The word “parkway” was coined by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in their proposal for Central Park, and improved upon with their plan for the Buffalo Olmsted Park System. The idea was not just to link city and suburban roads, but to have long green fingers extending into the city from large parks.
With extremely wide medians, parkways are lined with dense shade trees connecting the parks for users to travel through the system without leaving a park-like atmosphere. Their intention was to provide a relaxing experience with landscaped green spaces through populated, commercial, or industrialized areas.
Bidwell Parkway was named after Daniel Davidson Bidwell (1819-1864). Before he volunteered for the Civil War in the 49th NYV, Daniel helped to organize the city’s first police force. He died on October 19th, 1864 at the battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia. He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery and there is a statue of him astride a horse in the center of Colonial Circle.
Chapin Parkway leads away from Soldiers Place to meet Delaware Avenue at Gates Circle. It was named after Brigadier General Edward Payson Chapin, who was a well known Buffalo attorney at the time of the Civil War. He was a member of Buffalo’s first semi-pro baseball team, The Niagaras.
One of the widest parkways in Buffalo, Lincoln Parkway extends North from Soldiers Place to Forest Avenue with a broad, central street, two service roads on either side and two wide medians, each with a double row of Elm Trees. As the Parkway enters Delaware Park, only the main road continues and drops down to the level of the lake. At this point, Lincoln Parkway is joined by the Scajaquada Expressway at the “Bridge of the Three Americas” that was built in 1900.
McKinley Parkway extends from McClellan Circle where it intersects with Red Jacket Parkway all the way to South Park. The parkway is an important connection of the two Southern Olmsted landscapes. The land for this parkway was primarily donated by early residents in the 1890’s who wished to have the benefits of a wide gracious avenue in front of their homes.
Porter Avenue connects Front Park to Symphony Circle and to the Olmsted Park System.
Richmond Avenue connects Colonial, Ferry, and Symphony Circles.
Red Jacket Parkway
Red Jacket Parkway connects McClellen Circle to the Red Jacket Entrance at Cazenovia Park.