Niagara Gazette

Columns

February 25, 2013

CITY DESK: Rip it and leave it

Niagara Gazette — The road's not even gone yet and some are already talking about building on the land where it sits. 

I'm speaking, of course, of the Robert Moses Parkway — the four-lane, Niagara Gorge-front highway that has divided this end of Niagara County for years. 

During a press conference last week where officials discussed the three remaining alternatives for the controversial stretch of road, some officials said they wouldn't mind letting private interests have a crack at the land once removal from downtown to Findlay Drive moves forward. 

With all due respect, that's the last thing the city needs.

It's taken years and more knock-down, drag-out arguments than I care to remember to get state parks to the point where it has finally agreed to get rid of at least part of the parkway's northern section. 

The "compromise" solution, while not satisfactory to the pro-environment, anti-parkway faction, does represent — finally, after all these years — some semblance of progress in the age-old tug-of-road. 

For those who think the soon-to-be-parkway-less area would make for prime development real estate, think back to why the push for removal got started in the first place.

Tearing out four lanes of highway next to one of the great natural gifts in all the world gained traction mainly because most people in their right minds not named Robert Moses would never have built a four-lane highway next to one of the great natural gifts in all the world in the first place.

Replacing all the concrete that's there now with more concrete — the vertical kind — would defeat the purpose.

Canada has skyscrapers obstructing its gorge view. 

That doesn't mean we should attempt to follow its lead. 

Our side should be the place where the visitors come to not only see the Falls, but experience the natural setting surrounding it. 

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