The Riverline will be a nature trail and greenway that links downtown Buffalo to the Buffalo River.

The Western New York Land Conservancy is developing The Riverline based on a vision created by the community. Once completed, The Riverline will transform the former DL&W rail corridor along the Buffalo River into a vibrant and engaging nature trail everyone can enjoy—right in the city, only minutes from downtown.

The Riverline will be an inspiring gathering place that connects people to water, nature, and one another. It will prioritize native plants and animals, public art, and community; it will inspire curiosity, movement, and exploration; and it will help build a healthy, inclusive, and opportunity-rich city with vibrancy in every neighborhood.

More than a thousand people helped create the vision for The Riverline, generating hundreds of innovative ideas tailored to Buffalo, the waterfront, and the Old First Ward, Perry, and Valley neighborhoods.

Like The 606 in Chicago, the Dequindre Cut in Detroit, The Bentway in Toronto, the Rail Park in Philadelphia, and the High Line in New York City, The Riverline will give people a chance to experience the city in a whole new way.

The Riverline is a crucial piece of waterfront connectivity and an important link in developing a walkable, bikeable regional trail and greenway system, reaching neighborhoods that have yet to benefit from these investments.

Our Progress


Early 2017
Visioning Work Began ​

The Western New York Land Conservancy began working with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and many other community partners to reimagine the DL&W rail corridor near downtown Buffalo. Through an ongoing community engagement process, a vision emerged for a nature trail and greenway, stretching from the DL&W terminal near Canalside to the Buffalo River across from the Tesla Gigafactory at Riverbend. ​

June 2018
First Phase of Work Completed ​ ​

Based on a year of outreach and engagement activities, the Land Conservancy created a Community Vision Planthat includes a vision statement, guiding principles, and strategies for creating a vibrant, safe, and welcoming space for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to connect with each other, with nature, and with the waterfront throughout the year.

November 2018
Second Phase of Work Began​ ​

The Land Conservancy worked with a professional competition adviser and community engagement consultant to launch an ideas competition for The Riverline’s design. The competition solicited design ideas from local, national, and international individuals and teams.

June 2019
Ideas Competition Winners Announced​ ​

A jury of design experts and community leaders awarded prizes to their favorite design ideas. The nearly 100 proposals submitted sparked conversations and highlighted community preferences for the design and development of The Riverline.

Late 2019
Design Phase to Begin​ ​

We requested proposals for Concept and Schematic Design (EPF #180842, DL&W Linear Park and Multi-Use Trail Design). Proposals were due by 5:00 PM on May 29, 2020. Once a contractor is selected, ongoing workshops and community engagement events will guide the design work. Funding for this project comes in part through an Environmental Protection Fund grant administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. KeyBank in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York Blue Fund, and individual community donors.

June 2020
Equitable Development Framework Completed

The Land Conservancy, in partnership with community members, local organizations and agencies, the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, and Make Communities, has developed an Equitable Development Framework​ for The Riverline. This document is a framework to promote equity—working to ensure that all residents, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, age, or ability, can benefit from investments in The Riverline and nearby neighborhoods.

In The media


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Frequently asked questions

What is The Riverline?

The Riverline will be a 1.5-mile nature trail and multiuse greenway that will connect downtown Buffalo to the Buffalo River. By reimagining a former railway, The Riverline will be an innovative and inspiring community gathering place, alive with the history and voice of the city.

Where can I find The Riverline? ​ ​

There will be access points to The Riverline along the DL&W corridor, stretching through Buffalo’s Old First Ward, Perry, and Valley neighborhoods.

View a map of the The Riverline here.

When will The Riverline be built? ​

We hope to begin construction within the next couple of years, but we don’t know the exact date. Construction will be determined by the design, fundraising, and approvals process.

Who will build The Riverline?

The Western New York Land Conservancy will spearhead the design and construction phases of the project in partnership with community stakeholders and partners in government and philanthropy.

How can I help? ​ ​

If you are interested in getting involved with The Riverline project, you can attend one of our community events. You can also donate to the project here​ and share your thoughts and hopes for The Riverline here.

Western New York Land Conservancy
P.O. Box 471
East Aurora, NY 14052-0471
(716) 687-1225
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