One Parkway Now!

  • Restored Humboldt Parkway

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Acknowledgement and Support for Justice

The East Side Parkways Coalition (ESP) acknowledges and supports the decades of effort and hard work by Restore Our Community Coalition (ROCC) and its leadership to bring New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOTNYSDOT New York State Department of Transportation) to the table to restore the Olmsted Parkway. ROCCROCC Restore Our Community Coalition has worked diligently to reconnect the community, improve health outcomes for residents, and secure a robust economic future for the East Side.

With all its heart and soul, ESP recognizes the relentless, heroic efforts of ROCC to bring this project to this point. Without these efforts, we would not be able to have this conversation now. Thank you.

Unfortunately, over the past year, NYSDOT has capriciously accelerated into a take-it-or-leave-it “Build Alternative” – a Tunnel that would require 20 feet of additional digging, covered by a replica parkway that stops 2,000-feet short of connecting to the planned restoration of Humboldt Parkway between Agassiz Circle and Delavan.

The NYSDOT Design has two disastrous consequences: 1) The tunnel will cement in place that Delaware Park and Martin Luther King Park (MLK ParkMLK Park Martin Luther King Park, formerly Humboldt Park.) will never be connected by a parkway because extension of a prospective Tunnel would run into the buried Scajaquada Creek; and, 2) Concentrated exhaust plumes will be blown out the tunnel portal ends toward dozens of schools, youth facilities, parks, museums and churches.

As a result of NYSDOT’s plan, both of ROCC’s initial goals of restoring Humboldt Parkway and improving the health of local residents would be made worse by the $1.2 billion investment.

We propose to stand behind and support ROCC and all the local stakeholder groups, to fight for ROCC’s original goals of ending exhaust-related diseases in local neighborhoods and fully restoring the beautiful Humboldt Parkway so it once again connects Delaware and MLKMLK Park Martin Luther King Park, formerly Humboldt Park. Parks. This long-overdue parkway connection should be made now, with the currently allocated funding.

There is a strategy that can work for everyone in our community: One Parkway Now!

Please review the materials presented here and join our coalition to make the community, and Buffalo a better place for all.

ESPC Meetings

  • We meet on Thursdays, 5:45 to 7:30pm:
    • Starting August 1, we’ll be meeting on the first and third Thursday of each month. First Thursday at St. Philip’s Church, Third Thursday at Delavan Grider:
    • August 1, Saint Philip’s Episcopal Church (15 Fernhill Avenue [map])
    • August 15, Delavan Grider
    • August 29, location to be announced
    • September 5, St. Philip’s
    • September 19, Delavan Grider
    • October 3, St. Philip’s
    • October 17, Delavan Grider
    • When and if this meeting is cancelled, we’ll announce the cancellation here.

Tabling Events

  • Come see us out in the community, meet and speak with ESPC members.
    • Pappy Martin Jazz Festival
      • Sunday, July 21
      • 2-9pm
      • Martin Luther King Park
    • Queen City Jazz Festival
      • Saturday, July 27
      • 1-9pm
      • Lafayette Square
    • Gospel Fest
      • Saturday, July 27
      • 1-9pm
      • MLK Park
    • Pine Grill Reunion Weekend I
      • Sunday, August 4
      • 3-8pm
      • MLK Park
    • National Night Out
      • Tuesday, August 6
      • 4pm-7:30pm
      • 701 East Delavan
    • Pine Grill Weekend II
      • Sunday, August 11
      • 1-3pm
    • Summer Friday Jefferson Avenue Block Club Parties, Jefferson & Utica
      • 5-9pm

Past Events

  • Monday June 10, 3pm to 4pm, Olmsted Network Event: Restoring Community Connections Through Highway Redesign. ONLINE, register here.
  • Thursday June 6, 5:15pm, Informational Session & Fundraiser, at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Avenue.
  • Saturday April 20, Humboldt Parkway Neighborhood Community Support RALLY & MARCH. Meet-up at 10:30am at East Ferry and Jefferson, Community March at 11am from Ferry and Jefferson to Ferry and Humboldt Parkway.
  • Thursday April 4, 6pm – 7:30pm, ESPC Presents: “From Negro Removal to Highway Removal: Understanding How Environmental Racism Continues To Shape Buffalo”. Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Branch Library, 1324 Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14208. Presenter: Jennifer D. Roberts, DrPH, MPH with special guests. More information here. This event pre-empts our regular weekly meeting.
  • Six Minute Building Stories, at Duende in Silo City, March 21 at 6pm. Terrence Robinson of ESPC will be one of the speakers. More information here. Sponsored by the Buffalo Architecture Foundation.
  • Thursday March 14, 6pm, Humboldt Residents Listening Session, 1423 Fillmore Avenue (corner of Glenwood). Sponsored by the New York Civil Liberties Union, not by ESPC. More information here.
  • Court Hearing: Thursday March 7, 10am, Hon. Daniel J. Furlong, City Court Building (50 Delaware Avenue), 8th Floor. This is the second hearing in the lawsuit brought by two Humboldt Parkway residents against the NYS DOTNYSDOT New York State Department of Transportation. More information here.
  • Free Webinar “Healing Communities by Removing Highways” – Thursday February 22, 6-7:30pm on Zoom – . View recording here.
  • Court Hearing: Wednesday February 21, 11am, Hon. Daniel J. Furlong, City Court, Part 28, 8th Floor. This was the first hearing in the lawsuit brought by two Humboldt Parkway residents against the NYS DOT. More information here.

A Call to Action!

A Plan That Works For Everyone: One Parkway Now!

The One Parkway Now! infill approach works with GBNRTC’s Region Central solution to turn Route 33 and the Scajaquada Expressway into a unified, restored Humboldt Parkway connecting Delaware and MLK Parks.

Further, One Parkway Now! proposes the restored Parkway could be extended into the Fruit Belt, reconnecting it via parkway with Delaware Park and the Cultural District including the History Museum, Burchfield-Penney Art Center, and the AKG Art Museum.

Restoring Humboldt Parkway will bring public and private investment to the surrounding neighborhoods, and a community-driven coalition can work to ensure the investment is directed towards housing and small business improvements, lead remediation, tree replanting etc. One Parkway Now, and filling in the 33, is less disruptive to residents, cheaper for the taxpayer, and will bring even more investment to our community by restoring a world class landmark.

Traffic can be absorbed into the existing City radialsRadials The main streets of Buffalo that radiate from the downtown core. South Park, Seneca, Clinton, William, Broadway, Genesee, Sycamore, Kensington., including Kensington Avenue, Delavan, Genesee, Walden, and Broadway. These existing radials would only need to take the same average daily traffic (ADT) as Main Street to bring traffic flow on Humboldt down to levels similar to Bidwell, Chapin, or Lincoln Parkways. (See 2022 and 2028 Traffic Drawings) The East Side deserves the same tranquil parkways as enjoyed by West Side residents.

One Parkway Now! proposes to distribute traffic on the existing City radials, which will also feed into Jefferson, Fillmore, and Bailey Avenues, allowing those business districts to grow.

But, let’s be honest, with our warming planet we need to be reducing the number of cars on the road in the long term. Citizens for Regional Transit already has a plan to do so: the Airport Corridor Light Rail Rapid Transit Line from DL&W to Larkinville to the Central Terminal to Airport / I-190 Park & Rides would provide an additional 110,000 capacity, and all the billions of private economic development that would come with that endeavor!!

The RadialsRadials The main streets of Buffalo that radiate from the downtown core. South Park, Seneca, Clinton, William, Broadway, Genesee, Sycamore, Kensington. Can Handle the Traffic!

The existing City Radials can handle the traffic from the 33 right now! And the additional cars could reinvigorate commerce throughout the East Side! Click here to view this file in high resolution, 2MB PDF

Problems With The Tunnel Proposed by NYSDOT

  • NYSDOT’s urgency to hurry-up-and-build this ill-conceived tunnel stems from a potential maintenance nightmare of their own making: Existing bridge decks are 20 years past their “expected 40-year service life.” Beam girder ends in the bridges have lost as much as 64% of their cross-sections. (both facts from page 22 of the DDR/EAEA Environmental Assessment). Extensive areas of rusted rebar are showing through the concrete retaining walls along most of the depressed expressway. Don’t let NYSDOT rush this once in a lifetime opportunity for East Side residents because of their mistakes.
  • The current NYSDOT proposal keeps the truck and car exhaust flowing into the community like it has for decades, and actually makes conditions worse at each end.
  • A number of schools and community spaces are downwind of the tunnel truck and car exhaust “plumes” (as NYSDOT refers to them – extending 300 meters (985 feet) from the ends of the tunnel). This is unsafe for children at the Hamlin Park School #74, the Boys and Girls Club Masten Club House, and the Charles Drew Science Magnet School. This is unsafe for visitors to the Buffalo Museum of Science and for residents attending events in MLK Park.
  • NYSDOT truck and car exhaust mitigation solution is not adequate:
    • Greenspace and tree-planting to absorb pollutants – while nice, what about in late fall, winter, and spring when trees have no leaves to absorb pollutants? What about the winter when colder air and exhaust stays closer to the ground and doesn’t dissipate?
    • SmogStop Technology – The technology uses a photocatalytic coating to breakdown “NOX (Nitrogen Oxides) and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into harmless gases and water, powered purely by sunlight.” That’s great but how much sunlight is in a tunnel?
    • Controlling Dust – The NYSDOT states that: “A washing schedule for the tunnel would be implemented to remove dust, reducing dust resuspension by traffic.” When the NYSDOT was asked about this schedule – their reply was: “once a year”.
  • The NYSDOT’s Draft Environmental Assessment (September 12, 2023) – Appendix D5 “Asbestos-Containing Materials Reports” Page 6 States: “there is approximately 234,486 square feet of inaccessible/assumed ACM (Asbestos Containing Material) associated with the back side of the abutments and retaining walls, counterforts, and top of footer piles throughout the project corridor.” The walls will be taken down and the asbestos will be exposed.
  • The NYSDOT Tunnel will never connect Delaware and MLK Parks. This connection was at the core of Olmsted’s vision and work, and the community’s desire to once again reconnect the parks.
  • There will never be a Phase 2 (Scajaquada Parkway) or connecting the parkways gap – It’s now or never – as NYS will be in a financial deficit starting in 2024 ($9.1 Billion), 2025 ($19.1 Billion), 2026 ($13.4 Billion), equaling $36 BILLION over three years.
  • The NYSDOT Tunnel leaves out the Fruit Belt community.
  • The NYSDOT Tunnel does not support the State’s East Side Avenues Initiative to rebuild the business districts to create generational wealth in the community.
  • The NYSDOT Tunnel will violate the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) to reduce greenhouse gases (including those created by trucks and car exhaust) by 40% by 2030. The NYSDOT solution states the project will reduce emissions by only 0.04% overall, and particulate (PM2.5) emissions will actually increase by 6% at the Tunnel portal ends.
  • By now, Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) should have been put on the table to ensure residents were the primary recipients of public and private investment as a result of this project – particularly to combat gentrification and displacement. One Parkway Now! would bring that discussion to the forefront.
  • Due to these observations and concerns, the Community demands an Environmental Impact StatementEnvironmental Impact Statement Definition to come. (EISEnvironmental Impact Statement Definition to come.) Review for this project.

A Template to Follow

Rochester’s Inner Loop East – Before the Infill

Rochester Inner Loop East before infill. Source: Reconnect Rochester

Rochester’s Inner Loop East – After the Infill

Rochester’s South Union Street today. $200 Million in infill housing on the trench. Source: Google Maps

Here's how to support our efforts:

MEETINGS!

We meet twice each month, 5:45pm at the Delavan Grider Community Center

MAILING LIST!

We send emails to our supporters
two or three times a month

DONATE!

Support ESPC Directly
with a monetary donation

YARD SIGNS!

Show your support
in your front yard

LETTERS!

Tell officials what you think
about the project

EVENTS!

We host public events
in the community

JOIN THE FIGHT!

Become a Plaintiff in ESPC's suit against NYSDOT