the Executive Director of Strategic Planning. 


The following are some of the more significant recommendations made by the Panel (see attachment for more detail):

  • Fuhrmann Boulevard will now have one moving lane and one parking lane in each direction.  A center median and bulb-outs at intersections will make the roadway more pedestrian friendly;
  • A continuous multi-use path will serve to tie the project together from beginning to end along this three-mile stretch.  The path will be a perfect place for a family bicycle outing, for walkers, joggers, rollerbladers or anyone who chooses to spend time along this great waterfront;  
  • The design will help to enhance a “sense of place,” and help spark waterfront revitalization, while making the Outer Harbor a destination upon completion of the project; 
  • The project will improve access to existing amenities and provide new amenities and recreational areas, including fishing piers, access walkways, benches and public artwork;
  • The design takes its cues from the natural environment and ecosystem of Lake Erie and from the rich industrial heritage of Buffalo.  The design recognizes the past while looking to the future; 


The parkway will provide an aesthetically pleasing and easy way to reach the Outer Harbor and its amenities.  The environment will include naturalistic, low maintenance amenities and plantings.


The Outer Harbor Parkway is compatible with any future at-grade Buffalo River Crossing. 


Real progress on the Fuhrmann Parkway is the first phase of a long term strategy leading to the ultimate goal of the removal of the Skyway and the elevated section of Route 5.  Following completion of the parkway, the next phase will be the implementation of the findings of the required study to identify the best bridge connection required between the Inner and the Outer Harbors.   Empire State Development has agreed to serve as lead agent for the study of a new bridge.


For more details on the Outer Harbor Project visit:




Washington, DC Office
431 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-3306
Fax: 202-226-0347

Erie County Office
Larkin at Exchange
726 Exchange Street
Suite 601
Buffalo, NY 14210
Phone: 716-852-3501
Fax: 716-852-3929
Chautauqua County Office
Fenton Building
2 East Second Street
Suite 300
Jamestown, NY 14701
Phone: 716-484-0729
Fax: 716-484-1049