January 12, 2010

Robert Moses Parkway

For years, there has been a battle in Niagara County that epitomizes parochial thinking. The issue revolves around the Robert Moses Parkway, an 18 1/2 mile stretch of road running from Niagara Falls to Lake Ontario.

The contentiousness has revolved around removal of a stretch of the parkway the runs between Niagara Falls and Lewiston. Publicly, supporters of the removal claim that there are environmental concerns that warrant removal of the portion, including “the current imbalances within the ecological and man-made environments” and “transportation patterns compatible with ecological restoration,” according to Wild Ones Niagara, a group seeking to remove the section.

In reality, the supporters of the removal, including Wild Ones Niagara, a 10 member body which shockingly is made up of people from Niagara Falls, has little interest in preserving history, the environment or anything else they may proclaim.

No, what this comes down to is the demented thinking that if the parkway is removed, there will be one less route for visitors to escape from Niagara Falls, therefore creating some kind of captive audience. This audience, now unable to find a way out of the city, will thus abandon their hope of exploring historic Lewiston and points north, therefore spending money that they would have spent outside of Niagara Falls in the city. Labeling this approach as "twisted" would be an understatement. Sort of like a reverse "if you build it that will come" mentality.

Amazingly, the people of Niagara Falls view tearing up the Robert Moses Parkway as a panacea to what ails them. They want to spend millions of dollars to create a wall around the city that would make Pat Buchanan proud, instead of addressing the real problem: Their inability to cultivate and create an environment that is conducive to growth and private capital investment. Just ask Howard Milstein.

Now, we're not going to go through the litany of problems facing the city, they've been well documented on these pages as well as many others. But the fact remains that the city draws 11 million visitors each year to one of the natural wonders of the world. So what if tourists want to venture to the gorge in Lewiston, the amazing Fort Niagara State Park, the Lockport locks, the North Tonawanda carousel museum or any of the other splendid attractions that our county has to offer. With 11 million visitors to the region, there are enough tourist dollars to go around for everyone.

To think for one moment that killing a path out of the city will help the Main Street corridor thrive is such a distorted example of promoting economic development that it's amazing to think that these people, men and women that are supposedly well respected in their fields, ever came up with a substantive idea to advance economic development.


Niagara Forum said...

Hobbes states--"They want to spend millions of dollars to create a wall around the city that would make Pat Buchanan proud"

Hobbes is too ignorant to realize the parkway is a wall around the city! Go for a ride Mr. Hobbes, by the empty parking lot at John Daly Blvd where the berms of the parkway block the river; then, down Whirlpool to the Whirlpool bridge by all the empty lots and the pillars that block development their as well. Then tell the citizens of Niagara Falls that the Robert Moses Parkway is not a barrier to the economic development of our city.

Colby said...

Though I do not reside there, my entire family comes from Niagara County, which I'm quite sure includes Lewiston, and if asked, I don't imagine I could point to one member who is not in favor of removal (of less than half of your mileage claim, by the way). The main goal is restoration of an area long mistreated, and perhaps misunderstood. Your implication that this group named "Wild Ones" has anything other than noble intentions sounds oddly political and does nothing to promote civil discourse. We would all be better served by a more informed discussion.

Dark Knight said...

I have never quite understood this issue and really don't know where I stand, but I'd like some guidance.

If I live in Lewiston or Youngstown and need to come to civlization, doesn't that mean picking up the 190 by Niagara Unviersity and heading into Niagara Falls or by extension, across Grand Island and into Buffalo?

Sure the Parkway is a quick way to the Park, but is there really a part of anyone's regular commute or every day influence? Couldn't the Parkway be taken out all the way up to Deveaux and no one's rights in the towns be trampled on?

In an area with so many needs, I'm not a fan of spending scarce dollars to take out infrastructure that is already in place. I think that money is better spent building up not tearing down. But I really don't get the Lewiston argument here.

Do people from Lewiston commute to Buffalo by taking the Parkway right to the G.I. bridges?

Paladin said...

Hobbes, are you writing tongue-in-cheek responses again? Because only a moron would write the things that Niagara Forum and Colby write.

As for me, I'm with you. The Robert Moses Parkway ain't the problem for the Falls. The corrupt political climate, population composed largely of welfare cheats, and an anti-business climate where it took years for an ice-cream stand to open up have a lot more to do with it than a road.

Niagara Forum said...

Here is a little challenge to the reader. Go for a ride down Findlay Drive to Whirlpool Street. As you get to the Parkway, look across the river. Make a note of that and turn on Whirlpool Street towards the falls. Count the empty lots and make a note of the condition of the properties. Continue across the Rainbow Bridge (if you have the proper documentation.) Drive down the Niagara Parkway to the Cable Cars at Whirlpool. If you see the difference, and realize why, you will know who the real moron is.

James T. Kirk said...

Um...you have yet to make any cogent argument, Niagara Forum. You have agreed with us, and all thinking individuals, that Niagara Falls, N.Y. is a vile hole devoid of economic development and full of blighted properties. You have agreed with us that the disgusting condition of Niagara Falls essentially begins at the city's northern border. You've made the clear observation that Niagara Falls, Ontario, looks a helluva lot better.

But you've yet to make one demonstrable argument that the Robert Moses Parkway is at fault. You remind me, frankly, of global warming alarmists who will insist that this recent cold snap actually PROVES their dogma.

Let's be honest, Niagara Forum, like that silly old codger, Gromosiak, and that dirty smelly hippy, Baxter, and that profiteer woman who wants to run a back-to-nature business, you are an extemist pushing an agenda.

As for the rest of us, we'll continue to enjoy the Parkway. It's not our job to fix Niagara Falls and the destruction decades of one-party rule have wrought. Heck, we're just glad there IS a high-speed exit from Paul Dyster's sinkhole of a city.

Niagara Prognosticator said...

Hobbes, you had better better get your compass calibrated. If you want to get to the Lockport locks or the Carrousel Museum from Niagara Falls, surely the parkway along the gorge is not the preferred route.

The parkway is a blight on the landscape. More green is the currency of the age.

Niagara Forum said...

Maybe it is because I am such an old codger I remember what Whirlpool and Main Street were before the Parkway. Maybe its because I know, as it has in other places, Whirlpool will become prime development area when the parkway is removed.

Obviously you either didn't go for that ride or, you didn't get it. If you notice, I didn't mention downtown Niagara Falls, ON

Joey said...

Give us back our waterfront!