Take Me to the River: How Buffalo Can Get Rid of its Waterfront Barrier and Achieve Widescale Preservation and Recreation-based Development
If there is one thing we can do for ourselves and our children and our children’s children, it would be to rid ourselves of the cursed and thoroughly damned Thruway along the Niagara River. Blocks of historic houses in Black Rock, Riverside, and the West Side are being consumed by disinvestment. Whole neighborhoods are at risk. Preservationists, environmentalists, neighborhood activists, and just plain residents would find common cause in this issue. [This article, as it appeared, with illustrations, in the Winter 2006 issue of our newspaper, Greater Buffalo, is available by clicking on the link that follows.]
Sure, it has been discussed before, even studied. But it always has been with the understanding that the Niagara Section of the Thruway would merely be moved and supersized to modern standards (i.e., a 70 mph design speed and infrequent but huge interchanges). That is not what we need. We need it gone, and a boulevard-like road replacing it.
There is now also some urgency to the question, for the long-running debate about whether and where to build another international bridge is coming to a head in the Final Environmental Impact Statement stage. The Campaign for Greater Buffalo supports a low-level lift bridge between the historic communities of Black Rock in the U.S. and Bridgeburg in Canada. A high-level bridge and its attendant ramps connecting to the Thruway would insure the continued existence of the Thruway and the decline of the neighborhoods it goes through.