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Robert Moses Parkway removal is supported

Lockport Sun & Journal, 16 July 1998

As a former resident of and regular visitor to Niagara County, I was delighted to learn of the Niagara Heritage Partnership’s 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 Niagara Falls.

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


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Niagara Heritage Partnership

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Niagara Falls, New York 14302-1723