Recent accidents have renewed the debate over the Kensington Expressway. Instead of old-fashioned solutions such as stepped-up law enforcement or renovation of a portion of this eyesore, Buffalo should excise this mistake.
This expressway, along with the Scajaquada Expressway and the Niagara Thruway downtown, are relics of the type of thinking that destroyed our famed park system and street plan. These highways block views of the waterfront in Buffalo and create dead real estate below them.
Other cities, including Seattle and San Francisco, are removing elevated highways, refusing to restore those damaged by earthquakes and rejecting newly proposed "beltways."
In the case of the Kensington, the road divides a neighborhood that once was noted for its tree-lined Humboldt Parkway with beautiful, large homes. While many factors have contributed to this area's decline, the expressway destroyed the ambience that could have helped this area recover.
A multilane, tree-lined boulevard would move traffic efficiently, allow turns at intersections to avoid bottlenecks at off-ramps and could resurrect commercial business along this artery. Any group studying a solution to the problems on the Kensington should consult with other cities where the difficult decision has been made to correct errors from their automotive-worshiping past.
Is the Kensington bringing suburbanites to the city to shop, eat and be entertained? Or did we help destroy a neighborhood and create a traffic nightmare so that suburbanites could get quickly into Buffalo to earn their money and then rapidly flee home?
Perhaps putting our streets back to their marvelously planned original network, linking a restored Olmsted Park system, would begin Buffalo's return to the prominence it held at the beginning of the last century.
CARL M. REICHMUTH