Niagara Gazette

Opinion

December 11, 2012

GUEST VIEW: Setting record straight on parkway removal

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — These are but a few examples from dozens of opposing tactics. I’m not complaining, just revealing.

In the following paragraphs are the outlines of the gorge parkway removal argument as accurately as I can present them. The Niagara Heritage Partnership remains strongly in favor of total gorge parkway removal — more strongly, in fact, than we were in 1997.

WHAT WE STILL PROPOSE: the total removal of all four lanes of the gorge parkway between Niagara Falls and Lewiston and the restoration of the natural environment along the gorge rim, graced by a walking and a bicycling trail.

WHY? Establishing this natural park, so closely linked to the natural wonder of the falls, will serve as a focal point for promoting our region to mid-range eco-tourists, a potential for economic growth that other areas of the country have already demonstrated to be richly rewarding.

WHO SUPPORTS THIS PROPOSAL? Thousands of individuals and about 80 organizations. The list is available for viewing on the NHP website: www.niagaraheritage.org.

WHO OPPOSES IT? Generally, the “North towns,” i.e., Lewiston, Youngstown, Fort Niagara, et al.

WHY REMOVE IT? The scientific study, by EDR, recently released, has concluded that:

1) the potential for regional economic growth via eco-tourism exists. 2) Alternative routes could easily handle the traffic currently using the parkway should it be removed. 2a) The time added to commuting from Lewiston to Niagara Falls (without the parkway) would be under five minutes. 3) The cost of removal is reasonable ($3.8 million). 4) Funding is available to accomplish the task.

WHAT ABOUT COMPROMISE? Yes, this is worth discussion, although some of the benefits of total, full-length removal would be lost (such as the greenhouse proposed for the lanes currently crossing the power plant). Removing only the portion from downtown Niagara Falls to the city line at Devil’s Hole is a worthwhile compromise that could retain the heart of the proposal.

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