The Robert Moses Parkway, built a half-century ago as a means for tourists and residents to enjoy the Niagara River from the comforts of their automobiles, has been on a meandering detour for years.
Five years ago, State Parks, city officials and two other state agencies agreed to use $2 million to redesign the southern section of the parkway and hold a public "scoping" process to determine the future of the north section.
Many groups, including 30 Niagara Falls block clubs, have spoken out against the parkway because of concerns about the environment and public access to the Niagara Gorge.
While proponents of removing the parkway have voiced their opinions loud and clear, there are also proponents for keeping the roadway. Former Village of Lewiston Mayor and current Niagara County Legislator Richard F. Soluri is one of them.
"What I'm trying to do is protect our investment here," Soluri said. "Without a direct route, it will have an adverse effect on Lewiston."
The parkway as it is will benefit Niagara Falls, too, Soluri said, funneling visitors from Rochester and Lockport to the Falls.
"A scenic route, similar to the Canadian side, will add overnight stays in the Falls," Soluri said.
As reported in today's editon of Niagara Weekend, such a scenic route is one of the ideas proposed by the State Parks office. Here are some other ideas:
--Redesigning Whirlpool Street between Cedar Avenue and Findlay Drive to act as a rolling park road, creating increased pedestrian access from neighborhoods in the city to the Niagara Gorge.
--Connecting streets in the DeVeaux neighborhood into the park road, tying the grid pattern of the city street system with the park road.
--Redesigning the interchange at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and Lewiston Road as a signalized intersection by removing four overpass structures and bringing everything to ground level. A roundabout would tie together state Route 104, Upper Mountain Road and the park road.
--Reconfiguring the parking lot and access for Devil's Hole State Park to allow free and easy movmeent from Route 104. Creating two-way access into Devil's Hole to Lewiston Road.
Which options look attractive to you?
Feel free to comment under this post or attend the State Parks open house on this issue Monday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Earl W. Brydges Library, 1425 Main St., Niagara Falls.
-- News Niagara Reporter Charlie Specht