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Letter: News editorial on rail trail is short on research, facts

The award-winning Buffalo News editorial board has been nationally recognized for extensive research and fact checking to create well thought out analysis followed by intelligent, well-argued opinions.

Such was clearly not the case in the editorial opinion concerning the proposed southern Erie County rail trail specifically relating to the Orchard Park section. The “Unwarranted worries” opinion piece was largely argued from and specifically and repeatedly cited the website of trail proponents via the Erie County Rail Trail website. Had the editorial board done more analytic research, the indisputable facts that follow would have led to a far different conclusion:

• Unlike the bucolic and idyllic image cited of people engaging the proposed trail in “healthy recreational activities while enjoying nature and hopefully stopping into local mom and pop businesses along the way,” this proposed trail is nothing more than a straight line, unregulated raceway for snowmobiles through three suburban neighborhoods.

• Less than 5 miles and 10 minutes from the proposed trail is our crown jewel Chestnut Ridge Park providing over 1100 acres of trails with full summer and winter recreational activities (including snowmobiling).

• This trail directly traverses one of the most heavily traveled and dangerous intersections in Orchard Park at Jewett-Holmwood, Freeman and South Freeman Roads.

• Three large, new home sub-divisions have grown around this proposed trail – 30 new homes since 2008 alone. The area is virtually landlocked providing for no access points other than through the neighborhood home lots themselves.

The editorial admonition that neighbors “step out of their own homes along the trail and get to know each other better” is both condescending and insulting. We know and respect each other well and will ignore the “Don’t worry – be happy” directive as we oppose this assault to our property rights. Not every rail should become a trail.

Gary and Karen Doster

Orchard Park

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