Infrastructure

The removal of key segments of limited-access expressways along the Upper Niagara River and the Niagara Gorge corridor—comprising underutilized portions of the Niagara Scenic (formerly Robert Moses) Parkway—is the largest and most transformative infrastructure project Niagara Falls has seen in decades.  These efforts—while preserving reasonable vehicular access—will greatly enhance the resident and visitor experience by increasing access to and better uniting all water features (Niagara Falls, river and gorge) with adjoining neighborhoods to create a single destination.  It will significantly bolster sustainability by reducing unnecessary pavement and expand green space to facilitate a host of outdoor recreation activities to boost the visitor experience and attract private development.

Riverway

The “Riverway” project is located along a one-mile stretch of the Upper Niagara River, through which the last mile of the southern segment of the former Robert Moses Parkway—an elevated expressway—once passed and terminated in Niagara Falls State Park.  Along the Riverway segment, which is mostly within Niagara Falls State Park, all expressway features have now been removed and replaced with a pedestrian-friendly low-speed park road (the Riverway),  along with trails and park space that evokes the characteristics of Frederick Law Olmsted's original design for the Riverway that historically passed through the area.  As part of the project, an elevated interchange at John B. Daly Boulevard has been removed at the entrance to the State Park—along with the earthen berm on which it sat—and replaced with a modern roundabout that opened to traffic in May 2015 and a signature entry feature that was completed in Fall 2016. Other enhancements include a full path system and nature areas, as well as a new water feature evoking the former Port Day Pond, a favorite local fishing and gathering spot for residents until it was filled in 1960 to make way for the Robert Moses Parkway. 

All of these changes are aimed at allowing easier access to the Niagara River and the American Rapids – where for generations residents and visitors have had to cross four lanes of concrete expressway to access the water’s edge.  Now there will be native plantings and a complete trail network to facilitate hiking, biking, fishing, cross-country skiing, all accessible from city streets for the first time in more than 50 years.  ESD committed $11.5 million towards this more than $25 million project through the Governor’s Buffalo Billion initiative, with the balance of the funding coming from the NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation (NYS Parks), and the New York Power Authority (NYPA).

Read more about the Riverway project here.

Niagara Gorge Corridor
Parkway Removal Project: Main Street to Findlay Drive

New York State is also working on a future project on the northern section of the Niagara Scenic (formerly Robert Moses) Parkway, which involves removal of an underutilized two-mile segment from Main Street to Findlay Drive to be replaced with open space, scenic overlooks and recreational trails to make the waterfront more accessible. It will also include reconstruction of Whirlpool Street and a portion of Third Street immediately next to the parkway to provide north-south access to this portion of the Niagara Gorge corridor. 

The $42 million project marks the largest expansion of green space since the Niagara Reservation was designed in 1885 and will link the Niagara River Gorge and Falls into a single destination to allow easier access to the water’s edge.  This would realize approximately 140-acres of an unbroken green ribbon of open space along the Gorge, rim-linking three State Parks and creating full accessibility to adjoining city neighborhoods that will enable new outdoor recreational opportunities in the area, including hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing. 

Removal of the parkway is expected to start in early 2018 and take about two years.