Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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October 25, 2013

Parkway report released


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — "We waited over a year for this? By any definition, 'creating a sensitively-configured transportation network along the gorge' is a road," said Baxter, quoting from a section of the report itself. "Establishing a road as a goal eliminates the potential for total road removal, hence keeping the detour around Niagara Falls business districts and destroying the possibility of developing a regional ecotourism market. (State parks) shouldn't keep implying total removal is a possibility. It's insulting. The entire scoping, in the land of reason, is a dishonest manipulation. How about a 'sensitively-configured' total removal from downtown to the city line?"

Lisa Vitello, a member of the city's tourism advisory board, which is on record supporting parkway removal, also disagrees with the Findlay Drive cutoff option. She believes it would be better for the city itself if state parks "tweaked" the total removal option to allow for removal of the section from Main Street to the city line, instead of all the way to Lewiston. The option would not only support the city's best interests, but also quell concerns raised by Lewiston area home and business owners who support parkway retention, she said.  

"If you don't remove it to at least the city line, it does nothing for business because you would get off on Whirlpool (Street) and still bypass the city," Vitello said. "It's not going to do anything to revitalize Niagara Falls."

State parks did not rule out the possibility of adjustments moving forward. The agency said it is working with its partner agencies, including the state-run USA Niagara Development Corp., to refine the remaining choices and to identify sources of funding to cover the cost of preliminary design. The process is expected to take about 18 months to complete.  

"Each of these alternatives will be further refined and evaluated in a federal environmental impact statement," state parks said in a release issued Friday. 

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