Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 17, 2013

'Reclaiming the waterfront'

ROBERT MOSES PARKWAY: Higgins says NYPA should pay $120 million to support removal.

Niagara Gazette — U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins wants the New York Power Authority to pay for the removal of the Robert Moses Parkway.

Using the Niagara Gorge as a backdrop while standing in front of an elevated section of the parkway near the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, the Buffalo Democrat, whose Congressional district now includes the city of Niagara Falls, announced plans to seek $120 million from the power authority to finance removal efforts along the northern and southern parkway sections.

Higgins described the "poorly utilized roadway" as both a physical and economic barrier to the "renaissance" of Niagara Falls while suggesting that the authority should pay for the implementation of community based removal plans.

"We believe that will unleash the extraordinary potential of Niagara Falls, N.Y. as a great waterfront city drawing those millions of people who visit Niagara Falls, Canada every single year," Higgins said.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is expected later this month to reveal its recommended options for the future of the northern section. A consultant working with state parks presented for public review a total of six options for the roadway, including leave it as is and total removal from the Falls to Lewiston.

The southern section has been eyed for several changes aimed at making it more pedestrian friendly and less of an obstacle to waterfront access.

Higgins stopped short of endorsing any specific project, saying he'll support whatever the community decides on both sections, while adding that the key to any plan is the money needed to carry it out.

He said only $5 million is currently available for the south section redesign - too little to carry out the actual construction. The $120 million request by his office represented an estimate of what he believes will be needed to make the sort of progress on renewal efforts that believes the city needs and deserves.

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