removal of Parkway would meet area's needs
News, 29 April 2001
If the pilot project that will reconfigure the Robert Moses
Parkway from four lanes to two between Niagara Falls and Lewiston is implemented
permanently, it will become one more link in an ugly chain of events that has
left our region in both economic and environmental bondage for the past four
decades. The Niagara Heritage
Partnership rejects the assertion of some that the pilot project is a
“wonderful compromise.” As it
stands, simply closing down the two lanes nearest the gorge to vehicular traffic
and opening them up to hikers and bikers and creating two-way traffic on the
inside lanes is fundamentally flawed thinking. It has been suggested that this
plan will boost ecotourism. However,
ecotourism requires a natural environment.
The pilot project does nothing to reclaim the natural environment. It
does not provide a wildlife habitat or protect native plants that the typical
ecotourist expects. It does not provide an environment appealing to hikers. It
does not reduce the threat of further exploitation of the gorge and it does not
promote the Olmstead vision that Commissioner Bernadette Castro has claimed as
her guiding philosophy. The Niagara
Heritage Partnership proposal, that calls for the complete elimination of the
Parkway between the Falls and Lewiston, achieves all of these goals.
The Partnership also questions the State Parks
unwillingness to take a stand regarding our proposal.
How much support is required before notice is given and a position is
taken? Currently, 28 local and
national business and environmental organizations that represent nearly
three-quarters of a million members back the NHP proposal for complete removal
of all four lanes. Our plan and a complete listing of groups supporting our
proposal can be found on our website at www.niagaraheritage.org.
If the pilot project does indeed move forward, The Niagara
Heritage Partnership urges that the next logical step be taken--the removal of
the two lanes that are to be shut down. Only
then, with the ultimate goal being the elimination of the remaining lanes, would
this plan constitute a positive first step.
The NHP is steadfast in its belief that this approach will best serve the
entire region both economically and environmentally.
It has taken nearly forty years for many to conclude that a
highway along one of the most scenic regions in the northeast may not represent
the soundest decision ever made. It
is our hope that forty years from now, future generations don’t look back with
regret that we did not take full advantage of reversing the situation when we
had the opportunity.