U.S. side only.  See Important Disclaimer on Home Page.

Sign the online petition here

Dear Editor:

It's been suggested that keeping two commuter lanes of the Robert Moses Parkway open from Lewiston to Findley Drive in Niagara Falls would be a reasonable compromise to the Niagara Heritage Partnership proposal for total removal of all four lanes and the restoration of natural landscapes along the gorge rim.   Those making such a suggestion seem to do so from the lofty perch of being rational, of offering a solution to an issue that has created opposing camps.  But while we recognize that compromise is often the best path, we should also be willing to admit that sometimes it isn’t.  The results of the suggested compromise need to examined.  In this case, the results would be: 1) traffic would continue to detour the city of Niagara Falls by using the parkway lanes-Findley Drive-Whirlpool route, thus failing to contribute to the city’s economic revitalization, 2) the wildlife habitat (Globally Significant Important Bird Area), the potential enlargement of green space near the gorge, would not be significantly realized, 3) a major component of the NHP proposal, the development of an ecotourism destination for a new population of visitors would no longer be viable, since cycling or hiking alongside a commuter route is not highly valued by those organizations and families who seek green vacations,  4) the integrity of the gorge ecosystem would continue to be degraded by the application of road salt, herbicide, etc.,  5) it would result in only 1.6 miles of the 6.5 miles of gorge rim being free of parkway, 6) the neighborhoods of DeVeaux and Fort Gray would continue to be cut off from the gorge by lanes of traffic, 7) the old growth forest known as DeVeaux Woods would continue to be an isolated and restricted woodlot bordered by parkway lanes, 8) the gorge top area at Devil's Hole State Park would continue to be a sliver of land reduced by as much as 60% by highway lanes, curbs, medians, etc., 9) the construction of a greenhouse, a glassed-in space over what are now parkway lanes across the Power Plant, with nursery and a restaurant, would be a discarded idea, 10) the idea of creating a pocket park/rest area for hikers and cyclists under the Lewiston Queenston Bridge would be useless, 11) the National Heritage Area and the International Niagara Peace Park designations, should such distinctions be earned for our region, would be less impressive without a highway-free and restored gorge rim, an emblem of our respect for the natural environment, 12) the continuing national media coverage that would be generated by such a large restoration project in a world-famous natural locale would be lost.

The reasons that gave rise to the idea of "compromise" are 1) The unsubstantiated claim that gorge parkway lanes are necessary for the business interests of Lewiston and Porter (further detailed information at under “Olmsted, Thoreau, and the Parkway Issue”), and 2) The parkway saves time (about five or six minutes, actually) for commuters in an area where the average commute is among the shortest in the nation.   Weighed against the many positive benefits to the region that would result from complete parkway removal and gorge rim restoration, we believe these reasons for the retention of two lanes to be insufficient. That is why the Partnership strongly rejects this so-called compromise.  

Bob Baxter, Conservation Chair


BACK to NHP Response to the OPRHP Pilot Evaluation - Feb. 2004



f o r    g e n e r a t i o n s    t o    c o m e


Niagara Heritage Partnership

MPO Box 1495

Niagara Falls, New York 14302-1723