Expensive Mistakes

One advantage we have in Kingston is that we have delayed building the Wellington Street Extension, though it’s been talked about for years. Hadley Yates, a planner who frequently visits Kingston, made this graphic. She points out that Niagara Falls, NY is planning to spend at least $33 million to remove a two-mile stretch of “parkway” that residents have to cross to access nature trails and waterfront. And she asks:draft 4 expensive mistakesFrom the Buffalo News, here’s more on the situation in Niagara Falls, NY:

the two-mile stretch along the heart of the gorge – where residents have to hop fences, scale embankments and walk across four lanes of concrete expressway to access nature trails – will be gone in three to four years, officials say. In its place will be native plantings and a multi-use nature trail that could feature hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and even zip-lining, all of which will be accessible from city streets for the first time in more than 50 years.

The story goes on:

Mayor Paul Dyster said, “I don’t think there’s anything that could be more impactful to the revitalization of downtown and the city’s North End business district than dealing with the Robert Moses Parkway. We’ve been dealing with this for some time, and we’re anxious to see some action.”
The highway, which stretches along the city’s waterfront, was built by Moses, the state’s “master builder,” in the 1960s as a supplement to the Niagara Power Project. The road provided unparalleled views of the Niagara Gorge to motorists but cut off generations of city residents from the waterfront and diverted traffic outside of the central business districts of Niagara Falls.
State officials have considered the removal of Moses’ masterwork for years – with no success – before agreeing a few years ago to work with the state’s USA Niagara Development Corp. and city officials to facilitate a concrete plan. Officials say the plan unveiled Wednesday reflects hundreds of public comments on the matter.
The move would connect city streets – currently walled off by fences and guardrails – to the breathtaking but largely untapped asset that is the gorge, raising property values and potentially saving neighborhoods that are slipping into decay.

It may seem a bit hyperbolic to compare the Great Cataraqui River with Niagara Falls and the Wellington Street Extension to the Robert Moses “Parkway.” But all roads along waterfronts are part of the same costly and outdated philosophy. We may not be one of the seven wonders of the world here in Kingston, but we have a chance and responsibility to look after our own little part of the planet.

— Laura Murray

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