Niagara Gazette

January 28, 2014

NYPA approves $2M toward Robert Moses Parkway removal effort

Staff Reports
Niagara Gazette

The New York Power Authority Board of Trustees has approved $2 million toward a project to remove portions of the Robert Moses Parkway in Niagara Falls, according to Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26).

In a release from his office, Higgins said just one year ago, in the first days after assuming representation of the City of Niagara Falls, he called on NYPA to pay for Robert Moses Parkway removal and laid out his argument in a detailed document titled: “The Niagara Falls Waterfront: NYPA’s Responsibility for the Robert Moses Parkway.”   Higgins later pointed out the community injustice created by Robert Moses Parkway when he stood with Mamie Simonson, whose home was taken against her will by NYPA in 1959 and demolished to allow for construction of the Parkway. 

The NYPA funding will pay for engineering and environmental clearance for Phase I of the Robert Moses Parkway project, officially called the Niagara Gorge Corridor Project, which extends from NYS Route 104 (Main Street) to Findlay Drive in Niagara Falls. According to the agreement NYPA will pay for: 

• Design/planning for the removal of the current expressway facilities, bridges, and other associated features of the Robert Moses Parkway in this segment

• Design/planning for landscape/habitat restoration of the Niagara Gorge rim landscape on land to be reclaimed from the parkway removal

• Design/planning for the full-depth reconstruction of the Whirlpool Street which directly adjoins the current alignment of parkway, as a conventional, at-grade, landscaped street to provide all north-south access in this portion of the corridor.

After initially laying out his position on NYPA support for Robert Moses Parkway removal, Higgins met with NYPA Board of Trustees Chairman John Koelmel and has had subsequent conversations with NYPA President and CEO Gil Quiniones. 

Higgins, who negotiated the $279 NYPA relicencing settlement in 2006 that is now funding Buffalo’s waterfront development, commended NYPA leadership, “It is a different day at the New York Power Authority.  Gil, John and Governor Cuomo have been thoughtful partners in our effort to help Niagara Falls reclaim and rebuild arguably one of the most incredible waterfront destinations in the world and we look forward to continuing our work with them to see this and other projects through.”