Frequently Asked Questions

Real Answers From East Side Parkways Coalition!

Are the plaintiffs in the lawsuits seeking damages?

NO!

While our lawsuits can help claims for damages if we succeed, they do not contain requests for damages.

With NYSDOTNYSDOT New York State Department of Transportation’s Tunnel, is there a Phase Two to extend Olmsted’s Parkway?

NO!

Once the Tunnel is built, there can be no Phase Two that actually restores Humboldt Parkway! Yet, on March 28, 2024, Governor Hochul announced the go-ahead for the Tunnel Project, including announcement of a Phase Two to be led by GBNRTCGBNRTC Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council. Unfortunately, even if there is a Phase Two, studying Bicycle Lanes ‘re-connecting’ Delaware and MLKMLK Park Martin Luther King Park, formerly Humboldt Park., the Fruit Belt will still endure the pollution and noise of the Expressway. And physical impediments make it impossible to extend the Tunnel to the North.

NYSDOT has only said “The Kensington Expressway Project does not preclude the consideration of potential future projects…” But, after 15 years of study, where is the documentation—estimates, drawings, and timelines—for the feasibility of any potential Phase Two that would actually restore Humboldt Parkway? NYSDOT would already have some version of that study if it were possible to extend the Tunnel to the North!

The Governor’s announcement must be seen as SPIN, designed to greenwash the continuing existence of a highway that has been killing residents of disadvantaged communities for six decades. Plus, NY State is projected to be in a financial deficit of $36 billion over the next three years, so where would the money come from to help the Fruit Belt?

With the Tunnel, can MLK + Delaware Parks be connected by an Olmsted Parkway?

NO!

Only full highway removal restores Humboldt Parkway – a park in front of every home. The proposed Tunnel will effectively cement in place that MLK and Delaware Parks can never be connected by a Parkway because Scajaquada Creek is buried five feet below the Route 33 roadway surface immediately to the north of the proposed tunnel. The Scajaquada Tunnel, an 8-foot diameter sewage main line, crosses even deeper than that. Per Buffalo Sewer Authority, the top of the Tunnel would need to go as deep as 60 feet down to cross these lines.

Is the original Olmsted design the first ever, fully connected, City-wide Park and Parkway System in the history of the United States?

YES! (and possibly a UNESCO World Heritage Site!)

Our Park System is an international landscape treasure. Let’s fully restore it!

Will Humboldt Parkway even be partially restored by NYSDOT’s proposed Tunnel?

NO!

This would be a replica parkway with a twelve acre green roof including waterproofing membranes, drainage and insulation layers with a life expectancy of 30-100 years. DDRDDR Duty to Document and Report / EAEA Environmental Assessment, Appendix 12 Tunnel Structure Type, Section 5.2.3 indicates “concerns” tree roots could infiltrate these layers.

NYSDOT’s recent public claims that this will be a 100-year Tunnel are directly contradicted by page 121 of the DDR/EAEA Environmental Assessment which says there is “…a 75+ year design life for the Tunnel Structure…” All this means the proposed NYSDOT Tunnel is certain to replay the nightmare of cutting down mature Humboldt trees at least once more for an unlucky future generation.

Can NYSDOT take away the money and send it downstate?

NO!

NYSDOT is so behind on their maintenance that the massive existing concrete retaining walls can’t be repaired and must be completely replaced. Three bridges are twenty years beyond their “expected service life.” See page 22 of the DDR/EA. Replacement of this infrastructure will cost as much as $700 million (vs $985 million for the Tunnel). The money is not going anywhere.

Will it cost more or less to remove highways and fully restore Humboldt Parkway?

It will cost much less for highway removal!

Considering Cost Estimates of $80 million per mile to remove Rochester’s Northern Loop, removal and full restoration of Humboldt Parkway could be as low as one-third the Cost of the Tunnel.

Will it take longer to remove Route 33 and fully restore the Parkway?

NO!

Construction of the Tunnel is projected to take four years, so that might mean six years. An EISEnvironmental Impact Statement Definition to come. would take two years, followed by three years to fill it in. Thus, it could take less time to connect Delaware + MLK Parks than to cement in place that the two Parks would never be connected by an Olmsted Parkway!

How much would the maintenance be for the proposed Tunnel?

$5 million / year!

NYSDOT provides this estimate on page 145 of the DDR/EA. The breakdown is: Tunnel Systems $2.5 million / year; Tunnel Structure $2.45 million / year; Yearly Operating Costs $100,000.

Will there be more or less pollution coming out the ends of the Tunnel?

Much more!

Air Quality at Tunnel Build Alternative ends is made worse by focused Portal Exhaust Plumes. NYSDOT’s DDR/EA indicates Particulate Matter PM2.5 will increase 6% “near the Tunnel exit portals” (page 201), and Plumes will extend 300-meters (page 22 Appendix D7 Air Quality). The 6% PM2.5 increase seems like a low estimate; upon review of the Tables in Appendix D7, it seems the actual increase in PM2.5 may be more in the range of 25%-40%, and CO may increase by as much as 138%.

Will the vehicle exhaust coming out the ends of the Tunnel be filtered?

NO!

The pollution plumes will be blown out the portal ends. Filtration was removed from the proposed Tunnel when NYSDOT gave up on promoting their “fake houses.” To the best of our knowledge, the first time NYSDOT officially announced there would be no filtration was at the July 2023 Stakeholders Meeting. The proposed lack of filtration was confirmed in the 9-12-23 DDR/EA.

If Route 33 traffic is redistributed, will pollution increase on other city streets?

Answer: Folks are suffering now along the 33

This assertion has been repeated over and over by proponents of the Tunnel, and in NYSDOT documents. The assertion explicitly implies it’s OK to sacrifice best health outcomes for current residents living close to Route 33 (the Fruit Belt and folks between Sidney Street to East Delavan) in areas that will not be improved by the Tunnel, or worse, for residents at portal ends that will experience increased levels of pollution.

The first order of business should be to take care of people in the Disadvantaged Communities surrounding the Kensington Expressway who are experiencing Heart Disease in the 90th percentile, and Asthma and Low Life Expectancy in the 95th percentile nationwide per EPA’s EJ Screen Tool.

Moreover, taking into account the widespread future deployment of Miovision—timed-light technology already being installed in Western New York—the ‘threat’ of increased pollution on other City streets is an entirely unsubstantiated statement by Tunnel supporters and NYSDOT.

Are there Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) in NYSDOT’s Draft EA?

No!

At this point, NYSDOT indicates these will be negotiated in the future. ESP advocates for world-class CBAs to be negotiated within an EIS process, and a series of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) agreed to as part of that process.

Did NYSDOT ever conduct a long-term Adverse Health Effects Survey?

NO!

A thorough and impartial epidemiological Adverse Health Effects Study is required to survey people who have lived along the highway to document what kind of pollution-related ailments residents have suffered over the last sixty years (asthma, heart issues, high blood pressure, COPD, pre-term birth, various cancers, and low life expectancy). This study needs to be conducted before the project moves forward any further. The critical need for this baseline study is one of the most important reasons an Environmental Impact StatementEnvironmental Impact Statement Definition to come. (EIS) should be required.

Can the existing City RadialsRadials The main streets of Buffalo that radiate from the downtown core. South Park, Seneca, Clinton, William, Broadway, Genesee, Sycamore, Kensington. take all the current Route 33 traffic?

Yes!

UB Small Built Works mapped Route 33 traffic onto the existing City Radials, with capacity to spare! Feasibility of this redistribution was independently confirmed by a consulting traffic engineer.

Where were you all these years??

Right here!

Folks in ESP and Jes Breathe and We Are Women Warriors have been here all along. NYSDOT’s DDR/EA has only been published since September 12, 2023.

Is the East Side Parkways Coalition for or against the Project?

East Side Parkways Coalition is for the Project!

We support the Project! The first Phase should fully restore Humboldt Parkway to reconnect Delaware and MLK Parks. We’re against the Tunnel for many practical reasons itemized on this website.

Do the folks who support filling it in, support ROCCROCC Restore Our Community Coalition’s original vision?

Yes!

ROCC (Restore Our Community CoalitionROCC Restore Our Community Coalition) originally called for filling it in and fully connecting Delaware and MLK Parks.

Also, the Chair of ROCC is quoted in a WBFO article from 8-4-23, saying we need to “stop the road from killing us.” But the proposed Tunnel does not help residents of the Fruit Belt, nor residents from Sidney to East Delavan. In fact, people living within the exhaust plume areas at each end face the very real possibility of getting sicker faster.

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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