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Letter: Humboldt Parkway should be restored

Humboldt Parkway should be restored

Buffalo made two monumental mistakes when it allowed expressways to slice up Delaware Park and to eliminate Humboldt Parkway, one of Frederick Law Olmsted’s beautiful parkways. Those expressways never should have been built.

Fortunately, the Scajaquada Expressway will soon be demoted to a pleasant parkway (at least that is the plan; we need to watch the Department of Transportation carefully to ensure that it carries this plan out).

Now the state is sponsoring a study to cover Route 33 on the East Side. Covering Route 33 will enshrine that expressway for the next 50 to 100 years. This cannot be. Humboldt Parkway must be fully restored and that expressway should be eliminated. While I sympathize with commuters who fear long commute times, their concerns must not be remedied at the expense of one of Olmsted’s masterpieces and at the expense of an East Side neighborhood that is just now seeing tiny sprouts of life in the form of investment.

Buffalo’s streets were constructed for over half a million people; they can handle the traffic. Genesee Street is empty, even during rush hour. If its stoplights were timed, the commute to the airport would not take much longer than taking Route 33. In addition, traffic on Genesee will promote businesses to cater to that traffic and bring more life to the East Side.

Other cities have done this. The old, timid, un-self-respecting Buffalo would never attempt this. But this is the new Buffalo. Let’s be bold. Let’s shout to the world that we are progressive. The positive press alone might be worth the expense. If Humboldt Parkway is restored to its former beauty, Buffalo will explode with optimism and growth. We can do it!

Steve Lakomy, M.D.