The Niagara Waterfront Opportunity Area Master Plan proposes projects in five strategic investment sites in the study area: the Portage/Innovation Park; the Hyde Park Strategic Area; the LaSalle Gateway; the Northern Gateway; and the Niagara Scenic Parkway. The plan also includes recommendations for improvements to Buffalo Avenue and outlines a concept for a new recreational “Energy Trail” to help connect the city to the Niagara River waterfront.
The map at right illustrates a composite of proposals in the Master Plan . You can read an executive summary of the plan here. The draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) and final full Master Plan, also known as the Niagara Falls Brownfield Opportunity Area Report, which will help qualify projects in the plan for assistance from New York State, is available for review here.
The plan is supported by a wide range of technical studies, public engagements, and other analysis that are contained in an appendix. These include records of community participation, profiles of strategic sites, an economic and market analysis, a real estate market analysis, a report on the Echota neighborhood, summaries of stakeholder interviews, a study for a LaSalle Boulevard, redevelopment precedent case studies, model industrial performance standards, illustrations and cost estimates for a Niagara Scenic Parkway downgrade, and cost estimates for improvements to the Niagara Scenic Parkway parks. You can review the appendices here.
Click on the link to see more about:
Hyde Park Strategic Area
LaSalle Gateway Area
Niagara Scenic Parkway Strategic Area
Buffalo Avenue Improvements
Niagara Falls Energy Trail
The Portage/Innovation Park Strategic Area is strategically located at the gateway to the NWOA from the west and is adjacent to the tourist and Downtown neighborhoods in the City of Niagara Falls. Of all the Strategic Areas, this area has the greatest potential for both development and impact on the NWOA and the City overall. The area, near the intersection of Buffalo Avenue and Portage Road and extending to Gill Creek, provides an opportunity to repurpose the current underutilized industrial area into a vibrant neighborhood anchored by a Tesla Museum at the Adam’s Power Plant, a Hotel and Conference Center and a new Innovation Business Park.
Based on the concept plans developed, the area could attract more than $250 million and 1.5 million square feet of private investment, as well as 3,000 jobs, in the next 20 years. Redevelopment of the Adam’s Power Plant into a Tesla Museum, and the former Carborundum Office building into a Hotel and Conference Center will not only provide iconic anchors to the Strategic Area, but they will also provide a leading example of how to re-purpose buildings throughout the NWOA.
The Hyde Park Strategic Area is centered near the intersection of Hyde Park Boulevard (State Route 61) and Buffalo Avenue (State Route 384) and extends south to the Niagara Scenic Parkway (formerly the Robert Moses Parkway). Consequently the area is a strategic transportation link in the NWOA that provides access north to the City’s vibrant Pine Avenue neighborhood and west to the Core City neighborhood.
To take advantage of the area’s strategic location, the Hyde Park Strategic Area includes a new roundabout at the intersection of Buffalo Avenue and Hyde Park Boulevard. It also includes an extension of Hyde Park Boulevard south to a new roundabout intersection at the Niagara Scenic Parkway requiring a bridge over the active railroad track parallel to the Parkway. A new neighborhood will emerge at the Hyde Park Boulevard/Buffalo Avenue intersection with multi-story mixed use buildings enclosing the roundabout in a compact, pedestrian scaled development.
The LaSalle Gateway Strategic Area is located near the interchange of Interstate 190 (Grand Island Bridges) and Buffalo Avenue. This very visible and accessible Strategic Area is the gateway to both the NWOA and the LaSalle residential neighborhood. Redesign of the Niagara Scenic Parkway’s connections to Buffalo Avenue will provide opportunities for new development along Buffalo Avenue and improve the gateway’s image. New uses with higher quality design, as well as enhanced streetscape treatments along Buffalo Avenue, will also complement the healthy residential neighborhoods north of Buffalo Avenue.
The Northern Gateway Strategic Area is located at the interchange of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Interstate 190. Rece
ntly the burgeoning Niagara Falls Boulevard and Military Road development has fortunately bled west into this area in the City of Niagara Falls with new retail and hotel development occurring over the last decade. There are multiple vacant and underutilized properties in the area that present great opportunities to upgrade the appearance and cohesiveness of the district through design and industrial performance standards. Zoning amendments should also recognize the need for a hybrid commercial/industrial zone to promote consistency of uses, design, entrance/exit controls, signs, and landscaping on both sides of Niagara Falls Boulevard. High traffic counts (25,000 AADT) in this corridor will also encourage retail development.
The Niagara Scenic Parkway (formerly the Robert Moses Parkway) is not a typical Strategic Area. However, improvements to the Parkway are critical to propelling investment in the Niagara Waterfront Opportunity Area and to realizing the NWOA primary goal to improve access to the Niagara River. As such, it will be categorized as a Strategic Area. This plan proposes downgrading the “Upper Niagara” section of the Parkway from the new roundabout at John B. Daly Boulevard to Interstate 190 (Grand Island Bridges). Additional enhancements to the Parkway are proposed as described in the illustrations.
The parkway downgrade will involve a narrowing of pavement for automobiles and a reconfiguration of pedestrian and bicycle trails for the safety and comfort of users. You can see cross-section diagrams of the revised parkway here.
Old Chimney Park is proposed as a small waterfront park accessible from both the Niagara Scenic Parkway and the Portage/Innovation Park area. The park will feature picnic area, playground, waterfront boardwalk, connections to recreational trails, and interpretation of the Old Stone Chimney.
The outlet of Gill Creek will provide a waterfront deck and interpretation for the creek at a point where waterfront and parkway multi-use recreational trails meet. Similar treatment is suggested at a location slightly to the west. The location also provides a connection along Gill Creek to the city-wide Energy Trail.
Energy Intake Park will create a major new focus at the location of the Niagara Power Project intake gates with a visitor center, restrooms, pavilion, pergola (for shade), and interpretation of the power intakes. A visitor parking area and pull-offs from the Niagara Scenic Parkway and a proposed connection to Hyde Park Boulevard are intended to accommodate tourists traveling this route.
A Fishing Pier at the existing overlook and parking area will improve waterfront connection at 53rd Street. A boardwalk and extended deck will enhance access for anglers and others.
The Ecology Overlook will preserve and restore natural vegetation at the interchange between the Niagara Scenic Parkway and I-190 at the north Grand Island Bridge. Waterside decks accessible from the multi-use trail will be added.
Infrastructure investments along Buffalo Avenue – the alternative route from the Grand Island Bridge to downtown Niagara Falls – can improve safety, offer comfort, and provide beauty for travelers. Improvements would include a slight narrowing of traffic lanes to accommodate bike lanes, tree plantings, new street lighting and sidewalks as well as improved road surfaces.
A city-wide trail loop, adding new connections to existing routes, will connect the Niagara Gorge and the State Park with the proposed Energy Park, Hyde Park, Reservoir State Park, and the Power Vista to give visitors a comprehensive exposure to points of interest in Niagara Falls.