Niagara Gazette

Columns

January 20, 2013

CITY DESK: Higgins takes a side on parkway issue

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Instead, refreshingly, he took a side. 

He made it clear that he believes time has passed the Robert Moses Parkway by and that the time has come for the city's more affluent neighbors to the north to get on board with the idea that no road here is better than the road less traveled the community has now. 

"(Robert) Moses built a lot of things and named them for himself," Higgins said. "Some of those things were beneficial and some of those things were ruinous. I would argue that this Robert Moses Parkway is ruinous." 

As for the folks in Lewiston and other northern suburbs, Higgins said their voices would be heard and their positions considered. He suggested they'll need to come to terms with some things, the sort of stuff planners and removal advocates have been saying for years — like the "absurdly overbuilt" parkway separates the county's key economic driver — the city of Niagara Falls — from its most precious resource — its waterfront. 

In making his announcement, Higgins also offered a possible answer to the question so often asked by pro-parkway people — 'where will the money come from to rip out a four-lane highway? 

As Higgins said, $120 million would go a long way to undoing quite a bit of what Moses did. And what better source of revenue than the power authority, which has the surplus cash and, as Higgins pointed out, was instrumental in helping Moses put it there in the first place. 

And what about all those motorists, the ones who have come to value the parkway for its quick ride by the gorge and around the, er, less-than-desirable sections of the city? 

Higgins suggested there just aren't enough of them to justify maintaing the status quo. 

"I think based on the traffic count you really have to look at this realistically," Higgins said. "If there were no other alternative routes to and from Lewiston that would be one thing, but there are. This is clearly underutilized."

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