Buffalo's O'Neill: Let's keep waterfront route at grade level

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Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper's Julie O'Neill wrote a passionate opinion piece in the Buffalo News, "Let's keep waterfront route at grade level", recognizing the important decision facing the Buffalo community and calling for the removal of barriers to economic development.

Here are some excerpts:

"Our glorious City by the Lake has an incredible — and incredibly rare — opportunity to do something magnificent."

"We are tantalizingly close to shedding the Route 5 collar that has choked off our relationship with our waterfront for generations. Former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist, a well-known proponent of new urbanism, endorses this move, as do key Common Council Members David Franczyk and Mickey Kearns. Dozens of environmental, economic development, historic preservation and recreation groups support it.

They back it because removing Route 5 has been a business community priority for 25 years. With the removal of the Ogden Street tolls on the Thruway, Route 5 is not as crucial a commuter route, and a boulevard would only slow slightly the flow for those who want to use it. An at-grade Route 5 leading to the Skyway will make removing the Skyway — the ultimate wall — more likely. A four-lane, at-grade boulevard along the outer harbor will dramatically increase access for all people."

"We are so close to taking a first step into a bold and glorious future. We can do this, Buffalo. We can do it with the help of state bulldozers or with our own shovels and buckets, if need be. But we have to decide that we’ve had enough of walls. I’ve had enough. How about you?"

Read the full opinion here.


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