River Rock Connections


Imagine a reconnected River Rock. A community defined by a multi-modal transportation network that connects residents to places that make River Rock special – its parks, waterfront spaces, historic neighborhoods and commercial districts, and other amenities. A community that is engaged and given the full opportunity to experience and enjoy the future investments this effort will create.

Project Background and Purpose

The City of Buffalo has made significant advances in planning and community investment. Since the Comprehensive Plan, Queen City in the 21st Century, the City has adopted a Unified Development Ordinance, LWRP, Complete Streets Policy, TDM Policy, numerous neighborhood planning efforts, and has made significant investments in complete streets, waterfront parks, affordable and market-rate housing, schools, playgrounds, and infrastructure. These planning efforts and public investments have helped facilitate and guide new private investments across the city which is having a positive effect on quality of life, housing, and employment.

To continue and support this renewed spirit, the city is focusing on improving multi-modal connections in the Riverside and Black Rock Neighborhoods. These connections will provide opportunities for residents to travel within and around the neighborhood, including for recreational purposes. Improvements to pedestrian, bicycle, and micro-mobility infrastructure will provides access within and to the waterfront to overcome the caps in connectivity that currently exist and inhibit the full potential of existing urban and natural assets.

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Project Overview and Study Area

The planning process for the River Rock Connections Project is comprised of three main components split into three phases. The three main components focus on determining the opportunities and feasibility for (1) multi-modal access and connectivity to waterfront parks with a focus on tow Path Park; (2) complete streets that include more opportunities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders; and (3) multi-use trails that utilize former/abandoned railroads that traverse the neighborhoods. The three phases of the project include (1) existing conditions inventory; (2) connection opportunities; and (3) connectivity plan including a preliminary waterfront park design, cost estimates, and identification of next steps / follow-on activities for implementation.

The project study area includes the Riverside and Black Rock neighborhoods, and the connections to these neighborhoods. A map of the study area is available below.

Community Engagement


Throughout this project, the Riverside and Black Rock neighborhood will be our partners in envisioning their connected future. Through this community engagement process, our team seeks to place the power to affect the physical design of the key streets and trails into the hands of the community. The project team will ensure that the outreach process is inclusive of all residents and stakeholders – regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, ability, or any other factor – to provide the framework for future project investments. In addition, the team will ensure all engagement activities follow NYS and CDC COVID-19 safety regulations and protocols. The complete community engagement plan document is available below: LINK

Stakeholder Advisory Group Members

The Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) is comprised of members of the local community that have been actively involved and engaged in the planning for the Riverside and Black Rock neighborhoods. Their responsibilities include providing critical input and reviewing key decision documents and materials before public meetings. A list of stakeholders is provided below with contact information provided in the Community Engagement Plan.

Mary Ann Kedron + Anne McCooey Black Rock Riverside Alliance (BRRAlliance)

Evelyn Vosser Rediscover Riverside

Margaret Szczepaniec St. Florian/Pavonia Block Club, Black Rock

James Wangelin Grant Amherst Business Association

Laura Barnum Buffalo State College, Finance & Management

Rich Guarino + Amy Weymouth Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transp. Council (GBNRTC)

James Morrell Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA)

Nadine Marrero Bridges Development, Inc.

Sarah Gatti Erie County Planning

Representative CSX Transportation

Council Member Golombek City of Buffalo

Comm. Mike Finn + Nolan Skipper City of Buffalo DPW

Deputy Comm. Andy Rabb City of Buffalo Parks and Recreation


Project Materials

Expected October 2021


Hailey Whitney
General Planner, Office of Strategic Planning