Niagara Falls, New York, Gets Go-Ahead for Highway Teardown

Beginning at Niagara Falls State Park, you can hike around the great gorge carved out of the base of the falls over thousands of years. But you’d best arrive in a car.

The section of Robert Moses Parkway separating the town of Niagara Falls from its stunning gorge will be torn down. Image: ##http://www.site-kconstructionzone.com/?tag=wind-power##K Construction Zone##

If you want to access this area from Niagara Falls neighborhoods on foot, you have to climb fences, scale embankments and race across a four-lane expressway — the aptly named Robert Moses Parkway.

In as little as three years’ time, however, this struggling town will be reconnected with the natural asset that serves as the basis for its economy. New York officials gave the thumbs-up last week to a plan to tear down a two-mile section of the Robert Moses Parkway, stretching from near downtown Niagara Falls to the town’s northern neighborhoods, and possibly further.

The Buffalo News reports that local residents have been pleading for the teardown for years. The town, which has suffered disinvestment and population loss while its Canadian counterpart thrives, hopes the expansion of the park will help spur more eco-tourism. The paper reports that the state plans to replace the segment with “native plantings and a multi-use nature trail that could feature hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and even zip-lining.” It also seems likely that the highway removal will increase property values and investment in the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, the debate continues about the fate of another stretch of freeway from the city’s northern neighborhoods to the suburb of Lewiston. The Buffalo News reports that environmentalists are fighting to convert that portion back into forestland while the local state senator wants to turn it into a two-lane park road, matching the one in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

  • Anonymous

    Man. no one even used that highway. I used to traverse that highway all the time when entering into the United States from Canada. It’s a complete disaster for the locals and drivers.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Beautiful news and soon beautiful views. Can you imagine the draw for a “bike the falls” path?

  • Miles Bader

    +1 for forestland-conversion.  Time to start clawing back the sprawl.

  • Larry Littlefield

    One of the problems with Niagara Falls is that it was an industrial city as well as a tourist destination.   Unless you are interested in the history of industrialization and its subsequent decay, the ride to the park from the south on the Robert Moses Parkway is not scenic.

    They’ve tried to put up fences.  I think they ought to buy up property whenever a business closes, and plant trees there.  Then perhaps in 50 years or so, the experience of the falls will be fully screened from the workaday city.

  • Vanshel400

    It’s impossible to “match” Ontario’s road. Theirs is a residential road, the NYS section under controversy is not. There’s not a house along any of it. Also, given the cost to remove compared to reconstruction and replacement, removal wins, but the Senator ignores that just as he ignores the road bypasses every business district in the city

  • Justwordsniagara

    When was the last time anyone asked you to create or do something great? I’m asking. I’m asking you to help us create something magnificent in Niagara Falls, NY and along the Niagara Gorge Rim. I’m asking each of you to fight for our shared legacy, the restoration the world’s wonder, the natural landscapes at Niagara Falls, NY. I’m asking you to sign your name and address on the letter below and email it to the addresses provided. Then, reblog this request. Send it around the world. Thank you! Your private information will only be seen by the four people you email:

    thomas.donohue@parsons.com, rose.harvey@oprhp.state.ny.us,
    editor@legislativegazette.com,
    erbaxter@aol.com

    Email Subject line: Robert Moses Parkway

    Mr. Tom Donohue
    Niagara Gorge Corridor Project
    40 LaRiviere Suite 350
    Buffalo, NY 14202
    March 6, 2013

    Re: Alternative 6 / Total Removal
    North Robert Moses Parkway Scoping

    Dear Mr. Donohue:
    The world is watching. We want something great done along the Niagara River Gorge Rim. Please add my name and support to the 2,000 plus petition signers and the 80 organizations (www.niagaraheritage.org) that have already requested total removal of the gorge rim parkway and an ecological restoration which includes only a non motorized trail for active transportation pursuits–hiking, walking, bicycling and cross country skiing.

    To add a road or extend Whirlpool Street, keeping motorized traffic along the rim, mars the natural experience and defeats the eco-service benefits a complete restoration will bring. We know there are alternative roads to reach all the destinations to the north. Thank-you.

    Sincerely,
    Your Name
    Address

  • GetReal

    2013 and Niagara Falls is still trying to straighten out its mess of 1960s nightmare that idiot Lackey and his crew so-called Urban Renewal. This article kills me. Has this woman ever lived in Niagara Falls or been there? Each decade the city has been hit by economic struggle and worse and this has nothing to do with a highway. So now suggesting eco-tourism! There is a real laugh. I hate to inform this woman and any others there are a hell of a lot more pressing issues and problems 2013 for that city to tackle before worrying about something like eco-tourism.

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