City leaders need to reject divide-and-conquer agenda
Public opposition to Route 198 dates as far back as 1935. Buffalo’s population then was nearly 600,000. Today, it is barely 250,000. The ongoing controversy behind Route 198 alludes to poor transportation policy in Western New York. The State Department of Transportation has failed to accept stakeholder needs in the long-awaited plan to reconfigure this road. The parks and neighborhoods directly affected by our expressways have been shortchanged for decades, all for a “level of service” that conceals its apparent lack of insight.
Contrary to the DOT’s philosophy, human intellect can adapt to new traffic patterns. Route 198’s new 30 mph speed limit is a starting point compared to San Francisco’s Embarcadero, Milwaukee’s Park East and Portland’s Harbor Drive, similar projects in cities with twice or thrice Buffalo’s current residential and traffic capacity. Unlike what resulted from our expressways, no one will lose their homes or see property values plummet from a reconfigured Route 198.
Western New York is a desolate region starving for innovation. Unfortunately, our current transportation policy is a proxy for local segregation; a divide-and-conquer agenda that allows suburban sprawl to dictate the fate of inner-city neighborhoods.
The Scajaquada Corridor Coalition was born from the realization that we can no longer allow the special interests of Amherst, Cheektowaga and Orchard Park to determine the future for Delaware Park, Black Rock, Parkside and Hamlin Park.
We need city leadership to help us put an end to a culture of discrimination.
Bradley J. Bethel Jr.