Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Parkway. One Wild Plan

Dear Michelle:

I read Mark Scheer's article in the Gazette this morning about what your organization would like to do if you got Greenway funding. I served the Niagara Parks Department for fifty four years in the historical preservation department. I also worked for Niagara Mohawk Power and am known as the last surviving worker of the collapse and destruction of Schoellkopf stations B & C in 1956. From 1956 through 1963 I fought Robert Moses tooth and nail about his plan for an expressway to be built from the overburden from the excavations of HIS power station from LaSalle to HIS power station in Lewiston. I also fought him on his proposal to take over Tuscarora land for HIS pump storage reservoir and the destruction of the historical Adams Power Stations and the complete destruction of what was left of the Schoellkopf Station. Robert Moses was a greedy S.O.B. and his death was a joy to me. He did not care what he destroyed, whether natural or historical, so long as it benefited his personal greed. There was no need to build HIS expressway and destroy all of the natural islands on the upper river, the entrance to the Schoellkopf Power Canal at Port Day, the park area at Prospect Point, and the natural beauty of the lower gorge rim from Niagara Falls to Lewiston. In 1960 we jokingly called HIS expressway "The Robert Moses five second tour of Niagara Falls" because once you got on to it in LaSalle your next exit was DeVeau Collage. In later years an exit was put in at Port Day onto Daily Drive and another at 1st Street to exit into the Parks Departments parking lot. HIS expressway was so well received by everyone that in 1965 it was torn up from The Green Island Bridge to The Geological Museum north of Rainbow Bridge and was never used again in order to have better access for tourist traffic into downtown Niagara Falls. The expressway north of the Rainbow Bridge to DeVeau Collage ran on the old right-of-way of the New York Central Railroad which meant he did not destroy anything natural between those two points and that is also why at DeVeaux there is a right hand curve in the road that is blocked. His expressway had to end there in 1960, but because he had Governor Rockefeller in his back pocket, the Governor allowed Moses to extend his expressway through the natural areas from DeVeau Collage to Niagara Collage destroying access to Whirlpool Park and Devils Hole.

In my opinion, this is what I believe should be done with the Greenway money. The expressway should be closed from Main Street in Downtown Niagara Falls to Niagara Collage. The four lanes should be divided up as follows, one lane each, north and south bound for bicycles and one lane each, north and south bound for walking, jogging and rollerskating, with motor vehicle access to the Discovery Center and to Whirlpool Park. Let the trees, grass and brush reclaim some of its land and provide a more scenic area for people to enjoy. We will still need access to trails 3 and 3-A from the walkway at the Great Gorge Bridge for tours to the Power Station and Whirlpool Bridge, site of the deadly Great Gorge Route disaster.

In conclusion, Robert Moses and Mayor E. Dent Lacky were given to much autonomy at that time and they misused it, plus the expressway is used very little now, and with the Lewiston Road overhaul underway, I feel there is no need for the Moses Parkway to be kept as a motor vehicle parkway anymore, it should be converted to a pedestrian walkway and nature walk.

If you have any question in regards to my opinion, please feel free to contact me at rrrestspec@ameritech.net or 630-392-5378.

Thank You for your time

Bruce Lampson

No comments: