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October 25, 2013

Parkway report released

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The final version of a scoping report for the planned reconfiguration of the northern section of the Robert Moses Parkway is now available.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced Friday the posting of documents related to the project, which focuses on the redesign of the parkway between Niagara Falls and the village of Lewiston.  

The final report includes public comments on a draft public scoping report which was issued in February. 

The scoping process produced three alternatives for redesigning the parkway's northern section, all of which call for removal of a roughly two-mile stretch between Main Street and Findlay Drive in the city. All three alternatives allow for restoration of an adjoining segment of Whirlpool Street to provide north-south access within city limits. Once removed, state parks said plans call for the former parkway right-of-way to be landscaped with native species and equipped with a new multi-purpose trail network.

The three remaining options include: creating a continuous park-scaled road using a portion the parkway right-of-way from Findlay Drive to Center Street in Lewiston; removal of parkway sections in selective locations by merging the road into and from adjoining segments of Lewiston Road (Rte 104) and full removal of the roadway which would result in use of Route 104 for all north-south access.

Although a final alternative has not been selected, the 112-page scoping report, prepared by state parks' consultant, the Parsons Group, recommends that the project be carried out in two phases, each with its own design and environmental review. The report recommends removal of the section between Main Street and Findlay Drive as the first phase, with the second phase focusing on the remainder of the parkway from Findlay Drive to Lewiston. 

Bob Baxter, conservation chair of the Niagara Heritage Partnership, a citizens group that has long advocated for total parkway removal, classified the entire scoping process as a "dishonest manipulation," suggesting the phased plan recommended in the report essentially guarantees removal to Findlay Drive only. 

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