Niagara Gazette

Opinion

March 9, 2013

GUEST VIEW: Parkway study shouldn't be so easily dismissed

Niagara Gazette — I agree with almost everything Joe Grabka said in in his recent letter. He’s only unaware of a few things — such as the degree to which the Niagara Heritage Partnership believes total gorge parkway removal would improve the business climate of Main Street, for example. As such, he’s still light years ahead of Assemblyman John Ceretto and Sen. George Maziarz, who haven’t, in 16 years, given the NHP proposal genuine consideration.

NHP does say that removing the parkway detour around the city would help businesses in Niagara Falls. We never said, however, that removal would create instant economic prosperity for Main Street, or anywhere else, but that it would be part of the solution to reviving business districts.

Even if he is, we should still consider the major reasons, supported by evidence shown by the EDR study, that total removal is advisable. This study, titled “Regional Economic Growth Through Ecological Restoration of the Niagara Gorge Rim,” the only actual study ever done of this issue, cost $140,000. The Niagara River Greenway Commission funded $115,00 of that, and $25,000 came from the city of Niagara Falls. (Maziarz spoke against the funding being granted, and even today remains confused about what constitutes a real study.) Note: Paul Dyster — but not as “Mayor” — and family members, have signed the NHP petition for total removal. As a common-sense person he knows the parkway should be totally gone; as mayor, he hedges his bets — he’ll take what he can get.

The EDR study concluded that the gorge parkway should be totally removed, that traffic on alternate routes would pose no problem, that it was affordable at $3.8 million, that removal would save millions in both the short and long term, that it has the potential to reap economic benefits for the region — and that the gorge rim between Findlay and the city line (exactly the section those opposed to removal are so desperate to keep), was so valuable environmentally that it should be the first section of the road removed, and then the rim restored with natural landscapes.

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