The $18.8 million “Riverway” project enhances access to the waterfront and to Niagara Falls State Park. Along the one-mile stretch mostly within the State Park, all expressway features have now been removed and are being replaced with a pedestrian-friendly park road 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 sits—and replaced with a modern roundabout and signature entry feature that opened to traffic in May 2015. Other enhancements currently under construction 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 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.
The construction contract for the Riverway project was awarded to Mark Cerrone, Inc. of Niagara Falls, New York. Construction broke ground in November 2014 and most of the major roadwork was completed in late November 2015. Work is continuing on the project's extensive landscaping program as weather permits, with the overall project scheduled for completion by summer 2017.
For many years, the Robert Moses Parkway (RMP) South has blocked views and access between downtown neighborhoods and the Upper Niagara River. The reconstruction and reconfiguration of a one mile stretch of the underused parkway, south of Niagara Falls, is fully restoring visual and physical access to the various natural and cultural features along the Niagara River by removing the limited-access expressway that currently exists and replacing it with an at-grade parkway that will reunite downtown Niagara Falls with its most valuable and famous asset, the falls. Through the Buffalo Billion initiative, New York State is investing $10 million dollars toward the project’s construction phase.