QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Audience questions from the Environmental
Leadership Institute public forum at Niagara University (26 March 2003)
that time did not permit answering:
Why is the “tear up the parkway” contingent so disinterested
in the wishes of the locals?
To which wishes and which locals do you refer?
Please check the NHP list of groups supporting gorge rim
restoration, where at least a dozen are local.
Then scroll through the online petition where many local
residents and former residents are supporting the removal project.
Keep in mind that about 2,000 additional individuals, most of
whom are local, have signed paper petitions in favor of the
proposal—and that the entire “contingent” to which you refer is
made up of locals.
Why are so many outsiders being brought into this issue?
They have no knowledge of the area.
So you believe that only people who live in or next to the
Everglades or Yellowstone should be permitted to weigh in on
environmental issues facing those areas?
It seems that many are ready with both hands to welcome the money
of those who visit here, but not their ideas about the natural
landscapes which might attract more of them to our region for longer
periods of time. What
special knowledge do you have, as a local, that supports your
Why have the Canadians not closed their comparable highway?
The Canadians don’t have a comparable highway.
See “ Reply to Dumbrowsky"
How do you justify the inconvenience and safety that will result
to the hundreds or thousands of daily commuters who now travel north and
southbound on the six miles of parkway in question?
We believe that “thousands” is an exaggeration, perhaps
reality times four. Further,
we believe that the benefits, creating watershed and natural gorge
protection from the damage caused by normal parkway maintenance, and the
restoration of natural landscapes combined with the potential for
economic revitalization of the region, especially the city of Niagara
Falls, simply outweighs the minimal inconvenience of commuters
taking one of the alternative routes.
The “safety” part of the question is unclear.
Why tear it down??? It’s
there! At this time it’s needed more than ever.
The cities to the north need it.
The casino is here and with the possibility of the ferry from
Toronto it should be restored the way it was.
The state can’t afford removing it.
It’s progress and it’s there.
If the existence of a thing is rationale for keeping it, the
Berlin Wall would still be standing.
There are no cities to the north, only towns and villages, unless
you’re counting Toronto. The
International Fast Ferry has problems of its own, both environmental and
economic. Please read Fast
Why is Lewiston Road continually addressed as the only
alternative route if the parkway were to be removed?
It’s the next route that commuters focus on because of their
selfish obsession with shaving several minutes from a drive that’s
less than 20 minutes in the first place, even starting from Youngstown,
New York. Other routes into
the heart of Niagara Falls from the north include Hyde Park Blvd.,
(turn right on nay avenue toward Main), Highland Avenue (11th
Street), Lockport Road, and the I-90 to Pine Avenue/Niagara Falls Blvd.,
or Buffalo Avenue.
How many environmental groups have endorsed complete removal of
all four lanes from Niagara Falls to Lewiston?
The quick answer is 28 environmental groups, but this is
misleading, since one of these is Great Lakes United, for example, which
is itself a coalition of well over a hundred groups, though not all of
them “environmental.” The
total number of supporting groups is 47, block clubs, bicycling,
business, hiking and other organizations.
See Groups supporting NHP proposal on the Home
Some of these are also coalitions as noted elsewhere.
Isn’t this road considered to be a scenic route by Triple A?
Why would we want to remove such a beautiful route?
Yes, it is scenic because of the beautiful natural scenery, not
because a road runs through it or because of the vehicles on the road.
The presence of the road and the vehicles actually detract
from the natural landscape. What
is seen while driving the route is very limited.
Since the route access to the gorge would still exist with
it gone, why not remove such an ugly thing?
What economic benefit would this (parkway removal) bring to
Lewiston, Youngstown, and Fort Niagara.
Tour coaches would continue to travel to these destinations by
alternate routes as discussed elsewhere.
The economic benefit to Lewiston and Youngstown would be realized
from increased numbers of ecotourists spending additional time in the
region. Lewiston and
Youngstown, already linked by a cycling path, would be destinations and
stopover points along the trail. Check
endorsing organizations, especially the cycling and hiking groups
already in support. See
Groups supporting NHP proposal on the Home
Page. This would be another marketing tool, not only for these
villages, but for the rest of the region as well, with our wonderful
park system and outdoor areas.
What consideration, if any, has been given to the advantage of
keeping the artery open in the event of emergencies, including terrorist
Our consideration had to do with the increased security for the
power plant with parkway lanes closed to vehicular traffic.
Please see “Terrorists, Casinos,
Creating Jobs." An
overall assessment of security concerns is currently being conducted by
the NYS Power Authority as part of their relicensing responsibilities.
What benefit to our economy will the destroying of our
infrastructure be? Will
hikers bring in all that much money?
The short answers are “large benefits,” and “yes,” though
we prefer to think of our proposal as advocating the restoration of a
small, but significant portion of our natural environment, rather than
“destroying our infrastructure.”
The existence of an enormous population of ecotourists, over and
beyond those tourists who currently visit the Niagara Frontier, is
undeniable. For evidence of
this, search “ecotourism” on the web.
Hiking and cycling trails along the gorge rim, through a
vehicle-free, natural environment, would have a high potential of
attracting these visitors for sustained periods of time.
These include hikers, cycling groups, bird watchers, and others,
often families, who enjoy “green” vacations.
Again, please check the supporting groups; be aware that some
groups, such as The New York Bicycling Coalition, for example, is
combined of six organizations. (The
present “pilot program” is not a measure of this potential.
Check Pilot Project Response.
Why go back to “nature?”
This is a tourist site and should be treated as such.
Why have a park with no access points?
See the previous answer. Your
second question reveals your extremely limited knowledge about our proposal,
which incorporates numerous vehicle access points and has from
the beginning. Please
read Library Comments 31 May 2000.
Where do you propose to get the funds to tear out four lanes of
highway and to build a park area?
If the communities of the region could present a unified
vision of these lanes being removed and the gorge rim restored, the
funding possibilities for such a project would be impressively broad.
This vision would include improved alternate routes so that
northern towns and villages would be assured of their economic security.
Such funding sources, might consist of, but is certainly not
limited to, the following: the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional
Transportation Council; the Department of Transportation; New York State
Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; the Superfund
(Albany legislation for refinancing and reform pending—Part AA,
Section 1); the Environmental Protection Fund; the National Fish and
Wildlife Foundation; the National Park Service (matching funds); the
Environmental Protection Agency (education to promote environmental stewardship);
Watershed and Clean Water Stewardship Grants—USDA Forest Service, NE
area. Brownfield grant
money may be available for specific areas, such as Devil’s Hole.
It is likely that there would be some level of participation by
the NYS Power Authority. This
abbreviated list of possibilities would be much expanded through the
efforts of professional grant people.