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Additional Park Approaches

As the Buffalo park system was expanded by the creation of new parks, additional park approaches were added as well.

In the south, what have come to be called the South Side parkways were laid out. McKinley Parkway (originally called “South Side Parkway”) links South Park and an existing green space incorporated into the scheme, Heacock Park, to its northeast. McKinley Circle (first known as South Parkway Circle) is located at the point where McKinley Parkway leaves Buffalo and enters the City of Lackawanna to align with the entrance to South Park. (It is interesting that the Park Board was able to construct a thoroughfare outside the city boundaries). McClellan Circle (originally, Woodside Circle) is at the junction of Choate Avenue, McKinley Parkway and Red Jacket Parkway. Red Jacket Parkway completes the southern portion of the park approaches and extends them to Cazenovia Park. The portion of McKinley Parkway within the Buffalo city limits, that is, from Heacock Place to Downing Street, was opened in 1897, along with Red Jacket Parkway. The southernmost portion of McKinley Parkway took several more years to complete, due both to the greater complexities of acquiring the right of way within what is now the city of Lackawanna and to the concurrent need to construct a viaduct which would allow the parkway to cross a railroad line.

In the north part of the city, Scajaquada Parkway (subsequently lost to the construction of the Scajaquada Expressway) was built from Delaware Park westward along the bank of Scajaquada creek to Niagara Street. It was intended to extend a park approach further north to connect to Riverside Park, but the link was not completed.

Similarly, a connection between The Parade along Fillmore Avenue to the southern parks was sought, but a satisfactory route was never finalized due to the exceptional difficulties of crossing numerous railroad rights-of-way.

On the west, the Board was granted control over existing city streets to link Front Park with the city’s downtown. Sixth Street, renamed “Busti Avenue”, linked the Terrace Parks to The Front, and terminated at a circle designated “The Bank” (now lost), at the juncture of Niagara and Sixth Streets, Massachusetts avenue and Sheridan Terrace. Niagara Square and Lafayette Square (formerly “Court House Park”) were existing city public grounds, part of the city’s original plan of radial streets laid out by Joseph Ellicott. Both sites were placed under the authority of the Board. Olmsted prepared designs for the former. Niagara Square was later altered by the construction of the McKinley Monument and closure of some of the streets radiating from the square.

In later years, attempts were made to supplement the portion of McKinley Parkway running through Lackawanna with a routing completely within the city of Buffalo boundaries and to complete a connection between the main Olmsted parks. Regular city streets, such as a portion of South Park avenue and Aldrich Place, were formally designated as “park approaches”, but no special landscaping was applied to them.

A more successful attempt to delineate the city parkways involved street furniture. The “Central Park Luminere” lighting which proved so successful in the Lincoln, Chapin and Bidwell parkways was extended to additional parkways. They were added to Red Jacket Parkway, McClellan and McKinley circles, and also to the drives in Cazenovia Park. Center multi-lamp lumineres were installed in the center islands of both of the South Buffalo circles, and the landscaping and walkways of those spaces were finally completed in 2003, over 100 years since their construction was begun. The circular drive in South Park, Hotaling Drive in Riverside Park, the Front, Days Park, and Richmond avenue have now also received this type of lighting fixture. Standardized signage has also been incorporated.