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Plans for northern portion of Robert Moses Parkway move forward

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Buffalo: Plans for northern portion of Robert Moses Parkway move forward
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Plans are moving forward for the North section of the Robert Moses Parkway in Niagara Falls. YNN's Antoinette DelBel has more on what the public and local leaders think of some of the parkway's alternatives.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. - Project plans for the northern portion of the Robert Moses Parkway began more than a decade ago, and Wednesday, the public had a chance to view and provide input on draft plans for the parkway's North section along the Niagara Gorge. It's part of what's called a draft scoping report.

"It was a lot of work that went into this, and then all the partners had to come to a consensus that we wanted to move forward," said Mark Thomas, the Western District director of NYS Parks.

Residents looked at three alternatives for the project that would allow access to all gorge parks.

Although all are slightly different, they share one common element - removing part of the parkway from Main Street to Findlay Drive.

"There seems to be a consensus that emerged on this part that that could lead to a fundable, buildable project sooner rather than later," said Niagara Falls Mayor (D) Paul Dyster.

"All three plans today that we're looking at opens up the waterfront in downtown Niagara Falls,” said Assemblyman (R) John Ceretto. “I see growth to our businesses coming from our waterfront areas toward inland toward the city to Main Street."

One plan involves removing all four lanes of the existing parkway between Main and Findlay and redesigning park road to Lewiston.

"I think the businesses along Main Street need the parkway reconfiguration to even exist and to grow, so I'm definitely in favor of any of the traffic being forced up onto Whirlpool Street," said Matt Green of Niagara Falls.

Another plan would also remove all four lanes and redesign the road to Devil's Hole.

A third plan would have the most amount of green space with no parkway at all from Findlay Drive north to Lewiston.

"It does the most to beautify the area along the gorge. There's no reason to have an old, dilapidated road along the gorge," said Lisa Vitello, a member of the Niagara Falls Tourism Advisory Board.

The public will be able to weigh in on the three alternatives over the next 30 days.

Thomas says he hopes to have a final scoping report by spring, and says it'll be about another two years before shovels are in the ground.

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