Bringing Nature Downtown:
A New Life for an Old Rail Corridor

The Riverline Joins the High Line Network

The Riverline became one of 15 new members of the High Line Network, a community of nonprofit infrastructure reuse leaders. The Network has grown from an initial group of 11 leaders to include 39 projects across North America, showing the growing trend of transforming underutilized and abandoned infrastructure into new urban landscapes. We’re thrilled to join the Brickline Greenway in St. Louis, Destination Crenshaw in Los Angeles, Hemisfair in San Antonio, the Meadoway in Toronto, La Mexicana Park in Mexico City, and many others in this outstanding community. We are developing The Riverline based on a vision created by the community. Once completed, The Riverline will transform the former DL & W rail corridor along the Buffalo River into a vibrant and engaging nature trail everyone can enjoy — in the heart of the city — connecting people to water, nature, and one another. Read more.

Equitable Development Framework Completed

In partnership with community members, local organizations and agencies, the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, and Make Communities, we have developed an Equitable Development Framework​ for The Riverline. This will help us ensure that all residents, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, age, or ability, can benefit from investments in The Riverline and nearby neighborhoods. Read the framework HERE.

Visit to get involved and learn more.

What are we proposing?

In Buffalo, wildlife is reclaiming an unused rail corridor. This land connects the DL&W Terminal in downtown Buffalo near Canalside to the Buffalo River across from Solar City.

Since the fall of 2017, the Land Conservancy has been meeting with neighbors and community leaders to start a conversation about what this rail corridor could become. One possibility is an inspiring and environmentally-friendly urban nature trail and greenway.

What could it become?

For a mile and a half, through the First Ward, the Valley, and the Perry Neighborhood, this formerly industrial landscape could become a place where people can reconnect with nature and each other. Places like these can be an important part of a vibrant city. They give people a place to come together and build relationships, which lead to more cohesive and vital neighborhoods.

Here, families could take a relaxing stroll or ride their bikes surrounded by trees and wildflowers. Neighbors and visitors could watch as the seasons change, enjoy the fall migration of songbirds and monarch butterflies, and marvel at the magic of a sunset on the Buffalo River.

Right now Buffalo has the opportunity to create an incredible and unique community asset, and provide much needed public space for our community to enjoy.

This project could also enhance economic development for businesses in these neighborhoods and play a pivotal role in Buffalo’s renaissance.

The Land Conservancy, in partnership with University at Buffalo Regional Institute, The State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Architecture and Planning, and Make Communities, has developed an “Equitable Development Framework for The Riverline.” This document is a framework to promote equity—working to ensure that all residents, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, age, or ability, can benefit from the revitalization of The Riverline and places nearby. Read the Framework here.

Creating a vision

Thanks to a generous grant from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, and donations from our members, we are working with the community to create a vision plan for the corridor that serves the community’s needs.

To get started, we are having conversations with neighbors and community members to find out what matters most to them. We are also working with local officials and organizations to create new partnerships as the plan develops.

We held an Open House at Larkin at Exchange on March 21, 2017. We had a great turnout and got lots of great feedback from the community about our draft vision plan. If you missed the Open House, you can still view the presentation or watch the video slideshow.

In June 2018, the completed Vision Plan was shared with the community. Click below to download a copy today.

Design Ideas Competition

The Western New York Land Conservancy invites designers, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and artists to submit visionary concepts to a juried competition laying the groundwork to transform the abandoned, 1.5-mile elevated DL&W rail corridor connecting Buffalo’s downtown with its waterfront through three distinct and historic neighborhoods.