Tag Archives: common tern

Peace Bridge: Back to the 90s

7 Jun



Like most people in Western New York, we have spent the past two decades watching and waiting for a new, more efficient gateway between our community and Southern Ontario. Instead of progress, we have seen debate, delay and dysfunction. This project is too important to allow ego and personal differences to stall this project any longer.

Instead, we will let ego move the process forward!

The “Golden Horseshoe” around the western end of Lake Ontario has a population of 8.76 million people; that is 68% of Ontario residents and 26% of all Canadians. They come to Western New York to take in Sabres and Bills games, enjoy our ski resorts and other recreational opportunities, shop, and most importantly, to conduct business and enrich the economies of both sides.

The American government, addicted to security porn and anti-immigrant animus, has proposed and/or implemented every barrier possible to keep these people on their side of the border. Furthermore, the state of New York and the various and sundry governmental, quasi-governmental, and charitable entities have not yet decided to, e.g., set up a string of information center/rest areas on this side of the Q-L Bridge, Rainbow Bridge, or Peace Bridge to inform and direct Canadian crossers to WNY businesses, attractions, and communities.

For this population, the main crossing into the United States and the City of Buffalo is the Peace Bridge. More than 4.7 million cars and 1.2 million trucks crossed the span last year alone. The sheer volume makes the Peace Bridge one of Western New York’s most important economic engines, and to prevent the progress of improving the American side of the border crossing is to prevent the growth of business, recreation and friendly relations between the United States and our valued neighbor to the North.

Not only that, but if you expand the bridge and plaza capacity, you can minimize idling trucks and cars, the emissions from which are adversely affecting the nearby residents, according to some.

We need to take hold of our own destiny and move proactively toward embracing plans that will allow our great region, on both sides, to grow and prosper. The plan put forth by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State of New York is the best option to accomplish that. The Governor wants progress for Buffalo and Western New York, and as business people, residents and active members of this great community, so do we.

The Governor? Hasn’t Cuomo ham-handedly allowed his local proxies mercilessly to antagonize the Canadians on the Public Bridge Authority in recent weeks?

Governor Cuomo has promised a beautiful, more efficient plaza in which the PBA and our community could take pride, and one that would improve the border crossing process for both sides. Western New York needs to form a unified front behind the efforts of the people we elected to represent us. That is exactly what we are announcing today.

To be honest, I’m not so sure anyone has described a customs and inspection plaza as “beautiful”, or that anyone has been “proud” of such a structure. I mean, the new plazas on the Canadian side of the Peace Bridge and Q-L Bridge are quite nice and efficient, but I think “beautiful” is a stretch. It would, however, be nice if people’s first impression of the United States when crossing from Canada was “hey, these people want me to be here and spend my money”. Instead, they resemble the angry, barely utilitarian, chaotic toll plaza on the Queens end of the Midtown Tunnel.

Western New Yorkers and our guests from Canada should not have to wait for years. They should not have to endure the traffic congestion of maintenance projects only to be followed by years of other projects that don’t actually help move traffic, especially passenger traffic off the plaza more expeditiously. New Yorkers and Canadians alike deserve a better, more functional U.S. Plaza faster.

We’ve gephyrophobically waited for years. I’m not so sure ego will overcome what ego has stalled.

The WNY Leaders for Peace Bridge Progress is a group of community leaders who have joined together to show their support for Governor Cuomo’s efforts to expedite the development of the Peace Bridge US Plaza in a way that maximizes the economic benefit to the WNY economy by reducing congestion and making the plaza more efficient and at the same time improving the quality of life in the immediate neighborhood. The committee is co-chaired by Leonard DePrima, formerly of LiRo Engineers and former Chief Engineer and Deputy Executive Director of the NYS Thruway Authority, Laura Zaepfel, Vice President at Uniland Development and Paul Brown, President of the WNY Building Trades Association.

Sounds like this was pulled together in response to this and this.

The WNY Leaders for Peace Bridge Progress

Co-Chairs: Leonard DePrima, Laura Zaepfel, Paul Brown

Cliff Benson Robert Gioia John Koelmel Jonathan Dandes Anthony Conte Rocco Termini

Mark Croce Doug May Alan Pero Paul Ciminelli Victor Martucci Sam Savarino

Robbie Ann McPherson Matt Connors Colleen DiPirro David Rivera Geno Russi

Joel Giambra Kelly Thompson Robert Kresse James Newman Rev. Michael Chapman

Isn’t that an interesting collection of political, development, charitable, and union leaders? It’s as if someone went around and wanted to ensure that this humble group of leaders had enough juice to offer credibility and a second look at the chronic Peace Bridge stasis.

As far as I can tell, however, the most palpable public health problem affecting the community-at-large is a dire case of Peace Bridge Fatigue. Any excitement or public desire for a signature bridge or a crossing that looks world-class rather than second-rate has been beaten into apathy by lawsuits, arguments, the Common Tern, and general political dysfunction. As I suggested last year, it may instead be time to simply demolish the Peace Bridge altogether.

This all seems so 1999. Thanks for trying, though.

The Common Tern Memorial International Crossing (aka Peace Bridge)

15 Dec

Governor Paterson’s office has released five alternate bridge designs (.pdf) from which to choose and reject, and about which to argue.

Thank God they all contain the words “Signature Bridge”. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be signature bridges. Or something. I’m pretty sure we’ll still be talking about this in 2019.

Crucial Question

13 Jul

Is there any way we can use the Common Tern as a scapegoat for everything? Can it be the Common Tern’s fault that the casino might not get built? Did the Common Tern make gas prices skyrocket? Did the Common Tern crash Apple’s servers on iPhone 3G day?

What else can we blame on this versatile fowl?

Higgins' Take on the Common Tern Abattoir

29 Apr

The Federal Highway Administration finds that Buffalo can’t have the kind of bridge that so many other cities have because birds might become confused, and their food – little fish in the river – might also become confused. Brian Higgins (D-NY) responds:

“In 2005 a public panel recommended a cable stayed, Menn designed bridge as their first choice for a new crossing to be constructed beside the existing Peace Bridge. We recently learned that federal agencies may push to drop this design based on weak arguments related to the environmental impact of the design. In late February I objected to the Federal Highway Administration’s claims in general terms. Today I submit further evidence which renders their allegations unfounded.

Well over 1000 cable stayed bridges currently exist around the world today without any devastating impact on the avian and fish population. Furthermore, a Hong Kong study examining bird collisions found that only 0.02% of bird deaths could be blamed on impact with a tall structure, including buildings, bridges and towers. Finally, mitigating factors, such as lighting, can be incorporated into the design of the bridge to further lessen the likelihood of bird mortality.

For well over a decade this community has fought for a more efficient and predictable crossing between Canada and the US. We cannot allow federal bureaucrats to come in at the eleventh hour and delay a project this region has worked so hard for. Using the data already available we can quickly conclude the Menn designed bridge is an acceptable choice which respects the work of the jury, the natural environment and the urgent need to move forward on this project.”

Yes, but that .02% represents the best and brightest of the common tern population. How many more must die?!