Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why not let Lewiston Road replace the Parkway?

MYTH: The Parkway Retentionists believe Lewiston Road "is not acceptable [as an alternate route] primarily because this is a safety issue. The Parkway already is a safe and reliable transportation route.. Lewiston Road is home to thousands of area residents as well as the Maple Avenue School in DeVeaux. The road simply is not configured to safely maintain the tens of thousands of vehicles that currently use the Parkway on an annual basis."

FACT: Lewiston Road is a 4-lane highway home to a private elementary school, Sacred Heart Villa. A map clearly shows Lewiston Road runs parallel to the Robert Moses Parkway. The gorge parkway is a redunency.
View Larger Map

In 2005, one county legislator called it the "Berlin Wall."

Monday, September 28, 2009

ViewPoint: Western NY Elected Are Uninformed, Oblivious

Partners for a Livable Western New York Newsletter

David McCollough, author and historian in speech at the Chautauqua Institution in August 2009. Comment: this quote brings to mind the recent comments about Western New York elected officials made by noted government experts David Rusk who said Western New York elected officials were “isolated” because they did not make the effort to find out what is going on elsewhere in the United States and William Hudnut who said "Western New York elected officials were “oblivious” to steps taken by other regions in the U.S. to improve themselves.

As noted architect and planner Andres Duany has stated:
“It is the duty of elected officials to educate themselves on the matters on which they are to legislate rather than merely listening to the [mostly uninformed] public.”
We still have a long way to go in our community when it comes to improving land use as evidenced by the failure of our public officials to educate themselves on the benefits of an Erie County Planning Board. If our elected official s had visited other places or found out about what is going on elsewhere they just might learn more about how to improve land use policies and practices here in Western New York.

Subscriptions to and information about the Partners for a Livable Western New York newsletter may be directed to:

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Leadership Acid Test

Elections are looming in Niagara and Erie Counties. If you're undecided Here's a litmus test from Lead Quietly, a way to evaluate the current roster of politicians. You can find it here and below.

Leadership Acid Test

In a recent post of mine, I talked about the Big "L" Leaders. These are Leaders who have a title but don't always know leadership (leadership with a small l)

The Leadership Now site in their Leadership Minute, describes leadership beyond or without the title. If you are a big "L" Leader, that is with a title, the site encourages you to occasionally perform a Leadership Acid Test.

If you were stripped of your title – the politics of leadership, the power to punish and reward people – would they still follow you?

Michael McKinney at Leadership Now recommends this test for Leaders. However, I think that the test is also interesting when applied to other Leaders.

Pick a Leader with a title. If that Leader no longer had a title, would you still follow him/her. Would the leader still have influence? I can think of Leaders on both sides of the answer. I guess that is life. A quiet leader (with a small "l") has no choice but to excel at influence the hard way. Might this mean that quiet leaders are better candidates for Leadership roles?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Debunking the Robert Moses Parkway Myths With Facts. Making Dollars and Sense

MYTH: The Parkway Preservation Committee “believe[s] that once the entire community is informed of the negative economic and social impacts of closing the entire Parkway that the consensus will be to keep it open. Many of the groups listed by the [Niagara Heritage] Partnership are not locally based and again we believe that many of the local groups are not fully informed of the ramifications of a complete closure.”

FACT: Of the 80 groups listed 65 are located within the bi-national, Buffalo/Niagara River Region.

FACT: Removing the Robert Moses Parkway between Niagara Falls and Lewiston, NY, reclaiming and restoring the natural landscape as a non-motorized National Heritage park with hiking and bicycling trails will boost and revitalize Niagara Falls, the tiny, north-river front communities and the western New York region.

Clear Benefits
According to the Trust for Public Land, communities today usually don’t ask whether parks and open space benefits economies, they ask how large those economic benefits might be. They are coming to realize that all of the other benefits brought by parks and open space—improved recreation and health, cleaner water and air, easier access to the out of doors, even stronger communities—also can engender economic benefits in the form of increased tax receipts, stronger economies, a better ability to attract businesses and residents, and reduced costs for environmental services.”

For several years, the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence has been working with economists to develop methods to study the many ways that park and recreation systems contribute economic value to cities. In 2008, at the request of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance, the center used its methodologies to analyze the value of Philadelphia’s park and recreation system.

Based on the analysis, the center found that in 2007 the Philadelphia park system provided the city with revenue of $23.3 million, municipal savings of $16 million, resident savings of $1.15 billion, and a collective increase of resident wealth of $729 million.

These figures included more than $1.08 billion in what economists call “direct-use value” of parks, including sporting activities, walking, picnicking, and other park visitation. These values are calculated by asking residents what they would be willing to pay for these activities if they were not available free from the park system.

Nationwide, national parks support 267,000 private-sector jobs and generate $13.3 billion in economic activity in nearby communities. The proximity to national parks of so-called gateway communities allows them to attract new businesses and residents, boosting community prosperity. Over the past three decades, the economic growth of gateway communities has averaged 1 percent per year higher than average economic growth in their respective states.

Protected forests, wildlife areas, and natural lands support leisure time and recreational activities—such as hunting, fishing, mountain biking, camping, wildlife viewing, and mountain climbing—that pump dollars into local economies.

• A 2006 survey by the U.S. Fish & and; Wildlife Service reported on the spending habits of hunters, fishers, and wildlife watchers. More than 87 million Americans participated in these activities in 2006, and their spending totaled $122.3 billion. Of that, $64.1 billion was spent on sporting equipment, $27.4 billion was trip related, and $20.7 billion went to other items.

• According to a report by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation in partnership with the National Shooting Sports Foundation, hunters and anglers support more jobs nationwide (1.6 million) than does Wal-Mart (1 million), the country’s largest corporation.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rare Bird Alert

September 20 in the Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area, a first fall WHITE IBIS was photographed at Woods Marsh/Hunt Club Marsh, north of Bartel Road and east of Ditch Road. WHITE IBIS is an exceptional rarity - only one previous record in the history of the BOS records.

Also September 20, a HUDSONIAN GODWIT in Ontario, at the Mosaic Ponds on Rymer Road, north of Rock Point Park in Dunnville. Besides the godwit at the ponds, STILT SANDPIPER, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, PEREGRINE FALCON and 6 GREAT EGRETS. At Rock Point Park, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, RUDDY TURNSTONE, RED KNOT and SANDERLING, plus NORTHERN PARULA and MAGNOLIA WARBLER. And at Windmill Point in Fort Erie, 2 more RED KNOTS.

Hotline: Dial-a-Bird at the Buffalo Museum of Science
Number: 716-896-1271
To Report: Same
Compiler: David F. Suggs (dfsuggs at localnet com)
Coverage: Western New York and adjacent Ontario

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Wild Ones Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program (SFE)

For Immediate Release:

Request For Proposals:
Wild Ones Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program (SFE)
Applications Due October 15

The Wild Ones Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program (SFE) gives small monetary grants to schools, nature centers, or other non-profit educational organizations for the purpose of establishing outdoor learning centers within the United States and Canada. The grant recipients are those which most successfully reflect the Wild Ones mission to educate and share information about the benefits of using native plants in our landscape and to promote biodiversity and environmentally sound landscaping practices.

Established by Wild Ones in 1996, the SFE Program honors Lorrie Otto on whose environmental philosophy Wild Ones mission is based. Money for the grant program comes almost entirely from donations from Wild Ones members and other benefactors. The grant program provides cash awards within the United States and Canada for child-centered projects that create native plant landscapes or develop outdoor classrooms.

To be considered for the annual award, non-profit groups such as schools, nature centers, houses of worship, or similar organizations must apply by October 15, 2009. Download an application form here. Notification of awards will be made by February 15, 2010.
Please note the guidelines require a signature from the local chapter, Niagara Falls and the River Region.

Recipients for the yearly awards will be chosen by the Seeds for Education judges, a volunteer panel of educators and naturalists. The SFE Nursery Partners, a select group of native nurseries and propagators, also donate seeds and plants to successful grant recipients.

Wild Ones Native Plants, Natural Landscapes is a not-for-profit environmental education and advocacy organization. The Niagara Falls and River Region Chapter (Wild Ones Niagara) mission is to create in Niagara Falls and the Niagara River region a sense of place through grassroots partnerships, advocacy, and education about regional native plants and natural landscaping with a focus on the restoration, preservation, and the protection of the botanically unique habitats of Niagara Falls, the Niagara gorge, and the Niagara River Region.

National Office:
Donna VanBuecken, Executive Director
Wild Ones Natural Landscapers Ltd
PO Box 1274, Appleton, WI 54912-1274
1-877-FOR-WILD (877-394-9453)t

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Debunking Local Myths: Facts for Removing The Robert Moses Parkway

The Parkway Preservation Committee was created to generate awareness and understanding of the significant economic, social and environmental impacts the Robert Moses Parkway has on the community fabric of the Greater Niagara region. (Source: The Parkway Preservation Committee)

Bureaucrats banded to counter the group of concerned citizens, The Niagara Heritage Partnership, who advocate the preservation and restoration of the region's natural environment and encourage socially responsible development. Currently, the Niagara Heritage Partnership is advocating the removal of the 6.5-mile section of the Robert Moses Parkway which runs along the Niagara Gorge from Niagara Falls, New York to Lewiston, New York, and restoring the natural environment (indigenous trees, grasslands, wildflowers) and creating a hiking and biking path.

FACT: Removing Freeways — Restoring Cities
Even Gaming Magazine—a house organ of the gambling industry, which we would not expect to be aware of city planning issues—said in its article about revitalizing Niagara Falls that the Robert Moses Parkway is "widely held as a mistake in planning," whose result is "simply directing people through the city and into Canada."

FACT: Revitalizing Niagara Falls: Recovering from the Legacy of Robert Moses
"In today’s climate it should be understood that the urban parkways built during the post-World War II era were misguided. Property values plummet, pollution increases, vandalism and crime multiply, and traffic congestion grows. Many cities across the world acknowledge these pitfalls and have torn down major highway systems from South Korea to France, Canada, and even the United States." Souce: M. Andreini,

to be continued...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Musical birds on a wire - Smile of the Day

Musical birds on a wire

Shared via AddThis

Click the small subtitle text to hear one man's musical interpretation, a melody inspired by blackbirds.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Robert Moses Parkway Removal - For Versus Uniformed

When people take the initiative to learn about the economic benefits of removing the Robert Moses Parkway between Niagara Falls and Lewiston, NY, they become supporters. You can read what the Niagara Community Forum has to say about the subject here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Respecting Wildlife

The Daily Om is a respite from the hurry of daily life. You can find other meditative thoughts here.

September 11, 2009
Open and Listening
Respecting Wildlife

For better or worse, much of the world we experience is dominated and controlled by human beings. We spend our days in houses, cars, and buildings, and inside these structures, we are in control. We assert our wills and manipulate our environment. Within the context of the human world, this is natural. However, we often carry this attitude with us into the world of nature. We forget as we enter the forest, or sit on the edge of a pond, that we are moving into another realm, one that asks us to drop our baggage and surrender to a different sense of order and meaning.

When we move from our everyday world into the world of nature, we may not even notice at first. We might continue talking loudly into our cell phone or to a friend that is with us. We might walk quickly as if we are on a busy city street, our eyes downcast, our thoughts hectic and hurried. In the best case, if we are sensitive to our environment, we will soon notice that it has changed. We may hear ducks calling, or wind moving through the leaves on a tree. If we notice the shift, we will naturally shift as well. If we don’t, we may get all the way through a beautiful park without having lowered our voices. Next time you find yourself in the presence of wildlife—even if it’s just a duck pond in the midst of urban hustle—try to move into a receptive state of openness and listening, no matter how much or how little time you have. Allow yourself to be captivated and calmed by the energy of the wildlife that covers this earth. Teaching our children to be respectful of nature and! to stop and observe is a gift they can always cherish

We preserve pockets of nature in our urban centers and large expanses of nature in our national parks because of the magic we feel in its presence. It reminds us of our smallness and calls us back to a deeper, quieter part of ourselves. When we honor nature by being respectful in its presence, we honor the mystery and wild beauty of our origin.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

The Road to Success in Niagara County?

An allegorical 1913 cartoon from an original drawing issued by the National Cash Register Co. to point to business success. Found by an RSS feed posted by Lead Quietly and, its application is relevant, especially if used to depict progress towards removing the Robert Moses Parkway.

One can also use it to map today's leadership in Niagara County: "In LeadQuietly thinking, the match is nearly perfect and author Andrew Churches could literally search and replace teacher with leader and submit the article to almost any modern leadership blog."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Author Ginger Strand Advocates Free Niagara, Remove the Robert Moses Parkway

Ginger Strand, Inventing Niagara, had this to say about the on-going issue to remove a 6.5 mile section of the Robert Moses Parkway: "Having spent several years researching the nooks and crannies of the Niagara region, I can honestly say that the Niagara Gorge is one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever had the chance to get to know. For a real appreciation of the "great wonder" of Niagara Falls, experiencing the gorge is necessary. I cannot say the same for the Robert Moses Parkway. It's my opinion that Niagara Falls has much more to gain from restoring the natural attractions of the gorge than it does from preserving this highway. As long as the state parks and the Power Vista were accessible, the area would only be enhanced as a tourist destination, and for the locals who love this place, the payoff would be immeasurable. Not only that, but Niagara would once again take a place at the head of the movement toward environmental restoration. It's time to "free Niagara" once again."

You can read other comments on the Niagara Heritage Partnership's website here and learn more about the first Free Niagara movement here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Alliance Launches People Powered Movement Photo Contest

Washington, DC - September 1, 2009 - The Alliance for Biking & Walking is inviting photographers from across North America to turn their best biking and walking photos into a chance to win a 10-day all-expense-paid bike tour of Tuscany. The inaugural People Powered Movement Photo Contest, which runs from September 1st - December 11th, is seeking high quality and creative photos of biking and walking.

In addition to the VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations Tuscany by bike adventure, which includes airfare, meals, and bicycle, the grand prize winner will also receive a year's supply of CLIF BARs and their local biking or walking advocacy organization will receive a $1,000 Communications Grant.

Two runners-up will win a brand new commuter bike - a Breezer Uptown 8 or a Dahon folding commuter. First, second, and third place winners in each of the seven categories will also receive prizes including Rickshaw bags, Planet Bike gear, and CLIF BARs. The winning photos will be published in the 2010 March/April issue of Momentum Magazine.

Individuals can submit up to 20 photo entries via the contest website until December 11th, 2009. On November 1st, the public will be invited to vote on all photos submitted to the contest. Public voting will close on December 31st, 2009 when the top 10 photos from each category will go to a panel of expert judges in biking and walking advocacy and communications. These judges will vote on the finalists to determine the contest winners. Because the public voting period is critical to determining the finalists, participants are encouraged to submit their photos early.

Photos submitted via this contest will benefit the Alliance's new Biking and Walking Advocacy Photo Library, a valuable resource that will provide free high quality images for grassroots bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations. This resource is much anticipated, as images are essential for advocates to effectively communicate with the public.

The People Powered Movement Photo Contest is made possible by 42BELOW, Momentum Magazine, CLIF BAR, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Planet Bike, Rickshaw Bagworks, Bicycle Times, Breezer, Dahon, Cycle California! Magazine, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, Funes Design, and JPG Magazine.

For more information, including judging criteria, contest rules, and to enter, visit the Alliance's contest website at

About the Alliance:
Alliance for Biking & Walking is the North American coalition of 140 grassroots biking and walking advocacy organizations. The Alliance works to strengthen state and local organizations through grants, training, sharing best practices and resources. More information about their work or to find a local organization you can work with, check out

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