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WALKING TO THE LAKE WITHOUT TREADING WATER

Believe it or not, Buffalo has no pedestrian access to Lake Erie on the south side of the Buffalo River! For years the Michigan Avenue bridge over the ship canal has been missing with no attempt or desire to replace it. Ohio Street intersects with Lake Shore Road but this is a long dangerous route with no provisions made for pedestrians or bicyclists.

The only direct access to the lake is via Tifft Street. Although there is a rubble-strewn sidewalk and shoulder bike path that ends at the football field on Tifft Street, there is no pedestrian access from there to the lake. The last half mile to the lake is a dangerous and narrow part of Tifft Street, with cars speeding by and absolutely no provisions for the safety of pedestrians.

It is amazing that although this is a vital part of the city, the area remains inaccessible to pedestrians. A pedestrian/bicycle path from the football field on Tifft Street to the lake (about three-quarters of a mile) would make access to this area much easier and safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and roller bladers.

A more ambitious project would be to further extend the bike path along the lake shore past the Small Boat Harbor right up to the Coast Guard station. There is a sad lack of hiking and biking paths in this area of the city. Just compare this neglected area of Buffalo to the beautiful well-maintained parks and paths along the river in the City of Tonawanda.

Bike paths are now very popular and are being built in every area of Western New York except the Southtowns. I believe this project could be vital in eventually interconnecting many miles of safe biking and hiking throughout the city and towns of this area.

DONALD L. HAMILTON
Buffalo

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