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Letter: Boulevard would benefit from bipartisan planning

Boulevard would benefit from bipartisan planning

Niagara Falls Boulevard is like the weather – everyone talks about it, and more than a few use it, but no one ever does anything about it. You have to understand the geopolitical lay of the land. First, it’s a border road, dividing the towns of Amherst and Tonawanda, so each has part, but not all, of its jurisdiction. Tonawanda orients toward its “capital,” which is the Village of Kenmore, far to the west; Amherst orients to its “capital,” the Village of Williamsville, far to the east. As a result, this state highway sits in the furthest geopolitical orbit to the concentration, historically, of each town’s government and power base. So out of sight, out of mind.

Both sides are commercial gold mines, but the venerable boulevard deserves better – a joint planning commission at that. A rational alternative for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s light rail extension would run it up the boulevard, servicing the huge commercial mega plex, with a dogleg over Maple Road to access the University at Buffalo North Campus.

The idea of a joint planning board to involve both towns first surfaced 23 years ago, but no matter, good ideas have a way of reviving themselves. I wholeheartedly endorse Amherst Deputy Supervisor Guy Marlette’s resolution, and I urge its approval. Nothing would be more cooperative than a two-town, bipartisan approach to this issue.

Daniel J. Ward