The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (“State Parks”), in partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the City of Niagara Falls, Empire State Development (ESD), and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), is advancing the Robert Moses Parkway (RMP) Removal Project: Main Street to Findlay Drive (the “Project”).
The Project involves the removal of the existing RMP between Downtown Niagara Falls and Whirlpool and DeVeaux Woods State Parks, a distance of almost two miles, and the reconstruction of local streets that are immediately adjacent to the RMP in this segment to provide all local/Niagara Gorge Corridor vehicular access. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced $42 million in State funding—primarily from NYPA—to undertake final design and construction of the Project.
Completed in the early 1960s as part of NYPA’s development of the Niagara Power Project, the RMP is part of the New York State Parkway System, which is owned/operated by State Parks, and consists of a network of limited-access expressways for vehicular-only traffic connecting the State’s major park resources. The RMP sits on lands owned by State Parks and NYPA, and is maintained by NYSDOT through agreement with State Parks. As a result of several regional factors, the highway is significantly underutilized; the segment from Main Street to Findlay Drive carries only a little over 3,000 trips a day (by comparison, nearby I-190 carries over 100,000 trips per day).
The Project is intended to remove the physical barrier of the expressway configuration of the RMP that has effectively cut off City neighborhoods from the Niagara Gorge for 50 years. It will also help restore the natural ecology of the Gorge rim along this segment through the reduction of paved surfaces; and redefine the area to best facilitate ecotourism and local quality of life, all while still providing sufficient multi-modal transportation access along and to this portion of the Niagara Gorge Corridor.
The Project would involve specifically include
- Demolition of the RMP (i.e., all vehicular lanes, the Whirlpool Bridge Plaza overpass bridge, and all other RMP expressway interchange/accessory facilities) from Main Street (NYS Rte 104) to Findlay Drive.
- Reconstruction of Whirlpool Street from Main Street to Walnut Avenue and from Cedar Avenue to Findlay Drive as an at-grade, two-lane, 30-MPH road to accommodate north-south vehicular and potential future bus access, and removal of Whirlpool Street from Cedar Avenue to Walnut Avenue;
- Reconstruction of Third Street from Main Street to Cedar Avenue in a manner consistent with that of Whirlpool Street;
- Restoration of the landscape / habitat on lands reclaimed along the Niagara Gorge rim from the removal of the RMP with native species;
Construction of a pedestrian / bicycle trail network along the Gorge rim (as part of the regional “Shoreline Trail” system), connecting to adjoining neighborhoods and to other trail systems leading to the base of the Niagara Gorge; and
- Incorporation of various amenities/betterments (e.g., sidewalks, lighting, underground utilities, overlooks, etc.) associated with the above improvements.Empire State Development
USA Niagara Development Corporation.
PLEASE NOTE: There will be a public meeting scheduled on Tuesday evening, November 27th at 6:00PM at the NF Train Station, 825 Depot Avenue, Niagara Falls, NYto provide residents with an opportunity to have any questions answered about construction and detours.
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