By James Hufnagel;
Ten years into the tenure of Mayor Paul Dyster, the streets of Niagara Falls have never looked worse.
Shortly after Dyster was elected in 2007, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter gifted him $3.6 million of federal tax dollars for street repaving. Main Street, among several other streets downtown, got a fresh coat of blacktop. Main Street hasn’t been repaved since.
Lockport Street and Whirlpool Drive are clearly disasters. While Lockport is theoretically next in line for repaving, it’ll be another year, in the Spring of 2018, until a section of the north Moses Parkway gets removed and Whirlpool redone.
After we ran a feature article on the city’s so-called “Tourist District” last spring, Third Street got a lick and a promise (Check out Niagara-on-the-Lake in Canada, Ellicottville, south of Buffalo, or even Center Street, Lewiston if you want to see what a real tourist district looks like. It’s already looking shabby – the very stretch we photographed for the article is all potholed up again, just a year later.
Not only that, but the bricks making up 3rd Street’s sidewalks, the product of a joint city-USA Niagara $3.7 million streetscape enhancement, are sinking here and there. A section of the decorative brick sidewalk at the corner of Niagara Street got a sloppy smear of unattractive blacktop for a repair job a prudent two months after our photo appeared.
President Harry Truman, when grappling with a corrupt system of highway maintenance in his native Missouri county, fought contractors who practiced what he called “pie crust” repaving which, like it sounds, involves spreading a thin layer, or pie crust, over the road. Niagara Falls mills and repaves streets to a depth of 2 inches. Niagara Falls clearly follows the pie crust philosophy of street repaving.
Of course, Mayor Dyster has plenty of money to direct to worthy projects like a mostly empty train station ($43 million) and a work of “public art” ($619,560), instead of paving streets, or lowering taxes.