Image via WikipediaReconfigure Robert Moses Parkway
The Robert Moses Parkway presents an almost continuous barrier between the city and its waterfront. So egregious has been the intrusion that the most important planning efforts of the last two decades have all suggested ways to mitigate the impact of the Parkway. These include the Niagara Falls , Waterfront Master Plan by Sasaki Associates (1992), the Citizens Map of Niagara Falls by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust (1997), the Jerde Partnership development plan for Niagara Falls Redevelopment Corp. (1998),and the Main Street Plan by the City of Niagara Falls. (2001).
A range of treatment options should be considered to reduce the negative impact of the Parkway on the waterfront environment and as a barrier between city neighborhoods and the river, falls, and gorge. These should include elimination of lanes, removal of sections of the highway, reduction of speed limits, and introduction of at-grade intersections with the intent of reducing or eliminating automobile traffic and increasing pedestrian access. The issue requires a great deal of additional technical work, design study, and public discussion. It will almost surely involve different approaches in different locations and contexts. But given the Parkway’s limited value for transportation and its substantial conflicts with the goals of waterfront redevelopment in Niagara Falls, a systematic reconfiguration of the Parkway is an absolute requirement of this strategy.
This nonsense is approaching 20 years and it has been almost 40 since the city was cut off from its waterfront. Business districts have failed, neighborhoods have been lost, neighborhoods continue to deteriorate and taxes are on the rise.
How long must we wait for our State to get on board and do what is right for the County of Niagara? The scoping process on the sections of Robert Moses which cuts the city off from its resources should have been completed years ago--not started on October 27th 2010.
The citizens of this city should not be required to continually repeat what has been studied upside down and sideways for what seems like eternity. If the city's application for a $52 million grant, countless references in its Comprehensive Plan and countless study results, are not enough, what is?
End the scoping and start planning for our economic future.