The Peace Bridge Expansion is Dead

8 Feb

That’s my prediction. It is never, ever going to happen. Not in my lifetime, not in yours. Frankly, I think that increased traffic capacity isn’t needed in Buffalo anyway. Why shove it down Buffalo’s throat if it so clearly doesn’t want it?

The Ambassador Bridge to Black Rock? Not going to happen. No one’s going to build a plaza and new interchange on the US side with the Scajaquada and 190 right there, particularly given the fact that the push now is to downgrade the Scajaquada to a boulevard of some sort.

While an ideal crossing would be across the river just south of Grand Island, so that it would connect up with the I-290 and I-190, that disturbs residential neighborhoods in Canada.

Instead, we should completely jettison the Peace Bridge expansion altogether and instead increase capacity at Queenston-Lewiston. That single span gets a tremendous amount of truck and vehicular traffic, and recently received an upgrade to five lanes. The Q-L bridge provides direct access on both sides of the span to a major highway; the 405 to the QEW on the Canadian side, and the I-190 on the US side.

If there was any semblance of forward-thinking on the part of the CVB, it would already have been in talks to develop and construct a gorgeous visitor’s center that is run locally – not from Albany. Lease some Thruway property from the Authority and give border crossers a reason to come to a whole host of attractions in Western New York. The fact that there is no “Welcome to New York” or “Welcome to WNY” center on this side of the border underscores just how backwards and simple our supposed tourism promoters are. They’re at Thruway rest areas, but not at the border. How patently stupid; you have to wait until you get to Pembroke or Angola – well on your way out of the metro area.

There comes a time when you just say “enough”. The Peace Bridge project has spent ten years in environmental review, design review, and negotiations over the now-dead shared border management. We can sit and wait another few years for a new administration to change its mind, but it’s been almost ten years now that nothing tangible has happened. The preservation community has drawn a line in the sand as far as the neighborhood that would be adversely affected by a new plaza on the Buffalo side, and we all know about Al Coppola’s threat to move his Pan Am house. What else could be more persuasive?

So screw it. Enough. Everybody wins.

Expand the Queenston-Lewiston bridge with a second, signature span across the Niagara River, right at the escarpment with a gorgeous view of the meandering river leading to Youngstown, and Lake Ontario beyond.

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23 Responses to “The Peace Bridge Expansion is Dead”

  1. Mike Miller February 8, 2008 at 8:55 am #

    Alan, I agree with you totally. Putting another bridge in Niagara County is the way to go. It seems to be the path of least resistance for truckers as it as anyway. The traffic congestion is on the I-190 northbound gets so bad at times that it’s backed up to the Witmer Rd. exit. It used to be the quickest way to Canada, but no longer. The greater need is another bridge up north.

  2. Eric P. February 8, 2008 at 9:15 am #

    Chunnel. Or rename the Peace bridge to the War Bridge. War stuff always seems to get pronto funding.

  3. Mike from Grand Island February 8, 2008 at 9:47 am #

    My thoughts on the need for extra capacity for bridge capacity are relatively parallel to BP but for a bit of a different reason. Namely, that the bottlenecks take place in the middle of the day and may be mitigated by offering incentives for off-peak travel esp by commercial vehicles.

    In the end, the need for increased rail capacity between the USA and Canada is an important consideration for the future of interregional logistics. Rail is cheaper per ton mile and the current rail infrastructure in very old. The international RR bridge is 140 years old. I keep lobbying for upgrades on it but it is privately owned. Anecdotally, no government entity is responsible for auditing the safety of the international railroad bridges — inspections are the responsibility of the RR. For some reason I’m not comforted by that. And that is today’s little known fact…

    The other thing I’m counting on over time is that we arise from the dark ages and mature our relationship with Canada to the degree that we can move toward a Schengen type agreement (as has been written about before on these pages). Liberalized travel may actually result in increased vehicle traffic though.

  4. steve February 8, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    My memory fades as so many proposals come and go, but I believe expansion of the Q-L bridge was proposed not that long ago.

    There appear to be more options for new build/expansion in Niagara County, with less apparent impact on long-existing residential areas. Nobody wants traffic — that’s a given. But I there is more room for growth up north. Besides, I hear the Niagara Bridge Commission is easy to work with and may be loaded.

    One question — what might that do to traffic vis-a-vis capacity issues on the Grand Island spans?

  5. hank February 8, 2008 at 11:20 am #

    I’ve not heard this idea before, but IMO it beats all hell out of what’s been going on the last 10 years—a lot of NUTHIN’.

  6. Denizen February 8, 2008 at 11:20 am #

    You’re right. There really is no need for any PB expansion. All the idling trucks do absolutely zilch for the city except inflict asthma upon the children of nearby neighborhoods.

    The way to go is to make the PB passenger car only and expand the QL’s truck capacity. And oh yeah, the rail bridge could use some lovin’ too.

  7. Jefferson February 8, 2008 at 11:31 am #

    I wonder what Paula Polinski thinks about this?

  8. dave in Rocha February 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm #

    Works for me.

  9. Jefferson February 8, 2008 at 12:48 pm #

    I meant Mary Polinski. LOL.

  10. One Solution February 8, 2008 at 1:25 pm #

    Shared Border Management – find a way to make it work. No excuses.

    Note: Expanding Lewiston Queenston is not a bad idea but something would then need to be done with the Grand Island Bridges and those toll plazas.

    Moving the bottleneck from one end of the river to the other simply creates new issues.

  11. mike hudson February 8, 2008 at 1:45 pm #

    you are correct sir! the lewiston-queenston bridge has been where this expansion should have been proposed in the first place. the bridge commission headquarters are located there, it is minutes away from the niagara falls international airport expansion project, the falls, the seneca niagara casino and the factory outlet mall are far bigger attractions than the darwin martin house or the recently looted albright knox newseum and there aren’t as many nitwit preservationists and self-appointed architectural arbiters here ready to hurt business at the drop of a blueprint. bass pro should be located here as well since everybody knows the fishing in the upper niagara and lake erie sucks in comparison to that of the lower river and lake ontario, and we’ve already been in negotiations with sen. coppola to move the glorious pan am house here so i can live in it. (hope my announcement hasn’t come too soon al!)

  12. mike hudson February 8, 2008 at 1:48 pm #

    you are right, one solution. something does need to be done about the grand island bridge tolls — they need to be raised to $5! that should put the final nail in the coffin for buffalo, “the city located at the end of a canal that doesn’t exist anymore.”

  13. mike hudson February 8, 2008 at 1:52 pm #

    “Nobody wants traffic — that’s a given,” says steve. heck, with that attitude, buffalo should retake its place as a suburb of black rock quicker than you can say “let’s drive away what little remaining business we have!”

  14. Jeff Brennan February 8, 2008 at 1:57 pm #

    Most of us know we don’t have enough regional planning and cooperation. And it only occurs to some of us now that planning border crossing infrastructure holistically and strategically for maximum efficiency of existing infrastructure and lowest cost is a good idea! Duh. The fact that there are two competing bridge authorities that will compete for funding, traffic and local negative impacts is appalling. Wouldn’t it be nice if traffic could be managed regionally??? To minimize negative impacts and maximize positive ones? Sounds downright smart – not that we would ever do such a thing. Protecting ones turf is more important here. Can’t you imagine a scenario where the Peace Bridge expands and the Lewiston-Queenston does as well just to steal traffic back (or vice-versa)? Neither bridge authority could allow a reduction of it’s toll revenue due to an expanded crossing at the other one. Call it a crossing arms race that only costs a lot of money and might bulldoze tax base for that end (as on the West Side). A zero sum game is completely possible.

    And I agree that a welcome center should be a much bigger priority at each crossing. Pathetic that it doesn’t exist.

  15. steve February 8, 2008 at 2:01 pm #

    mr. hudson — Take. Your. Xanax. And let me know when the ribbon cutting is going to take place…Pan Am House, New Home for the NF Reporter.

  16. starbuck February 8, 2008 at 2:31 pm #

    A second bridge at Lewiston sounds much more sensible, but what’s the basis of your prediction the Peace Bridge expansion is dead?

    Doesn’t the PBA still have strong backing of Brown, Spitzer, Hoyt, Higgins, Schumer, et al? Homeowners around there don’t seem to have much power to stop it.

  17. MIke February 8, 2008 at 2:36 pm #

    Hudson is extra funny today, but click the link and see Mike’s current home.

  18. iNdAbUFF February 8, 2008 at 2:58 pm #

    Regional planning? What is that?

  19. hank February 8, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    Just where I figured I’d find him.

  20. Harvey Garrett February 9, 2008 at 7:54 pm #

    Couldn’t agree with you more Alan. Excellent summary of existing circumstances and best possible solution.

    Harvey

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Authority » The Peace Bridge Expansion is Dead - February 8, 2008

    […] SOCIALIST UNITY wrote an interesting post today on The Peace Bridge Expansion is DeadHere’s a quick excerptLease some Thruway property from the Authority and give border crossers a reason to come to a whole host of attractions in Western New York. […]

  2. Shared Border Management: They Choose Not To | Artvoice Daily - June 10, 2013

    […] New York, we are stymied by Washington’s and Albany’s unwillingness / inability to help integrate the region.  We can’t get shared border management approved when the real discussion should be about a […]

  3. Artvoice Daily » Trucks to Lewiston? Good Idea! - January 27, 2014

    […] Funny, because here’s what I wrote in February 2008 – six years ago: […]

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