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Letter: Marring Olmsted gem is a terrible mistake

Marring Olmsted gem is a terrible mistake

I’d like to start this letter by emphasizing that I am not originally from Buffalo. Instead, I hail from the land of communities destroyed by highway construction – Long Island. Just as Buffalonians have surmised in recent years, we Long Islanders have long been skeptical of unmitigated freeway access since the roads first began to multiply in earnest, leaving the landscape ravaged by an asphalt Krakatoa.

This leads me to Rod Watson’s commentary, and how it so badly misses the mark. For those familiar with Frederick Law Olmsted’s most famous achievement (Central Park), seeing his eldest child essentially cut in half is akin to seeing the Mona Lisa with a mustache.

Route 198 has been, and always will be, an interloper in what should be (but isn’t) the finest piece of parkland between New York and the North Pole.

Watson’s skepticism seems to hinge around the idea that Route 198 is the only road that runs east to west in Buffalo, which plainly isn’t the case. Any and all traffic that’s funneled through the park could easily be swallowed by new traffic patterns on Hertel Avenue, Amherst Street, Ferry Street and Forest Avenue. This might not be breakneck travel, but cars will get where they need to be.

Rather conveniently, these are all thoroughfares that don’t bisect a 19th-century American treasure.

In summation, Watson should be forced to cross four lanes of traffic barefoot the next time he opens his mouth about driving 50 mph through a park.

Matt Keller


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