“Scenic” Parkway Detracts from Economy, Environment, Quality of Life

Last March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that a section of the north Robert Moses Parkway paralleling Whirlpool Street in the city will be removed, at a cost of $42 million. Perhaps the most interesting line of his press release was the following: “The project will remove an underutilized two-mile segment of the parkway from Main Street to Findlay Drive.”

If Cuomo deems the north Moses Parkway “underutilized” along its downtown stretch, what does that say about the rest of the parkway from Findlay Drive north?

State Department of Transportation traffic studies clearly show two bumps in usage of the north Parkway, both corresponding to rush hours. So let’s get this straight: the economic, environmental and quality of life benefits that would accrue to the city of Niagara Falls from parkway removal all the way to Devil’s Hole, as identified in the $140,000 Niagara Greenway-funded “Regional Economic Growth Through Ecological Restoration of the Niagara Gorge Rim” study by consultants EDR Companies of Syracuse, NY, have been set aside so that Lewiston can have its short cut into the city.

We ask again: if the section between Main and Findlay that connects directly with downtown is “underutilized”, what would be different about the section from Findlay to Devil’s Hole? Less than one of four vehicles traveling south on the Parkway get off at Findlay. Virtually no vehicles traveling north get off on Findlay unless their GPS is telling them that they took a wrong turn.

Nine of ten vehicles traveling between Lewiston and the city presently use Lewiston Road, according to state DOT studies. The fact is, the entire length of the parkway, from Niagara Falls to Youngstown, is underutilized when compared with any other road, highway or parkway of similar intended purpose.

In addition to the monied Lewiston interests that have managed to cheat the city of Niagara Falls out of enjoying easy access to a naturalized Niagara Gorge for the past half-century, certain DeVeaux residents whipped up opposition to removal to Devil’s Hole, conjuring images of schoolchildren being mowed down in the streets by hot rods which no longer have the parkway to speed on. Never mind that removing the parkway past Findlay would result in an average of one additional vehicle every two minutes on Lewiston Road, again, according to the DOT.

Back in the 1950’s, when the population of the city topped out over 100,000, there no such thing as a Robert Moses Parkway. All traffic was on Lewiston Road, and nobody from DeVeaux was complaining.

This summer, during one of his increasingly infrequent visits to the city of Niagara Falls, the governor also announced that the state was changing the name of the Robert Moses Parkway to the “Niagara Scenic Parkway”.

Because if you’re going to remove something, it’s a good idea to first change its name to something appealing, then spend taxpayer money changing all the signage to reflect the new name.

While the state is still in the process of rubbing the name of Robert Moses off of public works, reminiscent of some kind of Stalinesque purge, the Reporter thought it opportune to go for a walk down the Niagara Scenic Parkway and take some photos of some of its more scenic aspects. Enjoy.

Ugly graffiti at the top of the Niagara Gorge on the Moses Parkway south of Findlay Drive. How very scenic.

Ugly graffiti at the top of the Niagara Gorge on the Moses Parkway south of Findlay Drive. How very scenic.

Ancient pictoglyphs on the closed lanes of the Niagara Scenic Parkway reveal that prehistoric cultures liked to run each other down with bicycles.

Ancient pictoglyphs on the closed lanes of the Niagara Scenic Parkway reveal that prehistoric cultures liked to run each other down with bicycles.

Perhaps these images are part of some primitive religion - it was originally named the "Moses" parkway, after all.

Perhaps these images are part of some primitive religion – it was originally named the “Moses” parkway, after all.

Cross Country skiing sign along the parkway. Have you ever seen a cross country skier on the parkway? Neither have we. Hard to ski on blacktop. Note the bolt through image on sign.

Cross Country skiing sign along the parkway. Have you ever seen a cross country skier on the parkway? Neither have we. Hard to ski on blacktop. Note the bolt through image on sign.

The "climbing wall" along the parkway. Why don't they just get a bulldozer and push this monstrosity into the gorge, or blast it apart with air hammers, like they did the pedestal of the Tesla sculpture?

The “climbing wall” along the parkway. Why don’t they just get a bulldozer and push this monstrosity into the gorge, or blast it apart with air hammers, like they did the pedestal of the Tesla sculpture?

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