Cuomo’s Pledge To Remove Robert Moses Is A Job Half Done

Governor Andrew Cuomo deserves credit for his $40 million pledge – announced at the Niagara Falls Conference Center on Monday – to remove the portion of the Robert Moses Parkway that abuts the Niagara Gorge. In recent years activists have been aggressively organizing to remove the elevated highway that stretches from downtown Niagara Falls to Lewiston.

That’s no small accomplishment. But the removal project only fixes half of the problem. The remaining portion of the parkway – from downtown Niagara Falls to the Grand Island Bridge – will remain entirely intact, consuming hundreds of acres of waterfront land that could otherwise be repurposed for state park expansion, and inhibiting transformative development opportunities.

Critics have long argued that the parkway diverts traffic off of city streets. If the highway was removed and traffic rerouted along Buffalo Avenue, the stretch of underutilized brownfields could be redeveloped. In a matter of years, Buffalo Avenue would resemble Lundy’s Lane in Canada, acting as an entrance way to the tourism mecca.

It wouldn’t be a difficult accomplishment, since the waterfront land is already owned by the New York Power Authority (and presumable transferable to the State Parks’ Department). Current traffic volumes could be easily accommodated on the recently reconstructed Buffalo Avenue, eliminating the need for additional infrastructure investments.

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