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IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START OVER ON BRIDGE PLANS

I am glad to see Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and a group of distinguished and responsible people challenging the Peace Bridge Authority's plans toduplicate the bridge.

So far in this so-called review process, we are witnessing a rush to duplicate a bridge built by a 19th century engineer for 1927 traffic across the Niagara River.

I think the Bridge Authority is rushing to meet self-imposed time goals rather than building a structure that should reflect the public interest of two nations and Western New York.

I scoff at the assertion by the authority's chairman that the process has moved too far to start over. It was a false start and it's never too late to correct this.

We must be more careful in Buffalo. Fast-track and misguided decisions have separated the city from its waterfront, put its university in a suburb and moved the rail transit underground, which made it too short to benefit the area.

It was obvious in 1995 by the pedestrian and bicycle ban imposed and then quickly lifted by the Bridge Authority that the state-of-the-art intermodal aspects of transportation planning are mostly ignored.

I have a suggestion.

Why not abandon navigation clearance as it is currently maintained and build a lower-level bridge?

The only higher-level vessels using the river are those delivering coal to the Huntley Plant (which happens no more than several times a year) and anoccasional tanker. These vessels don't provide enough goods to warrant spending millions ofextra dollars.

Simply putting navigation at the barge canal clearance could allow the same amount of money to be spent on a far superior intermodal bridge.

I visualize a lower bridge about 14 feet above the water that is 12 lanes wide with rail tracks for a transit system and bike trails along each side.

We need to build a bridge for the future. Why does the Bridge Authority ignore this and insist it must build a bridge to the past?

And why are we on such a narrow fast track to build?

Art Klein Buffalo

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