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The Future of Buffalo Area Highways

Author: Kevin Y.

For a while now, there has been discussion regarding traffic congestion on local expressways in metropolitan Buffalo.  I would like to share some ideas on this issue.

Traffic circle at the current interchange of 33, 198, and Delavan Avenue

First, Route 33 needs to become a boulevard west of I-90 as well, blending in with and extending Humboldt Parkway and Maryvale Drive. Humboldt Parkway would then be converted to a boulevard and extended to Elm, Oak, and Virginia streets, absorbing Cherry Street and BNFC Drive.  

Agassiz Circle was once the grand entryway into Delaware Park – it has been ruined by the Scajaquada Expressway.

There should then be a traffic circle at the current interchange of 33, 198, and Delavan Avenue with the part of 33 from there to the Thruway to become “Maryvale Boulevard” and absorb the existing Maryvale Drive.  The Scajaquada (198) should then be a parkway and Agassiz Circle should be restored.

The eastern end of the Route 33 expressway, meanwhile, needs to be extended to the Thruway in northwestern Lancaster, with the current Thruway right-of-way done away with between there and its current interchange with Interstate 290.  This would eliminate the bottlenecks at the Thruway’s current interchanges with I-290 and Route 33.  The New York State Thruway Authority also needs to be abolished.  If that does not happen, then the eastern Toll Plaza should be moved to the Ransom Road overpass and the southern plaza moved beyond the Mile Strip Road exit.  Interstate 290 should also begin at the current interchange between I-90 and Route 33 with the Cleveland Drive interchange converted to a two-way diamond one.

U.S. 219 between Springville and Salamanca

Furthermore, the construction of an expressway U.S. 219 between Springville and Salamanca to connect the existing expressway portions already north of the former and south of the latter are critical and will be beneficial and should not be made into an expressway anywhere south of Salamanca where it is not already so.  However, this must be done right and “green” in terms of both environment and cost efficient to taxpayers in order to be beneficial.  Also, Route 400 should be extended to Interstate 86 at Hinsdale and should also be “green” and inexpensive in the same manner.  Both this and U.S. 219 should be rerouted to connect to each other and to Interstate 190 and the New York State Thruway at the same interchange.  The extended Route 400 and portion of I-190 from the Thruway to downtown should then take on the designation of either “Interstate 186”. 

Interstate 190 should be rerouted between Canalside and the Tonawanda town line along the former railroad right-of-way.

As well, Interstate 190 should be rerouted between Canalside and the Tonawanda town line along the former railroad right-of-way. The new expanded U.S. plaza of the Peace Bridge and possible three-lane second span of the Peace Bridge should be built NORTH of the existing span, not south of it, as well as another new bridge between Black Rock and Bridgeburg alongside the International Railroad Bridge from the end of a slightly-rerouted Route 198, which should also be converted to a parkway.  Both this and the Peace Bridge should become restricted to non-commercial vehicles-only, while there should also be a new bridge from the western end of Sheridan Drive for all vehicles, as well as a new ferry for all vehicles on the route of the former Canadiana.  Freight could also be transported by trains either through Black Rock or Niagara Falls. The Peace Bridge Authority and Niagara Falls Bridge Commission need to be merged into one authority to operate all crossings over the Niagara River.

The Peace Bridge

Moreover, the entirety of Route 5 south of downtown should be a parkway or boulevard, without an expressway, including the elimination of the Skyway and replacing it with an at-grade bridge or drawbridge.  This should then split into Main and Pearl streets and Elmwood and Delaware avenues, eliminating the Upper and Lower Terrace designations.

Written by BRO Reader Submission

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  • Wise Profit

    “Also, Route 400 should be extended to Interstate 86 at Hinsdale and should also be “green” and inexpensive in the same manner.”

    You must live close by because nobody in their right mind would ever propose such an egregious waste of human resources unless it benefitted them personally.

  • greenca

    Is “Kevin Y” the new moniker for “Matt R?” Because most of these ideas range from not feasible to ridiculous.

    • Tim H

      Was thinking the same…

    • Marc Rebmann

      why does Buffalo Rising keep publishing this crackpot? shame on this website.

      • greenca

        Probably for webpage views and the ad revenue that comes from those.

      • PaulBuffalo

        @marcrebmann:disqus, @greenca:disqus,
        I will, for the first time, defend Matt R and conclude that this article cannot be his work. His ego would never let him post under a pseudonym. Besides, where are the great Matt mock-ups we’ve all come to appreciate for their sheer outlandishness? Matt is an auteur; Kevin is an amateur.

        • Marc Rebmann

          Oh, this isn’t Matt Richizzi. It’s the anti semetic troll that has used dozens of names over the last 10 years on here.

          • PaulBuffalo

            @marcrebmann:disqus, perhaps. If so, ChristieLou finally sought the aid of an adult to help him with spelling and punctuation. It’s not the real help he so desperately requires but it’s something.

        • Matthew Ricchiazzi

          Buffalo Rising isn’t the same without my pizazz

    • Bringing back Buffalo

      I thought the exact same thing when reading it.

    • Hamlin Park Rugger

      Not to mention very poorly written to the point of being unreadable. How about some proofreading…?

    • Randy503

      I’ve seen word salads before, but never a highway salad. This is a first.

    • Mr. B

      Is “Kevin Y” the new moniker for “Matt R?”

      I was thinking it was either him or Paulsobo/ChristieLou/Doug Wallis/etc.

      .

    • peterjoe

      Kevin is not Matt but a fabulist visionary who has been commenting for years in various quarters.

  • dj_paige

    I’m afraid I don’t even follow the first two paragraphs. How does making Route 33 into a boulevard west of I-90 improve traffic congestion? You don’t explain this in any way, and it would seem to me that this would make traffic congestion worse.

  • Mytwocents

    A long list of changes to be made, with no support, or reasoning as to why the changes should occur. Wow, I know BR is pretty liberal with their choosing of articles to publish, but c’mon. What even is this? Have some respect for yourselves. It’s like they wrote down the rumblings of a mad man who got fired from the transportation department but also has a paving business on the side.

    • dj_paige

      I was thinking the same thing. There’s no logic here, it’s just words that don’t make any sense, nothing is explained, and I don’t see a reason to publish this. My high school English teacher would give this composition an F.

    • Wise Profit

      Yeah they lost me when they said they want to triple the length of Route 400 to connect to a town of 2,168 people according to the 2010 Census. Its laughable considering we have constant articles on the same site being run that say we can remove a highway that serves tens of thousands people daily (198) without issue.

  • BeatHarvard

    What did I just read

  • FreedomCM

    Hah…”The New York State Thruway Authority also needs to be abolished.” How exactly would the road from PA to NYC be maintained? Increased fuel tax? General income tax?

    • runner68

      Probably by just the DOT. My comment isn’t an endorsement of these ridiculous proposals though.

    • Sue2525

      Probably real estate taxes (property/school)…so Grandma, who never drives on the Thruway would have an increase in taxes. The fact that tolls are a “user” fee is an appropriate way to run the Thruway.

  • FreedomCM

    “The eastern end of the Route 33 expressway, meanwhile, needs to be extended to the Thruway in northwestern Lancaster, with the current Thruway right-of-way done away with between there and its current interchange with Interstate 290. This would eliminate the bottlenecks at the Thruway’s current interchanges with I-290 and Route 33. ”

    So all of the big-rig through traffic on its way east and west that currently goes through the Amherst toll plaza section would be re-routed onto the “new, improved” 33 expressway????

    • Yeah, I’d build the extension but I wouldn’t get rid of the part he’s talking about!

      Essentially it would be a Y junction…no pun intended.

  • WNYer

    This would cost tens of billions – do you breathe oxygen???

    • Dan

      As incoherent as this piece was, the cost of tens of billions is not a major factor. The cost of planning, designing, building, and maintaining these highways has far exceeded tens of billions of dollars in Buffalo alone. We have spent trillions of dollars nationwide since the 40’s on our highways – no exaggeration. Clearly we’re OK with spending this kind of money on highway infrastructure.

      • But we also spend trillions on fighter jet programs and military bases that are essentially outposts. So I guess it depends on what the country sees as a priority As well.

      • Wise Profit

        The cost was not a major factor then because we were the supreme economic powerhouse of the world. That is changing. Its the same reason pensions were so prevalent then. Our economy was making money so fast it could afford to pay someone 75% of their salary in perpetuity without contributing a dime. That’s not the case now. We just got 1 single billion and it was a huge deal. Where’s the 10 billion going to come from?

  • kfy321

    An Interstate 186, by extending Route 400 to I-86 at Hinsdale would stop trucks from using Route 16 and Route 63 between Batavia and Mount Morris, causing deadly accidents, and likely cheaper than a new expressway between Batavia and Mount Morris that would also likely go through Warsaw and Wyoming.

  • Dan

    It’s good to discuss alternatives to how our currently over-engineered and insanely expensive highway network is arranged, but I have to agree with the bulk of these comments. This post from Kevin Y is not constructive. It is a listing rant from someone firmly on the spectrum and does not speak well for the quality control at BR. You can do better than this.

  • grovercleveland

    I award you no points and may god have mercy on your soul

  • BuffaloGals

    And I need a toilet made out of pure gold but its just not in the cards, baby.

  • PaulBuffalo

    In keeping with this new direction of BR articles, I will be posting my weekly shopping lists here in paragraph form. I hope you will all find them riveting reading.

  • Mr. B

    “First, Route 33 needs to become a boulevard west of I-90 as well”

    Yep — that’ll work wonders for all the traffic going to/from the airport . . .

    .

  • ITakeAcidAndIVote

    I think a simpler solution would be to widen 20A to 4 lanes between the 400 and 390 with a bypass around Warsaw.

  • Bruce Baker

    Why would you replace the skyway with a draw bridge ?

  • kfy321

    Routes 33 and 198 being converted to boulevards west of I-90 will be beneficial, of Humboldt Parkway being converted to a boulevard from a restored Agassiz Circle to Elm, Oak, and Virginia streets, extended from Humboldt’s current end at Best Street and absorbing Cherry Street and BNFC Drive. Traffic congestion should be alleviated by a new MetroRail line from downtown to Central Terminal, B-N Airport, Depew, and Lancaster. The need for the Skyway and Route 5 superhighway south of there parallel to Fuhrmann Boulevard should be eliminated by extending MetroRail from Canalside to the Southtown, perhaps in two branches, one directly south along the lake and one southeast.

    Ever notice the bottleneck at the 90-290-33 interchange? One must cross I-90 lanes from right to left to go from 33 to the Williamsville toll barrier without getting on 290. Likewise, it is hard to travel west on I-90 from such toll barrier to get on 33 westbound, having to cross the traffic coming from the end of 290 to either 90 westbound of 33 westbound.

  • peterjoe

    Kevin is not Matt R but a fabulist visionary who has been commenting for years in various quarters. Get up to speed.

  • Matthew Ricchiazzi

    Is this asshole mocking me? Because, if so, it is both funny and well and executed.

  • Elizabeth Giles

    At the heart of the problem with these plans is that they assume a car-centric future – even if the proposed boulevards would presumably share with alternative modes.

    What we ought to be investing in for the long-term are infrastructure projects that enable people to travel car-free (for the sake of personal budgets as well as the planet’s future). We should strive to wean ourselves off automobile dependence rather than building new roads.

    I stopped reading at the part that suggested re-routing the Interstate190 on the railroad right-of-way along the Niagara River – railroad right-of-way that we will need to revive commuter rail along the Belt Line and/or between Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

  • bufguy

    Maybe we can get the Mexicans to pay for it