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Letter: Watson missed mark in Scajaquada column

Watson missed mark in Scajaquada column

Rod Watson’s July 9 column predicted that coming meetings about the future of the Scajaquada Expressway would be dominated by Parkside residents, Grant Street merchants and Olmsted groupies. I invite Watson to consider becoming an Olmsted groupie.

Frederick Law Olmsted, like Watson, was a journalist. His writings for the New York Times were instrumental in making his readers aware of the horrors of slavery and are to this day considered to be some of the most objective writings on the subject of the antebellum South.

Watson’s columns often contain the same objectivity, looking at issues of race and class and making readers aware of issues we are too busy to see in our daily lives. His July 9 column was an exception.

Roads are great if you drive; the Census Bureau, however, tells us that 30 percent of Buffalo households do not have cars. Many of the residents who live on those ends of the Scajaquada Watson proposes speeding up compose this population. Unlike an expressway they can never use, they would benefit from a diminished expressway with less traffic running through their neighborhoods, fewer toxic fumes and additional parkland, with the potential to link neighborhoods and offer space for physical activity.

Olmsted, through the parks he designed throughout the United States and Canada, advocated for built environment improvements to provide enjoyment to those most challenged by the structure of race and class during his day. I invite Watson to consider doing the same as a journalist.

Nathan Attard