As a former resident of and regular visitor to Niagara County, I was delighted to learn
of the Niagara Heritage Partnerships proposal to remove the Robert Moses Parkway and
restore the landscape and environment to its natural beauty. While some might see this as
a radical measure, a close look at the idea shows many advantages and few costs.
Perhaps most obvious are the environmental benefits. Who can argue against the merits
of restoring and preserving the natural flora and fauna? But, for me, the economic and
esthetic arguments are more persuasive.
In the years I lived in Niagara County and in the trips I've made along the parkway, I
can never recall seeing many cars. The parkway has never had sufficient traffic density to
justify a four-lane structure. "Underutilized is a polite way of saying the Robert
Moses Parkway is unnecessary.
The absence of significant vehicular traffic is not, however, as glaring as the parkway
itself. It is an unsightly, concrete edifice which detracts from (dare I say,
"spoils") the views of the river, gorge, and falls. Removing the parkway would
enhance the entire area and, as the NHP effectively argues, access to existing gorge top
destinations can be maintained.
I cannot help but see this as a cost-effective proposal as well. While a large capital
expenditure would be required for the parkway's removal, certainly that expense would be
recouped in the not too distant future from save & maintenance fees.
Furthermore, as others have already pointed out, channeling traffic along existing
commercial routes such as Main Street could improve the economic situation in downtown
Of course, any real revitalization also requires the other changes foreseen by the NHP;
Main Street as a pedestrian walkway with shops and restaurant where tourists would browse
after a day of sightseeing and locals too could find a card or bookstore to enjoy.
Lastly, let me just add something now that I am more in the position of a tourist than
a resident. Tourists are not drawn to visit something by its ease of access. Rather they
want to see something beautiful and/or unique. Great natural sites are great largely
because they are not developed. What the NHP proposes would help put the Niagara Gorge
back in that category.
It's not easy to admit mistakes, but clearly the Robert Moses Parkway is costly one.
The question now is are we going to continue to pay the economic, esthetic, and
environmental costs of this error or are we courageous enough to set it right? Let's do
the right thing.
Suzanne Parry, Germany