Tag Archives: prioritizing

The Scarmistakedisaster

12 May

Perhaps it’s time to capitulate on the biggest socio-economic issue facing Buffalo and WNY. Perhaps everyone’s right and what plagues this area – promotes urban decay, maintains mediocre schools, chases businesses and residents away, raises our taxes, promotes bad government, gets into petty political pissing matches, spends too much – maybe it’s not the politicians or the policies or the people who vote them in.

It’s clearly the highways.

The plague of the four-lane limited-access highway is clearly what has kept Buffalo down and is the sine qua non of its 50-year decline. If only we could obliterate them all, everything would suddenly be fine and Buffalo would resemble Toronto, London, New York, Boston, and all of those other cities that are both world-class and four-lane-limited-access-highway-free.

It was the removal of the Gardiner, Don Valley, and 427 that led Toronto to become the largest, most vibrant city in Canada. The historic obliteration of the FDR drive led to Manhattan’s rebirth, and the removal of the BQE and Gowanus led directly to Brooklyn’s revival as a boho powerhouse. London got rid of the Westway and suddenly became a thriving metropolis, and Boston. What would Boston be now if they hadn’t gotten rid of the Mass Pike, and Storrow Drive? Thank God they spent 15 years covering up the Central Artery, where there’s now loads of parkland that is enjoyed by literally tens of people. Green space: what if no one came?

In other words, the more people concern themselves with issues of little import, like the location and configuration of access roads into town, the less attention is paid to real issues like bad government, taxes, and crappy schools.

Sort of like how Carl Paladino thinks making it harder for the cops to determine which guns were used in a crime is important to help New York become a better place.

(And I’m not saying the 33 was a great idea or that it shouldn’t be removed. Someday. But let’s stop – just stop – pretending that its downgrading is somehow miraculously going to make Buffalo great again, just like the bermed Route 5 doesn’t hinder a damned thing).

Priority fail.