Niagara Gazette — Mayor Paul Dyster, who grew up on Lewiston Road in the DeVeaux neighborhood, said that people have been cutting holes in the fence since he was a kid.
"It's an absolutely untenable situation to have so many people living so close to such a tremendous natural resource and have their access cut off," Dyster said.
Dyster said he feels the DOT could be putting the money they spend on repairing the fence to better use, being that the fence is often cut down soon after it has been replaced.
"It does seem that at a time when money is tight for governments that this might not be the most effective use of money," Dyster said.
During the scoping process for the Robert Moses Parkway North project, the public expressed a desire to have increased access to the gorge. All three of the remaining options for reconfiguring the roadway include expanded access and a more pedestrian-friendly parkway, though to different extents.
Dyster said it is only natural for people to be drawn to the gorge.
"I think it's been recognized that access will be a part of whatever comes next on the parkway," Dyster said. "I would be astonished if whatever plan emerges doesn't include access to the gorge trails."
But McDonnell, the Lafayette Avenue resident, said there is plenty of access already, with a pedestrian bridge a few blocks from his home that leads to Devil's Hole State Park.
"That's the place that you should be accessing the gorge," McDonnell said.
Crossing the parkway behind McDonnell's house - where there is no crosswalk and drivers regularly speed - is unnecessary, he said.
"There's no reason for people to be coming to the end of our street," McDonnell said. "It's dangerous for them to do that."