Public funds should preserve parkways for nature’s sake
There is a beautiful scenic parkway along the west branch of the Niagara River that forms a boundary between two countries, is used by commuters and at the same time connects two state parks. It is surrounded by grassy banks serving as a natural habitat for wildlife and migrating birds and has overlooks providing access to kayakers, scuba divers, bikers, walkers and workers on lunch hour and is a place to watch sunsets or eagles or boats on the river. Why would you close it?
There is a 30-mph access road alongside it with very low traffic and wonderfully wide shoulders and is designated a bike route used by all ages and types of bicyclists, walkers, skate boarders and slower drivers. Why would you add more traffic and increase the speed limit?
There is a treed, grassy median between the two that is open to all and used for hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, dog walking and snowshoeing. Why would you cut down trees and pave it?
There are currently four separate options to close some, or change all of these areas, and none has garnered a majority or even a large minority of support. Perhaps it is because none of the options is as good as what is there now. Why would you make unnecessary changes and spend $2.5 million in public funds?
If you’ve ever used West River Parkway on Grand Island to commute, to transport and launch your kayak or scuba diving gear, spent your lunch hour at one of the overlooks, watched the birds or the sunsets, driven between the parks or run or biked a road race and you don’t want it closed and striped with kiosk signage added, take action.
Write Mark Thomas, director, western district, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Box 1132, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14303-0132.
Ask him to preserve the parkway, service road and median as separate entities, each successfully serving its own purpose.