Turning 198 into parkway will help revitalize Buffalo
I’m disheartened to hear Mayor Byron Brown’s plans to recommend increased speed limits on Route 198, west of Delaware Park. First, given the current lack of congestion and the minuscule amount of time this would save on commutes, there’s no benefit.
Second, the expressway disfigures an important historical district and is hampering an ongoing community revitalization. After Buffalo secured the Erie Canal’s terminus, the community of Black Rock migrated north to the foot of Amherst Street for the water power provided by Black Rock Lock. This era’s development is still visible in the federal-style architecture at the foot of Amherst Street. Development was further spurred by the construction of the Buffalo and Black Rock Railroad in 1833, much of which now hosts a burgeoning industrial artist colony.
These areas would be better served by a parkway-like road with safe speed limits. Such a road can accommodate commercial traffic serving existing businesses, while also allowing for future commercial and residential growth. An expressway can’t do that. If the city is going to continue its resurgence, we have to support every neighborhood. Each community has its own history, people and ability to make unique contributions to the city’s revival. Expressways put chokeholds on that.
I strongly support a lowered speed limit on the entire length of Route 198 and its complete conversion to a parkway through the Olmsted parkland and a parkway-like road that accommodates commercial traffic on the rest.