Genesee Street


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Photo credit: WNY Heritage Press, Google Earth, and Buffalo Rising


Genesee Street downtown.
Google Bird's Eye View
Ellicott Council District


City of Buffalo

Physical Description

Genesee Street was one of the most important roads of Joseph Ellicott's radial street grid, extending directly from the Lake Erie waterfront, through Niagara Square, and out past the city limits. It connected the largest portion of Buffalo's residential neighborhoods directly to its downtown and waterfront.

Current Condition

Genesee Street has been cut off by the I-190 elevated highway, the Charles R. Turner Parking Ramp, the Convention Center, the Hyatt Atrium, and the Roosevelt Plaza stub in a misguided attempt to alter the radial street grid and traffic patterns.

As part of the Cars Sharing Main Street program of 2013, a one way stub of Genesee from Huron to Main is being restored.


  • 1798-1804 - Joseph Ellicott surveyed New Amsterdam (Buffalo), designed its radial street grid, and produced the first map of Buffalo. While the village had only 25 residents, he anticipated it growing into the important port city it later became. His design included a prominent role for Busti Avenue (now Genesee Street), connecting Lake Erie to the center of the city (Niagara Square) and extending east.
  • 1954-1958 - Interstate 190 cuts Genesee Street short and blocks the view of the lake from the center of town.
  • 1976 - The new Convention Center blocks Genesee Street between Franklin and Pearl, cutting off the east side of Genesee from City Hall.
  • 1977 - Charles Turner, chairman of the Board of Parking, dies in office, leading to a new municipal parking ramp blocking West Genesee Street to be named after him.
  • 1979 - Construction to remove traffic from Main Street causes Genesee Street to get cut a block short at Huron.
  • 1984 - The new Hyatt Atrium blocks Genesee Street between Pearl and Main, further reducing Genesee's linear connection through the city.
  • 2009 - The Pasquale, an 11 story apartment building, is constructed on land near the former terminus of Genesee Street at the waterfront across from the train tracks.

Recent Events and Actions Taken

2003 Queen City Hub Plan:

“Re-opening the Genesee Street radial would correct some of the acknowledged mistakes of the past. This would mean demolishing the atrium section of the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, part of the Buffalo Convention Center, and the Charles R. Turner parking garage next to Buffalo City Court. Additional work to make Genesee Street a ‘great street’ could be done from Martin Luther King, Jr. Park on the east all the way to the water on the west.”

Other Pertinent Facts


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Added 2013-08-27 • Last changed 2015-11-19