With Federal Review of Robert Moses Parkway North Project Underway, Higgins Calls for Swift Action on Removal
As the community gathered to participate in the federal review process for a project to remove the Robert Moses Parkway North Section, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) continued his call for swift action to fund the project and bring it to construction. The public session held this week is a requirement of the Federal Highway Administration as a component of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process.
“This community has discussed Robert Moses Parkway removal for decades,” said Higgins. “Niagara Falls is done waiting; we need to move with urgency to give this City back its waterfront.”
In January of 2013, in the first days after assuming representation of the City of Niagara Falls, Higgins called on the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to pay for Robert Moses Parkway removal and laid out his argument in a detailed document titled: “The Niagara Falls Waterfront: NYPA’s Responsibility for the Robert Moses Parkway.” He argues that NYPA planned the Parkway, built it, evicted homeowners to seize the land and bears the responsibility for fixing it – including financing its removal.
Higgins later pointed out the community injustice created by Robert Moses Parkway when he stood with Mrs. Mamie Simonson, whose home was taken against her will by NYPA in 1959 and demolished to allow for construction of the Parkway.
In January of 2014, in a victory for local residents, the NYPA Board of Trustees approved $2 million toward environmental and engineering plans for removal of the North Section of the Robert Moses Parkway. Still construction costs for the north section have yet to be identified.
Funding for the north section of the Robert Moses Parkway must be in place before the project receives a Record of Decision from the Federal Highway Administration, which is the final step in providing a green light for construction.
Construction on a separate project along the southern end of the Robert Moses Parkway started in November of 2014 and is currently underway. The over $18 million project received more than $1 million in federal funding and will provide better access to the Niagara Falls waterfront and public parkspace inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted’s design.