Updated September 23, 2023 | Click here to view a PDF of the position statement
Conservancy Advocacy Philosophy
- Ensure the historic integrity of the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Park system as it pertains to restoration and/or enhancement efforts within the landscape as originally designed and intended.
- Support the communities impacted by restorations and enhancements within the Olmsted landscapes, ensuring comprehensive and transparent community engagement and consensus.
In alignment with the Conservancy’s mission and advocacy philosophy, the following is the organization’s position on the Kensington Expressway (Route 33) project:
- To align with the Conservancy’s mission, the preferred solution for the Kensington Expressway (Route 33) is to fully restore Olmsted’s original design for Humboldt Parkway.
- If the full restoration of Olmsted’s Humboldt Parkway is not a viable solution, the Conservancy supports the design option chosen by the community through a comprehensive and transparent engagement process.
Position Statement Supporting Details
- Frederick Law Olmsted’s park system concept, conceived of and implemented for the first time in Buffalo, consists of three main components – major parks connected by tree-lined parkways and landscaped circles. The parkways play a vital role in Olmsted’s design and his vision for Buffalo, ensuring continued connectivity between community and natural spaces.
- The construction of the Kensington Expressway (Route 33) destroyed Humboldt Parkway, the connection between Delaware Park and Martin Luther King Jr. Park, and isolated the East Side of Buffalo leading to significant community disinvestment, the impacts of which continue to be felt today.
- The Kensington Expressway (Route 33) has also been detrimental to the economic stability of the East Side, as well as to the health and well-being of surrounding neighbors.
- In collaboration with key community groups and stakeholders the Conservancy will support alternatives which maintain the existing expressway and incorporate a reimagined design for Humboldt Parkway.
- Short of a full restoration, the Conservancy’s objective is to ensure the final design will meet the community’s expectation and the following concerns are addressed
- Construction limitations: Can this project recreate a parkway experience on top of a constructed express deck that will adequately provide the necessary nutrients for the healthy growth of appropriate trees? Can this project adequately improve air quality to levels satisfactory to (and improve health outcomes in) the community?
- Review Process and Community Engagements: Are the NYSDOT and their consultants doing effective outreach to the affected community to get meaningful input into the direction of this project in relation to the community’s needs and desires? Is the Environmental Assessment process going to provide adequate time to properly assess the impacts and implications of this project on the surrounding community, and its associated impact on the future condition of surrounding communities and transportation infrastructure? Particularly as it is designed to fast track the review process.
- Lifespan of infrastructure, long term maintenance and infrastructure repairs: What is the lifespan of the proposed infrastructure and what will be the impacts to the community and landscape during major reconstruction and repairs at the end of its useful life? What are the maintenance requirements for a structure of this complexity and who will be ensuring that proper resources will be in place for the proper management and care of the reconstructed parkway landscape in perpetuity?
- While the Conservancy continues to participate in Stakeholder meetings with the NYSDOT; study and assist in publicizing community events relating to this project, the organization is unwavering in the ultimate goal to reconnect the community and the park system as Olmsted intended.
OUR MISSION | Stewarding the City of Buffalo’s historic Olmsted park and parkway system to welcome and benefit all.
What We Do:
- Collaborate with our community, governmental, and strategic partners, to program and care for the system
- Advocate for quality parks for all, carrying the philosophies of Frederick Law Olmsted into today
- Enhance the system through beautification, maintenance and capital projects
OUR VISION | An exceptional park network for all of Buffalo.
Working to Ensure:
- Equitable access to beautiful, quality, thriving parks
- Restorative green spaces that support our people while respecting nature and the environment
- Joyful opportunities to play, create, commune, and discover