"The Belt Line … will be the next phase in Buffalo’s sustainable development."
In The Belt Line: Hiding in Plain Sight from PechaKucha Night Buffalo Vol. 16, urbanist and preservationist, Chris Hawley, presents the Belt Line -- one of the most conspicuous and least-known features of Buffalo, NY. Each day, trains go by along it and people drive underneath and over it. It is the "third strand" in Buffalo's DNA, as important to the city's physical and economic geography as Joseph Ellicott's radial and grid plan and Frederick Law Olmsted's park and parkway system; as consequential to the city's development as the Erie Canal and Interstate Highway System.
The Belt Line was opened in 1883, with segments dating back to 1836. The rail line is 15 miles long, forming a continuous loop through Buffaloʼs downtown as well as the prominent industrial loft clusters that it helped to create. Today, the Belt Line's 12 million square feet of largely vacant or underutilized industrial space is the city's next frontier for sustainable development. Factory buildings are being recycled as mixed-use developments. These former industrial areas are becoming walkable centers again.