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Duncan Ross

935 Maple Avenue

Niagara Falls, NY 14305

716.998.2776 (Mobile)

August 11, 2002

Niagara Gazette

Guest View

310 Niagara Street

PO Box 549

Niagara Falls, NY 14302-0549


I am responding to several editorials appearing in the Gazette on August 10, 2001 regarding the Parkway removal.  While these were very well written, and I am sure well intended, these editorials were lacking in facts to substantiate their position that the Robert Moses Parkway is essential to this area. 


I am a member of the Niagara Heritage partnership and I do support the positions of the group that the parkway from Niagara Falls to Lewiston needs to be removed. I am also a Deveaux resident, and this issue is much closer to home for me than it is for the Lewiston residents who support the parkway in its current form. Many groups in this city are in favor of this removal, including the Niagara Street Business & Professionals Association.  In addition, environmental and eco-tourism groups are in support of this reclamation, including the Sierra club.  These groups do not endorse projects lightly and do so only after a detailed review.  For a complete list of the organizations supporting the removal of this section of the parkway, see


Because we are so close to the falls and the river gorge, we tend to forget how unique and breathtaking the area is.   To have a “superhighway” on the edge of this beauty is tragic.  It disconnects us from our waterfront.  Without the parkway, the gorge becomes more accessible and this city can take advantage of its waterfront assets, as have many other cities, including Baltimore and San Antonio. 


The editorials printed in the Gazette by Lewiston residents Robert Kerins and Donald Shrimpton raise concern about traffic flow.  These are important considerations, but a simple comparison of traffic volumes on local 4 lane expressways would show that the road is very underutilized.  In comparison, the 190 in Buffalo is bumper to bumper during rush hour.  Even in Niagara Falls, there is a lot of traffic on the 190.  The traffic on the parkway is nowhere near as dense.  When you consider the alternate routes that are available – Whirlpool Street (4 lanes), Hyde Park Blvd. (4 Lanes), and Lewiston Rd/Main Street (2 lanes), you will realize that there are many alternatives that can carry the light volume of traffic.  The editorial by the Gazette shows a photo of the traffic woes on the parkway by talented Gazette photographer Vino Wong.  I count 2 cars northbound, no cars southbound.  Again, if you took the 190 down to one lane of traffic it would back up significantly.


In Mr. Kerin’s editorial, he states that as a former Deveaux resident, “If I wanted to spend time in Whirlpool Park, I walked to the end of my street and crossed the parkway and entered the park.”   Try doing that on the 190.  The parkway can be crossed because is has an extremely light volume of traffic, so light that it is further proof that the road is not needed.  Another theme lately is that we will need the parkway to handle the traffic caused by the new casino. The section of parkway that is proposed for removal is only the section that runs from Niagara Falls to Lewiston.  Most Casino traffic will be coming from the airports, not from Lewiston.


Regarding the economic impact of Parkway removal, lets examine the facts.  When the parkway was built, Niagara Falls had a population of over 100,000 people and a bright future.  The parkway was built to accommodate growth in the population.  We all know that due to many factors, the population in Niagara Falls has fallen by about half since then and the entire region has seen and continues to see drastic declines.  We can’t really afford to continue to maintain an infrastructure built for 100,000 people.  We can’t pay to pave the roads, maintain the sewers, plow the streets and it’s really starting to show in this city.  It’s time we faced this and started reducing our maintenance costs where we can. Perhaps the savings that the state will realize on the parkway maintenance could be applied to other routes in the city. 


I agree with the point in the Gazette editorial that the NY State DOT should be more open with their plans for the parkway.  From what I have been able to learn, the southbound lane will be divided into bike, skating and walking lanes.   I wish they had encouraged public discussion of this because a walking lane is silly when you consider the wonderful gravel path that runs along the rim.  The gravel path is shaded, easier on the feet, has a better view and is much more pleasant to walk on than pavement in the sun.  It also doesn’t make sense to repave this lane only to tear it out 2 years from now.  I’d rather have other roads in the Falls paved (I can think of many that need it).  The NY State DOT did a traffic count earlier this year of the parkway and surrounding roads.  The results of this count have not been published, but I wish the DOT would let all of us see their results and the raw data.  This would give everyone a chance to discuss some objective information. 


In the editorial of 8-10-01 by Mr. Kerins, he states, “If you want to increase tourism, look across the river and see what they are doing.” Being competitive with Canada is a resounding theme in many of the editorials I have read. I could not agree more!  I looked across the river; in fact I took a drive there.  It turns out that Canada has only a 2 lane road running along their side of the river connecting Niagara Falls with Niagara–on-the-Lake!  Along side this road they have a bike path, which is heavily used. Niagara Falls Canada has double the population of Niagara Falls, USA and a larger chunk of the tourism business.  Their communities along the river are thriving even though they only have a 2-lane road to Niagara Falls.  You don’t have to look any further than this to see that we really don’t need a parkway.





                                                                                                Duncan Ross


Brief Biography

I have lived in Western NY most of my life, residing with my family in Deveaux for the past 7 years. I am a photographer specializing in landscape/tourism images, traveling locally and around the world.  I hike and photograph in the gorge often and consider it a world-class destination. I am also an Information Technology Director and have commuted daily to Buffalo or Amherst on the 190 and the Robert Moses Parkway.


My contact information is as follows:


716.282.8238 (home – after 6PM)

716.633.3463 X275 (Daytime)

716.998.2776 (Mobile)  (email)

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Niagara Heritage Partnership

MPO Box 1495

Niagara Falls, New York 14302-1723