Our organization supports the Niagara Heritage Partnership call for the removal of the Robert Moses Parkway. For more information, see their web site at: http://www.niagaraheritage.org/
Excerpts from "Activists petition to close section of parkway"
By BILL MICHELMORE - Buffalo News Niagara Bureau - 1/5/2003
NIAGARA FALLS - A grass-roots organization that has spent the past two years quietly garnering support for the removal of a section of the Robert Moses Parkway says it is gearing up to present Albany an international petition containing some powerful names.
More than 3,500 individuals and 50 regional, national and international organizations representing millions of members are backing the Niagara Heritage Partnership's move to tear down the parkway from downtown Niagara Falls to Lewiston.
Among the individuals are Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a conservation lawyer and co-author of "The Riverkeepers," a book about protecting waterways; David Suzuki, a Canadian environmentalist and host of the CBC television program "The Nature of Things"; consumer advocate Ralph Nader; and actor Ed Begley Jr., who attended Stella Niagara, a private school in Lewiston.
These are just a few of the people who have added their voices to the movement and have appeared at Buffalo Niagara region environmental functions wearing "Remove the Parkway" buttons.
The Niagara Heritage Partnership wants to restore the natural environment of the Niagara Gorge by removing a six-mile section of the Robert Moses Parkway from downtown Niagara Falls to Lewiston.
The group collected the names through door-to-door campaigns, local events such as national Trails Day and on its Web site, www.niagaraheritage.org.
The biggest backer is Great Lakes United, an international coalition dedicated to restoring and preserving the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River ecosystem.
"The Niagara Gorge region is a critical habitat for migratory species of birds and aquatic life, and the existence of the parkway inhibits viable resources for these species," said Maria Maybee, biodiversity and habitat program coordinator for Great Lakes United.
The Sierra Club, with 750,000 members nationwide, is the second-largest organization to endorse the removal of the parkway.
A two-year pilot project to close off a section of the parkway and turn it into a hiking-biking trial along the Niagara Gorge was launched by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in September 2001.
The two southbound lanes between Devil's Hole State Park and the Schoellkopf Geological Museum were closed, and the two northbound lanes became a two-way, undivided highway to handle both southbound and northbound traffic for that section.
The $1 million trial run was initiated by the state as a compromise between the Niagara Heritage Partnership and people who say the parkway is a vital link between downtown Niagara Falls and Lewiston.