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Robert Moses Parkway designs

The Robert Moses Parkway from downtown Niagara Falls to the city's North End will be ripped out. The southern part of the road -- from the North Grand Island Bridge to Niagara Falls State Park -- will remain. (Photo: Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

By Charlie Specht


New plans for the Robert Moses Parkway, announced this afternoon, are sure to be viewed as both complicated and controversial.

For those interested in all the details of the plans -- and for those on each side of the argument -- I have posted links to all three of the proposed designs below. 

Keep in mind that all three designs include some common elements like removal of the parkway between Main Street and Findlay Drive, the redesign of Whirlpool Street as a park-like road, and a new multi-use pedestrian trail that ties into surrounding streets.

State officials they will get started on those elements even as the other details -- the future of the parkway north to Lewiston and to state parks along the way -- are figured out.

 After another round of public comment, these three designs (of the original six) will eventually be whittled down to one (designs 1, 2 and 5 have been eliminated):

Design 3: Two-lane park road to Lewiston ($52 million)

Design 4: Parkway removed at Power Project ($49 million)

Design 6: Full parkway removal to Lewiston ($33 million)

Comments on the designs should be emailed to

More on the Moses


The Robert Moses Parkway in Niagara Falls near the Whirlpool Bridge saw little traffic when this photo was taken in 2011. (Photo by Derek Gee / Buffalo News)


By Charlie Specht

The Robert Moses Parkway has been despised by the City of Niagara Falls since it was built in the 1960s. 

But not all people on the Niagara Frontier want to see the roadway ripped out, as the state is considering. In fact, a small but vocal group of "parkway preservationists" in Lewiston want the road to remain as a direct north-south route for tourists coming from Niagara Falls.

That's just one reason the redesign of the parkway is a complicated issue, and one that likely won't be resolved for another few years. 

Continue reading "More on the Moses" »

Love Canal audio and video


Workers in 2011 found Love Canal-era chemicals in this sewer on Colvin Boulevard in Niagara Falls. Residents say those chemicals rushed into their homes and basements. (Photo: Charles Lewis/Buffalo News)


By Charlie Specht

Here's some audio and video to go along with Part I and Part II of our Love Canal series this weekend. 

The first video, by Derek Gee, is of the Herr family worrying about the health and safety of their children. You get a sense of what the neighborhood really looks like. The second, by Charles Lewis, is a tour of Love Canal with Mike Basile of the EPA.

Also check out this audio of Dan Herbeck and I speaking this morning on WBFO about our series.

Continue reading "Love Canal audio and video" »

Vegas, casino capital, is for families, too

By Charlie Specht

In today's paper you read that Niagara Falls, hoping for another casino, wants to take a page from Las Vegas' tourism playbook.

But who would ever believe that Las Vegas, the casino capital of the country, is actually more family-friendly than Niagara Falls?

Just try going online to plan a family vacation there. Check out this Las Vegas tourism website, which includes more than 30 family and children's attractions in Sin City.

Continue reading "Vegas, casino capital, is for families, too" »

Video: New culinary school opens in Niagara Falls

More than 200 students have begun classes at the Culinary Institute Niagara Falls, which opened last week to rave reviews from students in Niagara County Community College's culinary arts program.

Heritage panel meets Wednesday

The Niagara Falls National Heritage Area Commission will hold a public workshop on Wednesday night in Earl W. Brydges Public Library, 1711 Main St., Niagara Falls.

The commission will also hold a regular business meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Power Vista at the Niagara Power Project, 5777 Lewiston Road, Lewiston. This meeting also is open to the public.

The federal commission is tasked with drawing up a plan for a heritage area, aimed at boosting regional tourism.

Here's a recent Q&A my colleague Emma Sapong did with the panel's chairman, Thomas Chambers.

Here's a story I wrote in January about the commission's work.

4:14 p.m. update: Check out this newsletter from the commission.

--Aaron Besecker

Heritage Area Commission meets Wednesday

The Niagara Falls National Heritage Area Commission will meet and hold a public information session Wednesday at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University in Lewiston.

A commission business meeting will be held from 4 to 6:30 p.m., with the information session to follow from 7 to 9 p.m. The business meeting is also open to the public.

The information session will feature a presentation by A. Elizabeth Watson, of the consulting firm Heritage Strategies, on "approaches followed by other National Heritagea Areas," according to a press release.

The federal commission is tasked with drawing up a plan for a heritage area, aimed at boosting regional tourism.

Niagara University professor Thomas Chambers was recently elected chairman of the commission.

For more information and background on the commission -- including its members -- check out my previous stories: when the commission was seated, after it began meeting in December and when it held its second meeting last month.

11:43 a.m. update: The late-afternoon business meeting will include an official public comment period, and the evening session will be less formal while allowing for full participation by members of the public, according to Chambers.

--Aaron Besecker

Review online chat with State Sen. George Maziarz

Check out an archive of the live chat we had today on with State Sen. George Maziarz:

Falls mother part of story on soldiers' Christmas in Iraq

A young mother from Niagara Falls who recently started her first tour of duty was included in an Associated Press story on American soldiers celebrating Christmas in Iraq.

Chrisy Adams was one of several soldiers interviewed by reporter Barbara Surk.

Read the story here.

--Aaron Besecker

EPA pollution data available on web

CWM Chemical Services, the commercial hazardous waste landfill in Lewiston and Porter in northwest Niagara County, was the seventh biggest polluter in the state in 2009, according to EPA data. (Charles Lewis / Buffalo News file photo)

I reported today that Western New York has seven of the top 25 polluters in New York state.

Data about environmental discharges was sent to the Environmental Protection Agency by the facilities, and was amassed as part of the annual Toxics Release Inventory.

On the agency's website, anyone can look through the data -- including every facility and type of waste they release -- with the TRI Explorer.

Here's the data from all the facilities in Erie County and what they released; here's the data for Niagara County facilities.

--Aaron Besecker

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