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Only removal of Parkway would meet area's needs

Buffalo News, 29 April 2001


If the pilot project that will reconfigure the Robert Moses Parkway from four lanes to two between Niagara Falls and Lewiston is implemented permanently, it will become one more link in an ugly chain of events that has left our region in both economic and environmental bondage for the past four decades.  The Niagara Heritage Partnership rejects the assertion of some that the pilot project is a “wonderful compromise.”  As it stands, simply closing down the two lanes nearest the gorge to vehicular traffic and opening them up to hikers and bikers and creating two-way traffic on the inside lanes is fundamentally flawed thinking. It has been suggested that this plan will boost ecotourism.  However, ecotourism requires a natural environment.  The pilot project does nothing to reclaim the natural environment. It does not provide a wildlife habitat or protect native plants that the typical ecotourist expects. It does not provide an environment appealing to hikers. It does not reduce the threat of further exploitation of the gorge and it does not promote the Olmstead vision that Commissioner Bernadette Castro has claimed as her guiding philosophy.  The Niagara Heritage Partnership proposal, that calls for the complete elimination of the Parkway between the Falls and Lewiston, achieves all of these goals. 

The Partnership also questions the State Parks unwillingness to take a stand regarding our proposal.  How much support is required before notice is given and a position is taken?  Currently, 28 local and national business and environmental organizations that represent nearly three-quarters of a million members back the NHP proposal for complete removal of all four lanes. Our plan and a complete listing of groups supporting our proposal can be found on our website at

If the pilot project does indeed move forward, The Niagara Heritage Partnership urges that the next logical step be taken--the removal of the two lanes that are to be shut down.  Only then, with the ultimate goal being the elimination of the remaining lanes, would this plan constitute a positive first step.  The NHP is steadfast in its belief that this approach will best serve the entire region both economically and environmentally.

It has taken nearly forty years for many to conclude that a highway along one of the most scenic regions in the northeast may not represent the soundest decision ever made.  It is our hope that forty years from now, future generations don’t look back with regret that we did not take full advantage of reversing the situation when we had the opportunity.

Paul Lamont, Lockport


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Niagara Heritage Partnership

MPO Box 1495

Niagara Falls, New York 14302-1723