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Letter: Local leaders should tell DOT to rethink Scajaquada

Local leaders should tell DOT to rethink Scajaquada

We are at a critical juncture on the Department of Transportation’s plan for the Scajaquada Expressway.

In August, the DOT dictated its view of the expressway design that ignored 15 years of community input in favor of the same 1950s transportation model that favored the automobile over communities and our park system. Not only will DOT take an additional 14 acres of parkland, but it will shorten the length of the expressway that it will mediate, creating a confusing set of various speed limits along the roadway. It also proposes creating a Niagara Falls Boulevard- and Sheridan Drive-type intersection by the stone bridge on the S-curves.

This bureaucratic rigidity and defiance of community input is a disgrace. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy plan to reconnect the two parts of Delaware Park by a bypass that restores the S-curves bridge to pedestrian and bike use is not impossible, just inconvenient to DOT’s lack of imagination and ignoring its own environmental reports on the minimal effects of this change. The 30 mile per hour speed limit has already reduced traffic by half on the expressway as people look to alternative routes, and with self-driving cars and trucks on the horizon, with their smart route planning, the road will become even less relevant.

Our mayor, Common Council and other city officials need to show support for the majority of their constituents and tell the DOT that it needs to go back to the drawing board and rethink this terrible plan that continues the mistakes of the past. The city needs to support reconnecting Delaware Park and restoring the DOT’s original proposal as to the length of the expressway to be changed.

Buffalo owns much of the ground under the expressway and a show of apolitical courage by the people who are supposed to represent the will of their constituents would go a long way to keeping this disastrous plan from haunting the area for another 60 years.

Jim Mendola

Buffalo

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