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Diplomacy and the NYSDOT

Author: Stephanie Crockatt, Executive Director – Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

We’re hitting the ceiling of the technological debate… this may now be up to political will.

I want to thank Buffalo Rising for being the only publication in Buffalo to cover the 198 Scajaquada expressway issue. Their writers and submissions have been provocative and informative. I have read passionate articles of differing opinion and strings of curious dialogue. There are, as always, a few facts which need clarification.

As we close in on December 18th, the final point of public comment on this proposed project, I feel it’s time for a “letter to the editor” so to speak. I also hope that this is posted coinciding our 198 Public Forum on December 13th at Burchfield Penney.

Nearly sixty years ago (1959), an expressway was cut through Delaware Park, which had been a symbol of Olmsted’s vision for connectivity and community pride for roughly 90 years (since 1868). There has always been a road of sorts here, it served carriages, horses, pedestrians, bikes, and it provided safe access from the lake to the meadow – or rather from the Albright Knox to the Zoo, if you want to consider those physical places.

For the last 20 years (one-third of the life of this expressway), the community and NYSDOT have been discussing what to do to fix it. An on-again, off-again dialogue with plans, studies, designs, and numerous meetings has rendered transportation infrastructure alternatives to a massive and real-time urban planning challenge. Today, the public is not only tired of the topic, they are frustrated, confused, outraged, and fatigued. Fingers are pointed, complaints are logged, petitions signed – and we need a better solution.

I have read and heard the differing opinions, and I have only the following thoughts to share, purely from the view of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

First, the Conservancy has been involved in this dialogue since the start, long before the speed was reduced to 30 mph – in fact we were told by NYSDOT the speed could never be lowered due to traffic modeling. Yet Governor Cuomo called for that reduction, and he called for the roadway to be redesigned with historic integrity and world-class innovation. He asked DOT for 18 years of debate to be funneled into a 2-year fix.

Those who are obsessed with the speed limit need to realize that it isn’t going to change. You are agreeably driving on a frustrating track of concrete designed for 55 mph yet required to go much slower. Without doubt it doesn’t feel right or look right, and in that vein it seems ludicrous. But this roadway IS going remain 30 mph, and it can either be redesigned properly to achieve our urban needs, or it can continue to be a frustrating corridor of visual signals and unsafe congestion.

People ask “what is SaveDelawarePark? The park isn’t in danger.” But it is. 60 years ago the park was lacerated by this expressway, and today there are those who want to perpetuate the atrocity, as if that’s ok just to save on a 3-minute commute.

The Olmsted Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit. We aren’t a government agency, we don’t own the park, we don’t maintain the 198 (state route), but we do have a mission to preserve, promote, restore, enhance and maintain the Olmsted legacy. These historic and award-winning parks have no voice, so we are their voice. They have existed for 150 years and will be celebrated in 2018 with national attention. For years the parks sat in disarray, but we came to their aid and for the last 14 years have actively cleaned, maintained, and raised funding to improve them. We are invested, and so are you.

In 2008 the Conservancy published, to national acclaim, a master plan which identified over 350 major projects for the park system, citing over $428 million in cost. It has been our directive to proactively engage and fulfill those projects – projects which were vetted by the pubic for nearly a decade – in order to make Buffalo beautiful and proud again.

One of those main projects has been to reconnect Delaware Park, and remedy the divide. To say we are being selfish or narrow minded or taking advantage of a situation, is outrageous. We have been following our mission to remedy this historic tragedy longer than many who voice their opinions on social media have even lived in or near Buffalo.

So let me ask you, do you want Niagara Falls Blvd and Sheridan Drive sized intersections at Parkside, Elmwood, and along the junior soccer fields at Delaware Park? Seriously, do you want a 7-lane intersection of toxic exhaust 40 yards from where 4-year olds play soccer? Do you want to experience seven pedestrian-activated, raised pavement, stop and start “hawk lights”? These are the ones that look like railroad crossing signals along Kenmore Avenue.

Do you want wide concrete medians and high curbs which discourage bikes and increase speed, while becoming a maintenance eyesore? The Conservancy won’t be maintaining the road – it never has. Do you want Hoyt Lake and Scajaquada Creek to be polluted more than they are? Do you want to lose 415 trees – 145 of them in the park of substantial age – to look again like the destruction of Humboldt Parkway? Is that what you want in order to satisfy 10 hours of traffic a week? Have we learned nothing?

The Conservancy has a duty to its mission to fight for a better roadway – a better connection for all residents, commuters, our community and cultural institutions. We cannot accept a road which does not repair the fracture of historic and social inequity. We cannot accept a road that only serves cars and not the people. We cannot accept a road that pollutes our environment and isolates our park neighborhoods.

There is going to be a roadway. It is going to be 30 mph. Nowhere else in this City do we have such a massive and illogical intrusion as the one NYSDOT is imposing here, so why should we accept this mistake? Why shouldn’t we save Delaware Park from this doom? Why shouldn’t we rise to the task of telling the NYSDOT that this is our tax dollars, our time, our toil, and our lives they are impacting with their ridiculous and apathetic designs? Why shouldn’t the commuters want better? Why shouldn’t the neighbors deserve better? Why shouldn’t our City demand better? This is a new Buffalo for goodness sake!

Frustration and road rage aside – we’re talking about a historic park road, a school zone of sorts through one of our nation’s first urban parks. The solution is out there if we could just calm down, listen to one another, and make the best of a critical opportunity to right a wrong. We’ve already been debating 20 years, and we won’t have this chance again for another 60 – isn’t it time to come together now with unified strength to benefit everyone? Why is that so hard these days? We have the technology – so let us find the will.

Lead image: The real deal – Scajaquada Corridor Perspective Rendering by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

 

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  • grovercleveland

    “People ask “what is SaveDelawarePark? The park isn’t in danger.” But it is. 60 years ago the park was lacerated by this expressway, and today there are those who want to perpetuate the atrocity, as if that’s ok just to save on a 3-minute commute.”

    Nothing said in this statement or the entire piece indicates any evidence at all that the park is “in danger” the park is widely used and enjoyed. This is just nonsense.

    • Kevin Ryan

      Go back under the rock you came from…troll!

      • SKOTTI

        Any post that has to do with this subject you can bet that grovercleveland will have some sort of post about how we need to save the highway and any other opinion besides that is nonsense. Every time, without fail.

        • Kevin Ryan

          The guy is an idiot. He had a few trolls that follow him…

          • grovercleveland

            How am I a troll? Because I have a different opinion than you?

            The post stated that the park was in danger. No one has told me how the park is in danger.

            The park is great and the road is necessary. Maybe complain about there being 8 posts a week on the subject rather than those commenting. I am hardly the only person who comments often.

          • grovercleveland

            Being unable to have a conversation without name calling is pretty sad.

          • Kevin Ryan

            Typical troll response..

          • Captain Picard

            Anybody who disagrees with Kevin Ryan is either a “troll” or an “idiot.”

          • Kevin Ryan

            Ok. Captain….lol

          • Captain Picard

            Prove me wrong, buddy. Any first-year computer science nerd with ten minutes to spare could write a program exposing you for the no-filter autism-spectrum weirdo that you are.

          • Kevin Ryan

            “No filter autism spectrum whack job that you are.”…lots of big words for you captain….hah! Beam you up Scottie! Lol…what a pathetic Loser ….😀….

        • Mike

          Explain then how exactly the park is in danger SKOTTI. Let’s stay on point. Face it, the whole “save Delaware park” slogan is meant as a fear tactic, clear and simple. It hits people in the gut to force them onto your side. Fear is how you got the speed limit reduction. Fear of another little boy getting killed on the 198 if we didn’t act fast. Now it’s fear over losing the park which just isn’t true.

          But there is true danger to pay attention to, and it’s already happening. Do a study to see how many people enter the park between 4:30 and 6:00 from Parkside vs before the speed limit changes and Parkside reconstruction. Now, you’ve got the 198 traffic going DIRECTLY into the park, feet from joggers, cyclists, mom’s pushing strollers and kids on bikes. I see it every single day. And they aren’t just driving through for a daily stroll with a view. These people are whipping off Parkside in anger. Right or wrong, it IS happening….and for what? Save Delaware Park, my ass!

  • Kevin Ryan

    Great article!

  • Kevin Ryan

    Well written!

    • eagercolin

      Not well written, actually.

  • Kevin Ryan

    Bravo!

  • Can’t be Serious?

    We need more comments from Kevin Ryan.

    • Kevin Ryan

      Ok troll.. here you go…

      • Can’t be Serious?

        Thanks Man, I was getting worried there. I was starting to think you were gonna live us hanging. Can we get an exclamation point next time? Please?

        • Kevin Ryan

          Us??? Just you troll!

          • Can’t be Serious?

            Atta boy! Keep it up!

          • Kevin Ryan

            Hah!.😀

  • Matthew Ricchiazzi
    • Johnny Pizza

      Oh no this one is a gem too. This is the remove all parking from Buff State plan and replace it with all green space with randomly placed straight sidewalks plan. Oh and dig a man made lake too! Icing on the cake!

      • Matthew Ricchiazzi

        The campus would be much more in keeping with the Olmsted style with leafy quadrangles. We can replace the surface lots with a few parking garages (preferably with storefronts at ground level and instructional spaces atop the structures). I would also like to see a large campus green between the Richardson building and Rockwell, serving as a central focal point of campus life. Very achievable.

        • Johnny Pizza

          It would also remove parking for 68% of their students who live off campus or commute unless solved with parking structures which would raise costs for students. Parking garages provide poor financial returns in a low cost of living market and so they would either need charge students about $50-75 a month (minimum) to park and use significant amounts of funds to build them or build dorms for about 6,000 students who currently commute and hope students live on campus (again raising their cost of living) and which again costs a lot of money to build. MASSIVE RISK in an environment with declining enrollments.

  • Matthew Ricchiazzi
    • Johnny Pizza

      Ah yes the good ole’ bandstand next to the bison paddock and no-revenue-for-the-zoo plan. Thank god you posted it. I needed a good laugh, today was rough.

      • Matthew Ricchiazzi

        I contend that the Zoo can achieve greater revenue growth with a new model: eliminate the admission fees and entrance gates while refocusing revenue generation on concessions, vendors, special events, parking, merchandising, and festivals. With higher attendance, it will be easier to attract corporate sponsorships of individual exhibits. Given the current revenue mix, this is very doable. It would certainly be a departure from the current strategy, but quite viable.

        • Cvepo

          Jesus flipping Christ you hefty bag full of cole slaw. Please read up on zoos. Free admission is not how zoos work. Do you know how expensive just the food alone for animals is? You are so ignorant about this, it’s not even funny

  • Matthew Ricchiazzi
  • Matthew Ricchiazzi
    • Johnny Pizza

      And last but not least, the tunnel the 33 plan. This one is hard to argue with other than the payback for me. The money spent tunneling this would be better spent on anything that can create jobs for unskilled workers and create job training programs like those being done in the Northland Corridor project.

      • Matthew Ricchiazzi

        The most effective economic development spending we can make is on catalytic, high quality urban design. Compelling urban spaces will have a transformative impact on the perception of region in the national consciousness. It will also correct the fiscal economics of the city, which subsists with a structural deficit of nearly $200 million, our leadership now fully beholden to the policy tastes and political interests of Democrat party leadership in Albany.

        • grovercleveland

          I know when I travel, people say to me “Buffalo? Isn’t that the city that has a road from the airport into the city center? I miss Humbolt Parkway”

          Lol, no, its “Buffalo, doesn’t it snow there in July?”

  • nuvaux

    The “new pedestrian land bridge” and detour of the 198, all so that a very few people & their bicycles can have a wide bridge to themselves, would be enormously expensive and is simply not going to happen. You want to build a huge swath of road to the left,, making a double crossing of Delaware, then a sharp right curve under a new very expensive bridge, then another sharp left curve and another right curve back onto the existing right of way – a new set of extra-dangerous S-Curves, all ready to kill somebody every few days, with the extra bonus of running over pedestrians trying to cross at Delaware. What you want would be a disaster. The D.O.T, wants to slow and STOP traffic on the 198 with a signal, allowing cars to turn to & from Delaware; you want to allow cars to speed through on deadly reverse curves, with traffic lights at the bottom of a blind incline – a recipe for weekly disasters. Stop this obtuse nonsense.

    PS – Stephanie Crockatt is not from here, has little experience of living and travelling around WNY, and apparently owns no property in Buffalo. She will be gone from here before this 198 question is resolved.

    • S.Crockatt

      PSS. this article isn’t personal, it’s about the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. This outstanding organization been advocating for and making the parks better since 1978; 40 years, and 90% of the Board’s Trustees are “from here.” As for the intersection at the S-Curves, the DOTs plan call for one there too, and a second one 80 yards up on the 198. Our concept of one intersection follows more of the current pavement adaptively, and returns more parkland while reconnecting the park. There may be other connection concepts to consider, which is why we want to come back to the table with DOT.

    • NorthBuf

      The 60 MPH 198 is history one way or another, just accept it. The Olmsted plan reunites the park and makes it safer and easier for residents to traverse it’s original intended footprint. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy has done an amazing job, I’ve been a lifelong Parkside resident and the park has never looked better.

      • grovercleveland

        Why is it so important for the handful of people who want to walk (and refuse to cross at the pedestrian bridge) to the cemetery or hoyt lake? Why do we need to spend tens and tens of millions of dollars on it?

        • Bradley J. Bethel Jr.

          Because the world doesn’t revolve around you. Deal with it.

          • grovercleveland

            Never claimed it did buddy.

          • Mike

            Ah, but it seems the world also doesn’t revolve around you.

          • Kevin Ryan

            Amen!

        • AH

          Refuse to cross the pedestrian bridge that’s nowhere near the cemetery to get to the cemetery? The pedestrian bridge that’s not ADA compliant, ices over at like 40 degrees, and is rarely cleared of snow? We need more and better crossing points, buddy.

          • grovercleveland

            I meant to demonstrate the huge difference in use, however you raise fair points.

          • whateverr

            These from AH are all things that could and should be easily resolved in a new bridge crossing Delaware, in ways that would slow thousands of car-using people every day by creating a congested intersection Delaware:
            “pedestrian bridge that’s not ADA compliant, ices over at like 40 degrees, and is rarely cleared of snow?”

            This from runner89 would make very good sense:
            “I’d take a simple pedestrian bridge at the Delaware exit, but I guess the neighbors probably wouldn’t go for anything too utilitarian.”

        • Kevin Ryan

          U know nothing.. and I doubt you live near or ever utilize the park…

          • grovercleveland

            I use the park probably 15-20 times a year. I lived within walking distance of it for 4 years. I use the 198 to go spend money on Elmwood, Grant and Niagara Streets, to visit my mother in law (lives off elmwood) and one of my good friends (lives off Delaware). I also use it to visit the history museum and the art gallery.

          • buffalorunner89

            I run to the park several times per week from Lincoln and would love a safer crossing at the Delaware exit by the tennis courts/park bathrooms. I’m always careful, but it’s more stressful than your average road crossing since there’s no light, and people act like the stop sign is optional if no one is coming. I don’t know what people who can’t cross quickly do, and it scares the crap out of me every time I watch a little kid on a bike cross in front of cars. Yes, you can go across the twirly bridge and take the path to the stairs on the park side of the bridge, but you still have to cross an on and off ramp with overgrown vegetation and more cars who aren’t expecting people.

            I use the 198 to commute daily, so I appreciate both sides. Honestly, I’d take a simple pedestrian bridge at the Delaware exit, but I guess the neighbors probably wouldn’t go for anything too utilitarian.

          • eagercolin

            Another super productive comment.

    • WhatRUSmoking

      I promise you this…if the DOT plan goes through, I am going to stop and activate each and every hawk light I come to. The three minutes you lost with the reduced speed limit will be nothing compared to the time you will lose stopping for pedestrians.

      Does anybody actually support the currently proposed DOT plan? We should all be on the same page that their plan is not the answer.

      • grovercleveland

        Sounds like you have a lot of time on your hands.

        • Bradley J. Bethel Jr.

          So do you. You NEVER have anything productive to say here. EVER.

          • grovercleveland

            This notion that people who disagree with you are either “idiots” or “trolls” or “never have anything productive to say” is very prevalent in this discussion.

            It speaks to deep immaturity and the inability to have a mature conversation.

            The opinion that the road should be removed is valid. I happen to disagree with it. I think it is expensive and unnecessary for what I view to be aesthetic reasons.

            I clearly view the movement of people and goods in a modern economy differently than you do.

            Do you I think you are stupid? no. Do I think your opinions worthless? No.

            Do I think you have some type of idealistic goal of removing cars from the road that drives this issue for you and causes you to search for other reasons for justification? Yes.

            Do you I blame you for that? No

            Do I disagree with you? Yes.

            Have a nice day.

          • eagercolin

            This is a tremendously productive comment.

          • Bradley J. Bethel Jr.

            So is your spamming in the past several Scajaquada threads.

          • eagercolin

            Yes, it’s a shame that a few jokes should interrupt serious and important discussions like “Making the park more bucolic (but not as bucolic as I’d like) is the same as slavery” and “Roads: worse than Hitler?”

          • Kevin Ryan

            Grovercleveland trolls this blog to plant his seeds of no common sense…

        • grovercleveland

          to be clear my “a lot of time on your hands” is in regards to sitting around activating hawk lights, not commenting on the internets

    • Bradley J. Bethel Jr.

      “Stephanie Crockatt is not from here, has little experience of living
      and travelling around WNY, and apparently owns no property in Buffalo.
      She will be gone from here before this 198 question is resolved.”

      A lot of people who “aren’t from here” have more common sense on this issue than those who have lived here all their lives.

      Figures that when you can’t come up with a real argument, you’d resort to hillbilly logic.

      • Johnny Pizza

        Where I have at times found some common ground with you, this comment shows you are a hypocritical bigot. Very disappointing.

  • eagercolin

    “We cannot accept a road which does not repair the fracture of historic and social inequity.”

    Roads can’t do this.

    “We cannot accept a road that only serves cars and not the people.”

    There’s not a road on earth that serves cars. They all serve people. There are people in all those cars.

    “We cannot accept a road that pollutes our environment”

    All roads pollute the environment.

    • grovercleveland

      You sir are a “troll” an “idiot” and NEVER have anything productive to say here. EVER”

      Just kidding, of course everything you said is correct.

  • eagercolin

    The DOT closed bethlehem Steel.

  • eagercolin

    The DOT shot McKinley.

  • eagercolin

    The DOT shoved that guy who fell from the observation deck at City Hall.

    • Kevin Ryan

      Wow… Are you and groovy Grover a couple?

  • eagercolin

    The DOT framed Byron Brown’s kid for shoplifting.

  • eagercolin

    The DOT closed the Courier Express.

  • eagercolin

    The DOT is a big fan of the late period Goo Goo Dolls.

  • eagercolin

    The DOT killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

  • eagercolin

    The DOT hurt Bob Lanier’s knee in 1970.

  • EQ

    Facts:
    – The speed is not going to be increased from 30 mph
    – The road is currently designed to be driven on at 50+ mph, which encourages speeding
    – In rush hour, on average, taking the 198 instead of Delaware Ave to Pearl and Huron, from North Buffalo, saves 3-4 min.
    – We have money and resources already allocated to redesign the 198
    – 70,000 cars use the 198 daily
    – Without the 198 there is large gap in the street grid get around the park
    My Opinion:
    Based upon all the facts, all the opinions I have read, and my own personal thoughts I believe that the Olmsted design is a great fit and a good comprise that keeps traffic moving through the park while ensuring the park feels more untied.
    There needs to be a road through the park, otherwise, a driver would have to go all the way to either Nottingham or Delavan to get from Elmwood to Main St. However, there is no reason that it should create such a divide for the users of the park. Yes, there are places to cross, and yes they do get the users across the 198. Taking human perception out of the equation, it shouldn’t be an issue. BUT, taking the way people feel out of the equation is just not realistic. The 198 creates a huge mental barrier.
    The road needs to be right sized to accomplish the goal of 30 mph traffic. Personally if we are going to spend the money, which has been allocated and will get spent on the 198, I want the DOT encourage people to want to be able to walk between the two sections of the park, and improve to link of the park. It is my understanding that Olmsted was fan of sunken roads to move traffic through parks (look at central park in NYC). If have money available, which we should take advantage of it. Yes, I completely agree if we could reallocate it to job creations, that would be fantastic, but I have a feeling that is not how that works. So, why not create something that will keep traffic moving at the now required 30 mph, while “tearing down” the mental barrier that keeps the park separated.
    I am not an expert in public planning. I do, however, use both 198 and the park regularly; live in North Buffalo; and pay City and State taxes. I believe that Olmstead plan is good use of the allocated resources. Ideally, I would like to see the 198 tunneled, but that is just a pipe dream that is unaffordable at this time.

  • Mike

    This “letter to the editor” unfortunately sounds like more of the same. It discusses the history of Buffalo before there were modern day cars. Yes, back then, the 198 served the purposes generally for those visiting the park. But folks cannot pretend that modern day use of the 198 is now generally for commuters. There is shamefully a heavy handed use of fear tactics in this letter as well. It’s warned that if we aren’t careful, the 198 is going to turn into a 7-lane highway. The Lorax also explains how all the trees will be chopped down if we take our focus off the ball.

    This letter recognizes pedestrians, cyclists, and the like, as people, but fails to recognize commuters behind the wheel of all those cars. It seems clear that to the author, commuters are not people. At least, not people who’s opinion really matters.

    The speed limit can in fact be reinstated to 50 mph. It’s not likely, but it could happen just as easily as it went down to 30 mph. Although, for that to happen, people would have to monopolize on another horrible accident to get the job done, as was done with the death of that child. This letter describes that the road in current state is not safe due to traffic congestion. All we needed were barriers, but it was decided instead to pounce on that death and use it as an advantage to feed off knee-jerk reactions.

    When folks like the author address the misuse of the park for playing golf, we can talk about the 198 being intrusive. Until then, I, along with many others who use the road for commuting off the 33 in a safe and efficient manor will continue to fight the good fight to keep it that way. You’ve taken a bit of that efficiency away with the speed reduction, but people like me will work to block you from taking any more.

    The author indicates that we “need a better solution” for everyone? Further restricting a roadway utilized by thousands of commuters every single day isn’t going to be a solution for everyone. Here is my proposal. What would you say to returning the speed to 50 mph between the 33 and Parkside Ave and between the 190 and Grant Street (Monday – Friday)? These sections of the 198 are not (really) a part of Delaware Park. Then the remaining part of the 198 can be rebuilt to “beautify” the strip which cuts through the park, still leaving it open for commuters but at the 30 mph limit. During Saturday and Sunday the whole road could be 30 mph (when more people are frequenting the park). I’m talking about real compromise here.

    • grovercleveland

      Mike, I think this is a great response, even if I disagree with your weekday/weekend. My thought is, making Parkside to Elmwood 40 MPH.

    • Paul Joseph

      Chopping up the speed limits for different sections will only encourage speeders.

    • Bradley J. Bethel Jr.

      “You’ve taken a bit of that efficiency away with the speed reduction, but
      people like me will work to block you from taking any more.”

      This alone nullifies your call for “real compromise”, since you’ve been putting on the Chicken Little act from what little change that has ever been made.

      • Mike

        No, your statement right here indicates what you consider to be compromise, a reduction in efficiency. My statement describes bluntly that I am going to work hard to prevent you from taking any more efficiency out of the 198. There is compromise to be had, where your side gets safe/easy access to both sides of the park, you get your pretty little bike path with flowers and all, AND we keep the 198 as an efficient road for commuters. But, you make it clear that there is no compromise which allows for an efficient 198 for commuters. There in lies the problem. You don’t want “real compromise”.

        • Bradley J. Bethel Jr.

          There is compromise to be had, which Olmsted has provided their own visual of since July. But you have been hysterical just from the speed reduction alone, which indicates YOU are not interested in compromise at all. All that matters in your twisted world is your “commuter efficiency”, which is why you want to double down on your pathetic defense by bumping the speed limit back up to 50 mph.

          But keep pretending that the sky is falling. We’re all looking forward to your new career as an obstructionist.

  • Tom Wood

    70,000 people use the road 5 days a week all year round. Why should the motorist be made to compromise?

    A few years ago, there was a snowstorm that shut down the Scajaquada during the morning commute. If you depend on the Scajaquada for commuting or live in the Parkside / North Buffalo area, I am sure you will remember this morning. It took hours to travel several blocks; North Buffalo was in pure gridlock.

    Reducing the capacity of the road is not the answer. The traffic will not disappear.

    • Dylan Burns

      This is the concept of induced demand at play. Drivers use the road because it is there. Adding more lanes does not automatically reduce traffic, just like removing lanes does not automatically increase it.

      Read up:
      https://www.wired.com/2014/06/wuwt-traffic-induced-demand/

      • Can’t be Serious?

        I guess you didn’t drive down Parkside towards the 198 last Friday morning. If you had, you’d know how wrong your comment is.

        • Disqusminiscus

          Honestly while there was construction going on 198 was a pain but its really not made that much worse since the restriction to 1 lane happened by the park and in fact the dedicated middle lane helped alleviate traffic from left turners.

          • Mike

            You must be staring at your phone while driving down Parkside because I see a totally different setting. First off, it is backed up all the way back to the 198 off-ramp every single evening at rush hour. Second, people are doing illegal u-turns and zipping off into side streets just to get away from the bumper-bumper shit show that exists since they reconstructed it. I’ll admit, it’s not bad in the AM, but the evening is horrible.

    • Mike

      “The traffic will not disappear”. This is a good comment because it is exactly what they want. But instead, what HAS been happening, even with the minor changes like the reduced speed limit is that traffic is spilling dangerously into neighboring side streets where schools, churches and people are as well as ironically into Delaware Park itself! I don’t know how many times, I drive down Parkside Ave to see people turning left at high rates of speed to get some relief from the traffic on Parkside since the speed limit changes on the 198. And I even see people doing illegal U-turns on Parkside to enter even sooner. Yes, these people should drive safely, but you can see that people are breaking over this. You can’t cattle heard traffic like that and expect people to just poke along slowly. Human nature is to try to get out of stressful situations. But the traffic will not just disappear. You are right. It’s only going to get worse for residents of the surrounding area if these people get their agenda pushed through. 70,000+ commuters daily coming off 55 mph 33(E/W) need to go somewhere.

      • Jim

        This is still the perfect point! Well said!

  • Buffaloued

    At several points in this discussion, the comment has been made that 70,000 cars a day use this roadway. In fact, however, the only section of the roadway that even approaches that number (65,000) is the small stretch between Main Street and Route 33.

    Based upon data from more than two years ago, actual numbers are far lower – in the 35,000 range for most segments of the road. Also, only about 11% of the traffic traverses the entire length of the road. We know that traffic counts are down in the last two years since the speed limits were lowered, but the DOT has been less than candid on revealing actual counts. Reliance on the 70,000 figure is disingenuous, but not about to be rebutted by the DOT.
    What we do know is that accident counts are lower, and most of the accidents that do occur have been rear-end collisions at the entry ramps, largely due to compromised design of those ramps. The current road design does nothing to induce a lesser speed, and the redesign will accomplish just about as much.
    The DOT redesign is flawed in its scope, its purpose and its intent. When a design is as vilified as this one is, from all segments of the community – from the park supporters to the truckers, the DOT should be forced back to the table and the community to find a resolution which generates some level of community support. At present, it has none.

    • eagercolin

      Really, I can’t go anywhere without hearing some member of the community vilifying this plan. Truly, it’s the only thing people talk about. I try to strike up a conversation about the Bills, or Trump, or the weather, and people slap me across the face for not talking about the 198. It’s the talk of the town!

      • 300miles

        But be honest… you probably get slapped a lot, no matter what the topic of conversation is.

  • Jim

    How about all the historic intentions of Olmsted’s vision are actually realized…by letting people actually use the green space in the park? 75% of the park is a golf course, which makes that land, its meadows, the old trees, unusable to most of us.
    I’m all for a compromise which pleases most of us, but the reason people on the commuting side are angry is that it appears no one represents our side. I’m all for reconnecting the park if we can make the commute along the 198 corridor take less time like it used to. Between the time Olmsted designed the park and now, an entire area of the city grew and now much of North Buffalo is linked to the 198. Neither the DOT nor the park plan seem to be able to rectify that people want to take the 198 to quickly get from one area to another. That’s all a majority of us want.

    • Mike

      “Compromise” is a joke with these people. They don’t want compromise. They want the 198 gone, or restricted so that motor vehicles can’t use it. Compromise would be failure to them. And the mention of the golf course proves it. Good post!

    • Bradley J. Bethel Jr.

      “but the reason people on the commuting side are angry is that it appears no one represents our side.”

      The majority did not want this freeway to begin with, yet the commuting side has had its way unquestioned for decades.

      The reason there are little objections to golfing at the park is because:

      1) Golf is one of several recreations that complements other
      recreations, such as basketball, baseball, soccer, boating, biking, etc.
      that are utilized around the park. The meadow was not so much “stolen”,
      as it was utilized in accordance to a park’s primary function for
      public recreational space.

      2) This is not a purity clause. It never was. Changes have been made to Olmsted parks, even when Olmsted himself was still alive and active. Change is inevitable, but it’s important to know good change from bad. Good change is taking what works and applying it to solve a present-day situation. Bad change is using the Amish defense as a way to ignore addressing current problems.

      If a road needs to be fixed, you do not wait until it kills more people just to service those who refuse to find a different way to get to work, should said road ever be unusable. Those who are taking this issue seriously would not use the “horse and buggy” shtick to dismiss the importance of this topic, nor would they reject the volumes of evidence that altering an expressway will NOT be the end of the world.

    • Johnny Pizza

      FWIW – The Olmsted Conservancy plan is hands down better than the DOT plan. Drivers really should understand that the DOT plan is almost worse than removing the highway altogether. Between 2 new intersections and 5 new HAWK crossings, you will be stopping ALLLLL the time. The Olmsted plan does create an intersection with Delaware Avenue, but by pushing the intersection to at-grade land, and opening up the bridge to pedestrians, it should eliminate the need for 5 different pedestrian crossings.

      So as a motorist, the choice seems pretty clear. I could be stopped once at the Delaware-198 intersection if the light is red, but that is my only possible stop or, I could be stopped at the 198 to Delaware Intersection #1 (because if you’re going to Delaware Ave there is another intersection), and could possibly be stopped up to 5 additional times depending on usage of those HAWK systems. As a commuter who drives down Kenmore and Englewood (both have a HAWK crossing) everyday, I can assure that 1 HAWK crossing is bad enough, you certainly do not want 5 of them.

      • Jim

        The HAWKs are only bad on Saturday afternoons or really beautiful days. Who is worries about them. I don’t think commuters are even worried about either plan. I think they just want whatever option helps traffic flow best….all the other considerations are ancillary

    • nuvaux

      If eliminating the 198 resulted in the plowing up of that pathetic ‘golf course’ & replacing it with an actual park, many Buffalo residents would be thrilled. I would gladly endure the 3 or 4 traffic signals between me and the 33, when driving out of town.

    • nuvaux

      A majority of whom? City residents? Have you taken a poll?

  • Jim

    The problem is simply this: there are moderates on both sides. But the fringes, like gobikebuffalo, or the parkside neighborhood association that were advocating for closing the 198 to vehicles, or the people who were advocating disconnecting the 198 from the 190 are ruining the preservation side of the argument. I’m okay with multi use, but advocating for a bike way when we have a perfectly good and unused bike line 100 yards adjacent to the 198 is ridiculous

  • D Anon

    Any plan that takes more park space away, from a city dying for more green space, should be DOA.