Tag Archives: Tim Tielman

The Esmonde Template

7 Oct

Sunday brought us a treat – the quintessential Donn Esmonde congratubatory piece. The foundational document. The template. The “we the columnist” from the tea party champion.

It has everything – Tim Tielman, “lighter, quicker, cheaper”, Mark Goldman, and a generalized thesis whereby the general public is populated by cretins who are just now awakening to the genius of the positions of Esmonde and friends. 

All in all, it reinforces the accuracy of some of my theories. For instance, the one where preservationist hero Tim Tielman is the capo of a local preservation racket. Just hire the right people, and suddenly preservationist opposition to whatever demolition or renovation project you’re proposing simply evaporates. The Neighborhood Workshop Thuggery.

I know Esmonde has recently written two concern-trolls regarding the Buffalo Schools – one whereby our self-hating, upper-middle class, elitist white guy hero feigns outrage at racism in the board of education, and another where he knows better than the school district’s superintendent, who quite literally has what amounts to an impossible job. I’m sure Buffalo School Superintendent Dr. Pamela Brown enjoys having a failing school district to run on the one hand, and racist assholes gunning for her removal every. few. weeks, on the other. Esmonde whitesplains all of this for our benefit, ignoring the fact that he voluntarily abandoned his education bona fides when he touted his business partner’s charter school chops, and decided that it would be perfectly swell if Clarence schools’ quality was degraded. 

Want to develop Canal Side? You’ll have a lot of problems from Mark Goldman & his crew unless you spend six figures of public money to hire Fred Kent & Partnership for Public Spaces to educate you on “placemaking” and benches. (Placemaking is the wholly unscientific theory that people will go where other people are. The thing it omits is what it was that attracted the “other people” in the first place.)

Want to develop the Larkin District? Hire a planner well-regarded in preservationist circles to promote the project, and retain Tielman’s company, too, while you’re at it. Suddenly, all your problems will disappear.

Someone explain to me how this is any different from paying protection money to the mob to prevent that same mob from blocking your project and seeking injunctive relief. Don’t want Tim Tielman organizing a picket of your project? Put him on the payroll.  You tell me what that’s called

Lighter, quicker, cheaper brought one restaurant and some Adirondack chairs to Canal Side. Everything else – everything – is temporary, slow, or transient. Go down there on a rainy Sunday and – if you’re not interested in getting wet, and you’ve already seen the Naval museum,  I challenge you to find something to do other than have a beer at Liberty Hound.  It should have shops, cafes, restaurants (plural), maybe a museum or gallery – things more compelling than a temporary stage and “flexible lawns”. Solar-powered carousels don’t count (this was a real suggestion – as if a kid gives a crap about the sustainability of a carousel’s propulsion fuel). 

The Cobblestone now has a restaurant, the Helium comedy club, a casino, and a bar or two. It’s walking distance from Canalside, but the Harbor Center construction makes it difficult to reach.

I wonder if Goldman or Tielman are partners with Esmonde in some business endeavor? Tielman has degrees from SUNY Binghamton in art history, political science, and geography. I don’t know what Tielman’s profession once was, but it looks like he took a hobby and parlayed it into a well-paid position as the community’s gatekeeper for preservation issues. Must be nice. 

Shorter Donn Esmonde

25 Jun

Tim Tielman has transformed obstructionism into a successful protection racket, and this is good for Buffalo. 


Autocracy and Speaking for the People

14 Feb

When Larry Quinn announced that he was leaving the board of the Erie County Harbor Development Corporation. he said:

I’m going to finish up here, and I’m going to kind of cut off my involvements with other things in Buffalo for now … I have an old expression, that you can nail wings on a pig but you can’t make it fly, and I’m tired of trying to make a pig fly. This political community here is so screwed up that I’m tired of it. It’s just a joke.

Truer words have never been said. The political atmosphere in Buffalo is downright toxic. It is, generally, ideas’ kryptonite.

As we all know, Tim Tielman – the Sarah Palin of Buffalo development – weighed in, likening Quinn to, of all people, Hosni Mubarak. That was followed up yesterday by a wishy-washy Donn Esmonde (one minute he lurves guys like Quinn and Higgins, the next minute he tsk-tsks them).

Through all of it, I think Quinn represented the worst of a top-down, magic-bullet mindset that too often afflicts this community’s decision-making. The Bass Pro fiasco, backed by virtually every power broker and politician, cost the community years of time, money and needless conflict. Think about that, the next time somebody says preservationists are the “obstructionists.”

What Quinn was doing was trying to ensure that a development with a large shopping component have a large shopping draw. Whether you were for or against Bass Pro, the logic of its inclusion was without question. We don’t crowdsource what shopping options go to Elmwood Avenue or the Walden Galleria, so to have a parade of developmental Sarah Palins call Bass Pro everything but Hitler was as unproductive (if not more so) than the attempts to lure the store.

When the Tielmanites talked of the aborted siting of the Bass Pro on the Central Wharf, you’d have thought they were talking of a Shoah.

But when did they hold the referendum? When did the people truly decide?

Because when the Tielmanite Palinists declare development projects to be horrifically wrong, they’re merely substituting their own opinions to someone else’s; we have the preservationist elite (usually in alliance with the foundation elite and activist elite) doing battle with the politically-connected & developer/new money elites. (The Buffalo elites are explained in this post.)

Regular people, though – the people who slot into none of the elites – never got a chance to weigh in on any of the plans until today. For every criticism that Donn Esmonde hucks at Larry Quinn for his supposed autocratic “discount[ing] public process” and “blast[ing] of project skeptics” who had blasted him, the same goes for Tim Tielman and his ilk.

Because Tim Tielman and the anti-development types in Buffalo held exactly zero public hearings or listening tours or referenda or other opportunities to listen to the public. Not that they’re legally obligated to, but when they purport to speak for the entire community, and when Donn Esmonde implies that they speak for everyone, they should be reminded that the regular people – the ones who don’t slot into any of Buffalo elites – no one ever asked them.

Palin on Mubarak

8 Feb

I caught the following quote in this article about Larry Quinn quitting the Sabres, ECHDC, and Buffalo in general:

Larry Quinn is the Hosni Mubarak of planning in Buffalo, going back to his early days in the Griffin administration and extending through the Bass Pro fiasco that set back waterfront development by at least six years,” said preservationist Tim Tielman, executive director of Campaign for Greater Buffalo. “Through it all, he has demonstrated an autocratic attitude that repeatedly went against the desires of the public and sound public policy.”

Mubarak? Who the hell does Tim Tielman think he is?  Does he think that he doesn’t demonstrate an autocratic attitude, or that he always works in concert with the public’s desires or sound public policy?  Who died and made him king of Buffalo development?  It’s the most self-important, arrogant, and – with the Mubarak reference – childishly offensive piece of mouth-shit I’ve yet seen come from the Sarah Palin of Buffalo development.  Shame on him.

The ECHDC Vote on its MGPP Explained

30 Nov


Pulling in the same direction: “Progress” in New Buffalo

4 Sep

The varying moods induced by the slate of Buffalo news this summer– Canalside setbacks, potential flight of HSBC bank, and the death of UB 2020 to mention only a few – have highlighted the various goals of tribal Buffalo in 2010. That the same bit of news could cause both despair and victory cheers in such numbers and to such depth shows a distressing fracture. Not everyone will agree all the time, on everything, nor should they. But it wasn’t that long ago that the community was pulling on the same rope in the same direction far more often. Note the recent obituary on the death of the idea of New Buffalo – many can not agree that the patient is even dead, much less what the idea meant when it was alive.

What is the definition of “progress” in this town? I thought I used to know. I moved back in 2007, unknowingly at the height of “New Buffalo” and accidently in the middle of Old Home Week (nee Buffalo Homecoming, nee Citybration). I didn’t know “New Buffalo” was the name of the feeling, but I did know the hope and optimism. It was one factor that got me to move a family here.

Courtesy Treasure Frey at stuartbrown.com

Now, not so much. Instead of a generally agreed upon view of progress, or at least the idea that the city could walk and chew gum at the same time, allowing us to pursue multiple threads simultaneously, it seems we’ve become divided into a number of camps.

– The Old Building Camp (Tielman, Esmonde, BRO) says that keys to Buffalo progress are rotting away in front of us as we speak. Fix up the nice old architecturally significant buildings we have, and other cities wish we had, and we’re on the road. This view is well summarized by David Steel, one of WNYMedia’s frequent commenters, who identified a list of projects in Alan Bedenko’s article as reasons for optimism. Out of his 35 projects, 25 were rehabs or additions to older buildings.

My issue with this approach is that it pays more attention to the building than its contents. The building is just the container: its the tenants, and the jobs/wealth/impact they generate, that will cause progress in Buffalo. It is telling that the developers of Buffalo (Termini, Brown, Montante, Savarino, Paladino) trip off the tongue faster than the business leaders (Rich, Jacobs, Wilmers is Chairman at M&T (who is the CEO?), I had to look up how to spell First Niagara’s Koelmel).

– The New Building Camp, smaller in size but no less vocal, says that old building conversions are nice, but they are a natural part of city development, and are not a big deal. That we praise them so loud and so long is sad, small, and kinda pathetic. What we should be looking for is New Buildings that indicate a willingness to take risk, require fewer government subsidies, have a potential return of real money, and show a increased demand for CBD space. When Carl Paladino finally builds 50 Court Street, says lefty (another regular commenter), come talk to me.

But to me both the Old Building Camp and New Building Camp have a similar problem: if one focuses on the contents of the package, and not the package itself, it is a less-than-rosy regional picture. The Larkin Building filled with Kaleida, First Niagara, law firms, and others from the local area. The Larkin is a win if you consider moving a corporate HQ from Pendleton to Buffalo a win, and success is measured based upon traffic across the city/suburb line. Even if you are city focused, Avant grabbed a law firm from a Buffalo historic building, construction of UB’s medical campus downtown just moves programs from University Heights, and the future high profile moves of Phillips Little and HSBC to Canalside (allegedly) just move workers several city blocks. Some projects are considered successes before they even have tenants: the only occupier of the new rehab at the Genesee Gateway is the State Dept’s new Passport office, a development coup of a couple dozen low paying government jobs, and the rest of the building is not yet spoken for. The Hautman-Woodard Institute and NY Center of Excellence for Bioinformatics are beautiful and terrifyingly empty, a shade of their possible capacity.

It is the same or worse for housing. A City of Buffalo Common Council member confessed to me in confidence that he is not a fan, generally, of large housing rehabs, such and Frizlen’s and Termini’s warehouse and school conversions. Why? Because 15 new housing units in a neighborhood means 15 abandoned houses nearby. No one is moving from Atlanta, or Syracuse, or even Cheektowaga for most of these units. They are moving from a house a couple blocks away.

New buildings, old buildings. I care what’s inside.

– Frustration with the previous two camps yields the Coalition of Enough Already, which does not want just anything built, but does want SOMETHING to happen. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to satisfy all. It shouldn’t do more harm than good. But simply building a Peace Bridge, or Canalside, or a Casino, or anything larger than $30 million, would show a change in attitude and general competence of leaders of all types: political, business, government.

– Moving on from the Construction is Progress camps, our own Chris Smith is vocal advocate for the Good Government Camp, which says what we really need are less corrupt politicians, policy leaders, new ideas, good schools, and a regional plan that leverages our assets. Good government hears the news that the new data center Yahoo built in chilly Lockport uses less energy for cooling, from 54% of all energy used by the datacenter to 1% (!), and makes a plan to capitalize on it. I am sympathetic to the idea, and to the broken hearts of so many that thought Mayor Brown, and a new wave of average citizens getting involved, would make this actually possible. I am now more cynical about this possibility than any of the others.

– The Grass Roots Camp says all your fancy buildings, and money, and politics is crap, and always will be, and while you cry over spilt milk on Canalside or some budget hearing, real people are making a difference every day. Poster children include PUSH, Urban Roots, the Wilson Street Farm, Buffalo ReUse, MAP, taco trucks, Sweetness_7 Cafe, carriage rides in Delaware Park, and yoga down at Canalside.

I have been accused of being dismissive of such things, and perhaps I am. I think all are wonderful projects in their own right. I just don’t confuse any with progress in Buffalo. That so many people do is sad, and says how far Buffalo has fallen, but speaks nothing ill of any of the projects themselves. But I feel jobs and growth will allow Buffalo to progress far more, not just in economic areas, but to fight poverty and improve our general quality of life.

– Let me add in one more camp, not yet represented. It’s the camp I am in. How will we know when Buffalo is “progressing?” Growth. I am waiting for the census data to show Buffalo, or WNY, or even some demographic segment of any decent size, is larger now than it was in the past. Even if that growth is year over year, much less over the decade. Buffalo is getting smaller, greyer, poorer, and suffers a lack of Brain Gain of national proportions. Growth creates markets for buildings new and old. Growth brings new people with new ideas that can flush out some of the old guard politicians and interest groups. Growth can justify new bridges, new casinos, new shopping areas, and new housing downtown. Growth changes the brand. Growth gives me a job without taking one from you. Growth gives out two foundation grants instead of one. Growth can cause its own problems, but for a region already as spread out and empty as ours, many of those problems simply don’t exist.

But why do we need the camps at all? Should not a healthy city be able to restore old buildings, build new ones, make better schools, and attract new businesses simultaneously? In fact, is it not those attributes that define a healthy city. Perhaps that is the objective proof we need that Buffalo is not healthy, even if it was momentarily in the recent past.

In Buffalo, we all chew off the same bone. It’s a zero sum game. Money for Larkin means less money for something else. The Wendt Foundation said yes to the Genesee Gateway project, and thus no to something else. Which is why more and more people are becoming members of a second camp, in addition their first identified above: the Nihilists. Saying yes to PUSH means saying no to Canalside. Saying yes to downtown means saying no to the Seneca Casino. Saying yes to the new Courthouse means saying no to the Statler. Saying yes to subsidized housing means saying no to UB. Saying yes to old buildings means saying no to the Peace Bridge.

It is not new for government, business and non-profits to have to make choices with limited resources. It is new for one group to fight another’s project with as much energy as they pursue their own.

ECHDC Canalside Public Hearing 2/25/09

26 Feb

Last night at Buffalo’s Waterfront School, the New York State Urban Development Corporation (ESDC), as Lead Agency on behalf of its subsidiary corporation, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) held a scoping hearing in preparation of the General Environmental Impact Study (GEIS) for the Canalside Project.

Once the public scoping period is complete, NY ESD will publish the Draft GEIS in the summer of 2009 with more public hearings to follow.  Once that process is complete, the Final GEIS will be published and work can begin, likely in late 2009 or early 2010.  That timeline assumes this project sails through the process and there are no legal challenges or negative impacts found.

Damn, that was a mouthful.

If you’d like to read the Draft Scoping Document, click here.

This is the first step in the process of getting the project ready for construction. If you want a refresher on what the Canalside project looks like, I’ll direct you to this post from December.

My analysis after that press conference is summed up as follows:

What I’d like to talk about is that this whole presentation was a steaming pile of horseshit.  It’s a pie in the sky conceptualization of what the ECHDC would like to do with a plot of land in Buffalo.  A plot of land, mind you, that already has an approved master plan that was codified into law in 2004.

Photos of the current design:

Last night, we heard from several people who are concerned that the original 2004 master plan is being ignored and they feel the design is antithetical to a cultural tourist destination on the waterfront.


The crowd seemed to rally around the idea that the ECHDC needs to be more senstitive to the historic district of the waterfront.  There was also a lot of support from the community that there needs to be a fallback option in the event that Bass Pro does not sign a contract to place a store in the Canalside District.  As of now, if Bass Pro does not eventually sign on the dotted line, we have no alternative.

Angelo Coniglio has an alternative plan that could be incorporated, but to date he has had little success getting traction on the idea.

Oh, if you didn’t catch my allusion to it, Bass Pro has still not signed any formal agreement to place a store on Buffalo’s Waterfront.  Eleven years and counting on that one…

It’s the Economy, Stupid

11 Dec

Way back when, in the long long ago, I wrote a brief but memorable post. Here it is:

I said I was mulling a post about it, and figured instead that I’d solicit your comments about a theory that I have.

All too often, people in Buffalo mistake “would be nice” for “must be done“.


1. It would be nice if Pano kept the Atwater House around and incorporated it into his expansion plans; vs.
2. Pano must keep the Atwater House around and incorporate it into his expansion plans.

Geek adds to my earlier Tielman post. He puts a re-routing of a 2-mile stretch of the I-190 in the “would be nice” category. I don’t even know if it approaches the “good idea” slot yet, which is a condition precedent to reaching “would be vs. must be”.

Also, some in comments here make the point that Tielman is thoughtful, and well-respected, and has done a lot of positive work for the community. That’s all well and good, but when he answers a few questions that no one asked – re-routing the 190, a lift bridge across the Niagara River, and preserving an abbreviated, useless Skyway – he’s not above being criticized.

One of the canards going around is that all of this would be a net positive for the economy. Why, if we re-routed, thousands of people would flock to Riverside to snap up dirt-cheap homes with a view of the sunset over the water Canada.

Probably the thousands of suddenly inconvenienced Tonawandans and Kenmorians whose backyards have been turned into a trucking corridor.

In comments, Geek makes the point that multi-lane waterfront roadways have not hampered growth and progress in Chicago and Toronto. Denizen makes a similar point. Consider:

The presence or non-presence of a roadway along the waterfront is not an inhibitor to local economic development. There, I said it. The economy is an inhibitor to waterfront development.

Instead of playing with the waterfront with blocks and Matchbox cars,

If we focused instead on fixing our local economy, lowering our collective tax burden, incenting companies to build here, and creating jobs, there would be an impetus to design and implement such projects. Tielman’s plan is “cart before the horse” as they say…

Until we get to the point where Buffalo and Western New York are again economically viable business locations, projects like this will simply be fodder for blogs and public radio.

Are we really going to keep blaming limited-access roads for the decline of neighborhoods throughout Buffalo, or are we going to get serious about the real, root causes? Because I’ve seen communities thrive in spite of highways and freeways and expressways and turnpikes and parkways all over the world. Has Storrow Drive ruined property values on Back Bay’s Beacon Street? Are the Montreal neighborhoods around the Decarie bereft of life? Of course not.

Tielman, Continued

10 Dec


In our ongoing attempt to tag team issues with our differing approaches and attitudes, BuffaloPundit posted a comprehensive and intellectual response to Tim Tielman’s WBFO interview. During the 20 minute interview, Tielman stated his desire to move the proposed second span of the Peace Bridge upriver, re-route the I-190 onto abandoned railroad tracks, and build teacup rides underneath the Skyway.

Buffalo, V2.0, Designed by Tim Tielman.

Well, no intellectual response here…seeing as how I have limited time, let me dispense with some quick analysis of his I-190 plan in bulleted fashion.

  • I’m sure that Tim is a nice guy and he is certainly well-intentioned, however, I can’t imagine meeting someone in Buffalo that I disagree with more often than I do with him.
  • The base premise of re-routing what amounts to two to three miles of the I-190 away from Riverside into the Tonawanda Rail Corridor seems like a good idea on the surface. Until, of course, one contemplates just what would be involved with such an endeavor. Seeing as how we are currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of planning and design for two miles of roadway on the Outer Harbor (where no one lives), I find it to be a tall task to convince the thousands of people who will now have a highway running through their backyards to sacrifice for the better of the waterfront.
  • The people who live along the rail corridor will undoubtedly be up in arms over the idea of running an Interstate through their backyards and will fight the idea to the death. An assumption? Not really…have you just moved to Buffalo? Welcome to NIMBY/BANANA central, baby.
  • Years of EIS, surveying, public comment periods, design, phases of design, further public comment periods, lawsuits, challenges, and arguments will take the better part of a generation to achieve consensus on such a plan.
  • Without an idea of cost estimates and no political will to accomplish a massive highway project that could run into the hundreds of millions, what is the direct benefit to the public? Governments tend to approach these types of projects using a cost/benefit analysis. Will it drastically better the lives of the majority of people in the region to invest a significant chunk of available highway monies into such a reconfiguration? If arguing that the idea of traffic = bad, are we not simply shifting the problem?
  • Congress tends to fund projects of this scope in areas where there is a significant demand or economic significance. Highway expansion and removal projects are typically reserved for areas where there will be tangible benefits to the region as a whole. Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta, Seattle, etc. are all competing for federal highway dollars and have a definite need, becaus they are, ya know, growing.
  • What does this do to reconnect the downtown street grid that is currently separated by the I-190? Nothing. After all, why redesign roadways in an effort to improve the economic and development climate when you can redesign them so we can have yet another park on the waterfront.
  • As an aside, rather than planning pie in the sky proposals, can Tielman come up with some plan to move the sewage plant somewhere else? The stretch of the I-190 near the old Breckenridge toll booths, Squaw Island Park and Scajaquada stinks to absolute high heaven. Talk about past planning boners…
  • Finally, can we stop with the endless piecemeal proposals to rehabilitate Buffalo’s Waterfront? Can we build one master regional plan with sections devoted to the waterfront, highways, road improvements, infrastructure, public utilities, businesses, parks, etc? This is growing quite tedious that every swingin’ dick with a pencil and a cocktail napkin can get airplay for a cockamamie idea. We’re all guilty.

In the end, this project can be filed under “wouldn’t it be nice” rather than “need to have it”. As always it comes back to the same issue…it’s the economy, stupid.

The presence or non-presence of a roadway along the waterfront is not an inhibitor to local economic development. There, I said it. The economy is an inhibitor to waterfront development.

If we focused instead on fixing our local economy, lowering our collective tax burden, incenting companies to build here, and creating jobs, there would be an impetus to design and implement such projects. Tielman’s plan is “cart before the horse” as they say…

Until we get to the point where Buffalo and Western New York are again economically viable businsess locations, projects like this will simply be fodder for blogs and public radio.

Wow, that wasn’t very quick, now was it?

Tielman on the Waterfront

10 Dec


With respect to the elevated I-190 that runs like a gash through downtown Buffalo, we are hardly alone. Back in the 50s and 60s, many other older cities actually wanted to separate their thriving downtowns from their smelly, industrial waterfronts. An elevated highway to make it easy to pass through or commute to downtown was a welcome addition. In Buffalo, the I-190 snakes its way not too far from the shore of the Niagara River, and is at-grade pretty much all the way down until it reaches the Niagara Street exit.

It was placed in that location for one reason – it follows exactly the path of the Erie Canal as it existed during the first half of the last century. The canal terminus (recent legislation notwithstanding) was subsequently relocated to North Tonawanda.

So, when I think I-190, I think of that section that physically (and to some degree psychically) continues the division of Buffalo from her waterfront. A Big Dig project is probably out of the question, since the money won’t ever be there, the Big Dig itself has become somewhat of a liability, and because Buffalo’s I-190 seldom sees the frequency or volume of traffic-tie ups that Boston’s old Central Artery had.

WBFO featured an interview with Tim Tielman recently, who talked about two ideas that he has. One of them involves the Peace Bridge and the 190, but doesn’t address what I had always thought was the biggest problem – downtown.

Instead, Tielman argues that there should be no second span at the Peace Bridge location due to the negative affect that would have on the surrounding community. He advocates for a second crossing should be at the location of the International Railway Bridge. On the New York Side of that crossing are, according to him, loads of unused track and rights-of-way that could be used to connect that bridge to the Scajaquada and a new “boulevard” that would funnel traffic up to the I-290.

In that case, a portion of the I-190 in Riverside could be dismantled.

Glancing at Google Earth, that would affect just over two miles’ worth of roadway. Presumably the expressway that leads to the Sheridan exit, servicing DuPont, the power station, GM Powertrain, and Dunlop would remain intact. Tielman is quite blunt that he doesn’t want to move the 190, he wants to eliminate it. He also doesn’t want a crossing from Canada to be high enough to accommodate ships in the navigable waterway – he wants it to be a liftbridge.

The only entity that has proposed using that location for a new crossing has been the Ambassador Bridge, and they want it to be for truck traffic only. There is no way whatsoever that any entity – public, private, or hybrid – is going to build an international crossing that utilizes a lift bridge or isn’t connected to a limited-access interstate highway of some kind. Period.

Setting aside whether “Boulevard” has become some sort of strange shorthand for “good planning” among some, Tielman all but promises that a “boulevard” along the rail right-of-way would “eliminate noise” and get tractor trailers “off residential streets”. Somehow, this would make us a “really progressive city”.

Tielman explains that Buffalo is “only major city in the Northeast” where you can watch the sun set over the water. Obviously, along the eastern seabord, the sun rises over the water, and Tielman points out that Chicago gets a sunset over “some suburban prairie”. He adds that one of the best places to watch the sunset over the water is Riverside.

A quick scan of your memory or this map will remind you that Riverside is – well, on the banks of a river. If you’re in Riverside, the sun actually sets over “some suburban prairie” in Ontario, Canada.

He also wants to preserve a part of the Skyway south of the Buffalo River, and turn it into an elevated open-air park. It would have to be ADA-compliant. Yes, the views from the Skyway are pretty. No, the Skyway is not “Jetsonian” or in any way futuristic. No, we don’t need teacup rides at the bottom of the Skyway. Yes, the liability of having people traipsing around 100 feet above is mind-boggling.

As it stands now, people could certainly make a utilitarian point about its functionality. But if you remove vehicular traffic from it, it becomes nothing more than an eyesore. If you want a nice view, build a tall building on the outer harbor.