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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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