May 14, 2009

Parkway Angst Misguided

The Niagara County Legislature has made the decision not to take a position on the issue of whether to keep or remove the Robert Moses Parkway between downtown Niagara Falls and Lewiston.

My question is, who was even looking to the county leg to take a position on this issue, and more importantly, why? This roadway was not designed by the county, nor was it constructed by the county, owned by the county or maintained by the county. The Parkway is a state (DOT) road and it's maintained by State Parks.

For over eight years, various entities have been studying the long-term use of the Parkway. They've studied whether or not to remove it, whether to cuts the number of lanes, whether or not to upgrade it or to simply maintain it as is. In eight years of studies, not a single tangible recommendation has been implemented.

But why anyone is looking at the county leg to make this decision is beyond me. This a state decision, and the one state elected official that represents both Lewiston and Niagara Falls is Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte. She is the one person that is in the best position to determine the direction of this debate.

Her problem is this. If she comes out in support of removing the Parkway, she pisses off the residents of Lewiston. If she comes out in support of keeping the Parkway, she alienates the people of Niagara Falls. Why? Because everyone needs to protect their little fiefdom. The "leaders" in Niagara Falls believe that the Parkway gives visitors a way out of their city, and they want a captive audience. The folks in Lewiston want to keep the Parkway because it allows visitors to Niagara Falls a quick getaway to scenic Lewiston. It's all very unseemly.

That being said, the people that control this decision are refusing to make a decision. This is 1,000 miles away from being in the hands of the county leg. Francine, who has completely alienated people outside of the Falls, is the one who needs to make this call. As usual, unfortunately, she continues to pass the buck - except when it comes to supporting her pimp, Shelly Silver.

This issue has dragged on way too long. This is a state issue, I only wish we had a state legislator representing that end of the county who actually has the ability to take responsibility for her responsibilities.


Paladin said...

Hmmm...Niagara Falls seems to be using the same approach as the old East German government...but instead of building a wall to keep people behind, they're trapping them with crumbling roads and by tearing out the only road that's actually worth a damn.

Jerry Moss said...

This whole Parkway debacle is getting ridiculous.

Will removing the Parkway actually bring more business to Main Street?

Will removing the Parkway actually bring more tourists to Niagara Falls?

This is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Don't we more pressing issues that impact this area?

Paladin said...

Jerry, the Titanic had a better band...

Pirate's Code said...

Like all good centrists, I will try to come down on both sides of this issue. Not whether the parkway should stay or go, but whether or not the county legislature should get involved.

Larry has a point (did I really just type that?). The disagreement over the future of the parkway is an opportunity for the county legislature -- perhaps those most directly affected, but perhaps the full body -- to provide leadership in coming to consensus. And, then, if consensus is reached, leading the communities effort to get the state to follow the community's desire. Not an easy task, to be sure, since both sides seem to have forged their positions in steel and set them in concrete. But, what is to be lost for trying? Some time? Maybe a few grey hairs? So what? I realize the final decision rests with the state and not the county, but the opportunity for leadership remains nonetheless. Try to bring the two sides together, if for no other reason than a consensus would prevent the state from doing nothing because a consensus is lacking. If it fails, well, the final decision still rests with the state but at least the effort was made.

To the other side...I can appreciate the legislature's collective desire to stay out of this for the very reason that they, ultimately, have no authority. Too often local leadership has invested time and effort only to hit that giant barricade that is state bureaucracy. Focus on that which you can control. Leadership, on this issue, could and should most directly come from those in the best position to affect change. Francine? Antoine? George? Governor? Howze 'bout convening a meeting, locking the doors after everyone is in the room, and not opening them until consensus is reached. (Yes, I know...easier said than done but, again, what's to be lost for trying?)

So, my view? Maybe the county legislature should pressure the state folks to show leadership. If state folks balk, then step in and give it a go. Just because you don't hold the final decision-making power doesn't mean you can't take a stand. Or, at the very least, help the community determine its path. (Pun not completely intended, but it wasn't bad for half a cup of coffee.)

Hobbes said...

The following comment was sent to us from Bob Baxter: There's a remarkable lack of knowledge (sometimes referred to as ignorance)in evidence among those who've already commented, with notable exceptions. Also, calling one person a pimp and another, by inference, a whore, doesn't add much to the debate or to civil discourse...just a note. Details & rationale in favor of removal are found at if anyone cares to be informed about the issue beyond glib remarks.