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COMMITTEE FAVORS REVAMPING OF SCAJAQUADA WOULD RETURN EXPRESSWAY TO SCENIC ROUTE THROUGH DELAWARE PARK

A section of the Scajaquada Expressway should be returned to its former use as a scenic parkway, members of the Delaware Park Steering Committee are urging.

"We all feel it is a very worthwhile project because everybody mourns the day when the Scajaquada Expressway went in," committee member Bette Blum said today.

The proposal, which is being investigated by the state, calls for reconstructing the Scajaquada where it passes through Delaware Park from Parkside Avenue to Grant Street.

The current metal barricade that divides the four-lane expressway would be replaced by a landscaped median and a wooden barricade. The speed limit, currently 50 mph, would be reduced -- possibly to 35 mph.

The road would be redesignated as an arterial street. Supporters say that would allow the entrance and exit ramps to be returned to their original reconfiguration and allow additions to the park.

Ms. Blum said the idea came out of discussions at a steering committee meeting last month. The group was discussing ways to reduce traffic problems within the park and the subject of the expressway came up.

The road originally was a part of Delaware Park and was converted into a high-speed expressway in 1962. Critics say it divides the park in half, ruins its tranquility and makes access between the sections difficult.

The plan has the support of Delaware Council Member Alfred T. Coppola and State Assemblyman William B. Hoyt. Ms. Blum, who works for Hoyt, said supporters don't expect to get a favorable response from the New York state Department of Transportation.

"I expect we'll immediately hear from the bureaucrats why it can't happen," she said. "But then we'll have to chip away."

In other matters, the park committee expressed disappointment the city has not moved forward with its plan to close a portion of the ring road in Delaware Park. Acting Parks Commissioner Stanley A. Buczkowski announced the plan in May.

Members said they will bring a survey to Buczkowski showing that people overwhelmingly support the closing. They will also encourage a letter-writing campaign. Buczkowski could not be reached for comment.

The committee also said they are willing to work with St. George Orthodox Catholic Church about the church's plans to build a rectory on land it owns adjacent to Delaware Park.

Committee members have been invited to meet Monday with the architect at the site. For years, many people considered it a part of the park and were surprised when they learned the triangular-shaped lot on Nottingham Terrace near Amherst Street is owned by the church.

There are concerns that a two-story brick and cedar house will intrude on the park.

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