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Parkway Comments Due by Wednesday

Hints on what to say seen on past Parkway comments

By James Hufnagel

The Robert Moses Parkway, the speedway that
bifurcates the parkland surrounding one of the
greatest scenic vistas in the world.
What do we need a Devil's Hole for?

The deadline for public comments on Robert Moses Parkway reconfiguration is this Wednesday (March 20). Comments may be emailed to Moses.parkway.north@parks.ny.gov.

The remaining alternatives for the parkway include removal up to Findlay Drive (alternatives 3 and 4) and removal to the city line (alternative 6). Alternatives 1 and 2, which were rejected, involved complete restoration of 4 lanes.

To assist readers who wish to comment before Wednesday's 5 p. m. deadline, we are reprinting selected comments from two years ago from the original scoping session that evaluated all six alternatives.

Comments from Lewiston, Youngstown and Wilson greatly outnumbered those submitted by Niagara Falls residents. Most of those were in favor of parkway restoration/improvements.

For example, Audrey Shedd of Lewiston stated, "Please keep just the way it is so I have a direct route to Niagara Falls. Otherwise I might think twice about going to the Falls."

George Spira of Youngstown seconded that: "I do not want to drive in city traffic any more than necessary."

Jack Hanrahan of Lewiston agrees with both: "I have been a Lewiston resident for the past 40 years. I believe that the parkway is the only way to get from Niagara Falls to Lewiston... It is the "life line" for the Villages of Lewiston and Youngstown... you may see many partitions (sic) signed by the Niagara Heritage Organization but most of the signatures come from people who have no use for parks in the first place... for the people in Lewiston and Youngstown it is a godsent (sic)."

Some residents from outlying areas were seemingly bitter about the parkway situation, including Ruth B. Kushner of Lewiston, who "has been furious for 10 years that the parkway was totally botched up."

E.A. Franklin of Pekin said to "Kindly put me down for reopening the Parkway. The grand experiment (removal of the southbound lanes) has failed... As all things Niagara Frontier, all the alternatives presented will never be decided because of petty bickering."

Commuters into the city were concerned about whether removing the parkway might result in an unsafe situation. "The original four lanes is safer in bad weather, fog, etc." concluded Sandra E. Jackson of Wilson. Other Wilson residents also chimed in. Marlene Schotz said that "I represent no one but myself, but I do attempt to interject common sense into political situations. Forget about Olmsted's view of the whole gorge being left natural. That was the horse and buggy age. Taking out the Robert Moses Parkway will be the same." And Thomas J. Baia said that "As a Wilson resident the Parkway is also very important to the people of Wilson."

John and Wendy Caputo of Lewiston were worried about the impact of parkway removal on their business. "We are owners of an artisan's shop in quaint Lewiston. Our investment is based on the continuation of the parkway." Marcella's Hair Salon, also located in Lewiston, pleaded "Please do not close the Parkway! It is imperative to the flow of traffic and the livelihood of the residents of Lewiston. Please!!"

Tourism was the subject of other comments. An anonymous commenter declared that "one side wants to cut off the rest of the county so they can keep all the tourists to themselves in Niagara Falls (where it would only take a couple of hours to see everything Niagara Falls has to offer)... screw the people and attractions to the North - how dare they have anything to offer... Niagara Falls says give us Artpark. How ridiculous is that... Main Street will never be a Center Street with shops and restaurants galore."

Ecotourism is apparently not a big deal to the city's neighbors to the north either. Karen Allen of Stella Niagara "would prefer traffic travel on the present Robert Moses Parkway over plants for there is no environmental reason to get off at Devil's Hole." "How long would it take for the foliage to grow to provide a native based plant luscious to the visitors? And at what cost to taxpayers?" questioned Margaret A. Salada of Lewiston. Joel Kew of Lewiston took the occasion to remind us that "Prior to the Parkway there was a railroad track and if so then the people didn't have access to the gorge."

According to Arlene and Darlene Polniak of Lewiston, the state of the parkway is a direct cause of suffering. "Restore the 4 lanes! Lewiston drivers have suffered with 2 lanes." and "4-5 people who walk their dogs must love the empty road. Everyone else suffers."

Others say it must be the result of mental illness. Sylvester and Kathleen Barone of Lewiston wrote "Save the Parkway, we need this parkway. We need to emulate our Canadian neighbors. If the Canadians took out their parkway it would be insane! The same would happen here!" And another anonymous comment asked "in reference to removal of the Robert Moses Parkway are the people in favor of the closure totally insane?"

Transportation issues were topmost in the minds of some commenters. "The Robert Moses is an umbilical cord of sorts for ease of access to the bridges - Whirlpool and Rainbow" observed Randy Hain of Lewiston. "(I) like the access road for Artpark, gets the crowd out nicely" from an appreciative Sarah Waechter of Lewiston.

"We have endured too much self-serving public pressure from those who thrive on letters to the newspapers" complained G. Russell Crane, resident of Lewiston. Ken Candella of Lewiston summed up everyone's comments appropriately when he wrote "Removal would be detrimental and devasting (sic)."



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Mar19 , 2013