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October 6, 2003




Commissioner Bernadette Castro


Empire State Plaza, Agency Bldg. 1

Albany, New York 12238


Dear Commissioner Castro:


We are writing to suggest that the closure of part of the Robert Moses Parkway along the gorge rim, currently interrupted since June of this year by the City of Niagara Falls maintenance work involving an interceptor drain, has compromised the information-gathering phase of the pilot program.  This work required blocking off a significant length of the closed lanes, making them inaccessible to hikers, cyclists, and others wishing to use them.


While we have been critics of the pilot since its inception, this situation makes information the pilot may have produced even more questionable.  It is our hope, although information compiled as a result of the pilot may be released at the end of the year, that final decisions regarding this section of the parkway will be postponed.


The potential of parkway removal and the natural restoration of the gorge rim is an issue being studied as part of the New York Power Authority relicensing process, in which we are stakeholders.  We hope that the OPRHP will be active participants in these discussions, with special interest, as one example, in that portion of the highway that has severely degraded Devilís Hole State Park.


Communities in the region continue to struggle with the final vision for the gorge rim.  Of the options available 1) put back four lanes 2) retain two lanes for commuters 3) remove all four lanes from Niagara Falls to Lewiston, New York and restore natural landscapes on the gorge rim, it is our hope that the third option will prevail, and we request that it be given full consideration.





Bob Baxter, Conservation Chair


cc   Hon. Byron W. Brown

       Hon. Francine DelMonte

       Hon. George Maziarz

       Hon. George E. Pataki

       Edward Rutkowski, Asst. Deputy Commissioner NYSOPRHP

       Hon. Louise M. Slaughter



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Niagara Heritage Partnership

MPO Box 1495

Niagara Falls, New York 14302-1723