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War and Peace Bridge

Peace in our time?

After the frantic posturing of the past several weeks, the combatants have adopted an air of detente: peace talks have resumed;  the pre-clearance experiment not only appears to be safe, but legislation to make it permanent was proposed; and most important, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has suddenly emerged as a neo-Neville Chamberlain in all his other dealings while remaining mute on the effort to dissolve the Public Bridge Authority.

So while the combatants move beyond combat to conciliation, and much of the media play catch-up in their coverage, still emphasizing the acrimony of what is now emerging as an ersatz conflict, the only real casualty in this dirty war remains, as always, the beleaguered neighborhood that hosts this farce.  Both sides want the same thing: bigger plaza, more trucks.  That may be a sign of progress to some, but it will always only really mean more sickness and death for the good residents of Prospect Hill.

Could a breakthrough be at hand?

Does it matter?

Read on.

Scoping Supplement

Peace Bridge Access: 3 Ways of Looking at a Public Meeting

This Artvoice article provides additionalcoverage of the New York State Department of Transportation “Gateway” project to improve traffic access onto and off of the Peace Bridge plaza, with comment from neighborhood activists and information on how to submit your own comments on this highly suspect and nebulous project.

In addition (and this information has been hard to come by), if you wish to be a consulting partner on this project, you must submit your request in writing or via email to:

NY Gateway Connections Improvement Project to the US Peace Bridge Plaza
New York State Department of Transportation – Design Office
100 Seneca Street
Buffalo, New York 14203

or

nygateway@dot.ny.gov

But hurry; deadline for consulting parties is June 25, 2013.

Public meeting set to discuss Scajaquada Expressway improvements

And speaking of the suddenly ubiquitousDOT, here is an article  on an upcoming public meeting for  a long-sought project: improvements to the scar of a roadway that cuts through Delaware Park, which includes this telling comment from noted urban planning consultant John Norquist:

“The New York DOT seems to look at the City of Buffalo as a great place to drive trucks fast. They view it as a place to drive through. It has no value unto itself. They look at it like it’s an obstacle. Like it’s a rotten place that they just need to blow through as fast as possible. And they need to stop. Is it really important for somebody who wants to drive a truck from Hamilton, Ontario to Cleveland, to drive really fast through Buffalo? Is that Buffalo’s role?” Norquist asks, with an ironic laugh. “People in the City of Buffalo need to stop letting them do this. They need to show up at the meeting.”

That explains a lot.

P.S.:  The improvement alternative pictured above was rejected by the DOT as “unsafe”.

For what?

Three by Air

WBEN Radio Interviews Bridge Battle Principals

News Radio 930 devoted a good portionof the early week to coverage of the Peace Bridge issue.

First, and most significant, is this interview with Public Bridge Authority co-chair Anthony Annunziata, which is highjacked by a tandem of Peace Bridge neighborhood leaders calling in to challenge him and providing, for once, a refreshing supply of facts and reality.  The callins start at the 18 minute, 50 second mark in the interview.

Also interviewed separately were New York State Senator Mark Grisanti, sponsor of the legislation to dissolve the bridge authority and build a “bigger and better plaza”, in attack mode, here as well as a softer, gentler Rep. Brian Higgins here.

The Last Battle

Peace Bridge battle stirs Canadian threat to fight in court

Envoy resists N.Y. effort to dissolve joint agency

In this article, Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer warns New York to back off, predicting a contentious court battle otherwise; while, at the same time, subliminally extending his hand in friendship, providing a taste of what’s to come in the news this week.

Foreign Press

BORDER: Canada may take New York State to court overattempt to dissolve Peace Bridge agency

Canadian coverage of the same story here and here (Gary Doer issues warning to New York state in Peace Bridge dispute) sensationalizing the “blistering brawl” between the waring parties.

Giving Peace Talks a Chance

Cuomo says talks with Canadian officials continue

WBFO radio coverage further hinting at compromise, with follow up here (Cuomo administration hoping to resolve Peace Bridge dispute)

Make it Last: Schumer proposal shifts cargo inspections at Peace Bridge to Canada

In this article, and this one fromdownstate, Sen. Charles E. Schumer proposes legislation to make pre-clearance of commercial vehicles permanent before the first truck has even been processed; employing all manner of cliche to praise the Dept. of Homeland Security’s decision to experiment with the program here.

Peace Bridge 2020? – War and the Peace Bridge

In what passes for humor in Albany, this Times Union fantasia presents a Peace Bridge of the future still in conflict. 

The Funnies – More From Adam Zyglis

                      

Signifying Nothing: Peace Bridge fight close to being resolved

Finally, in these two rapid fire articles–here and here (with the cliff-hanger title Bridge meeting ends without a deal ), the situation between the combatants goes from ‘No Win’ to ‘Win-Win’–and ‘Lose-Lose’ for the neighborhood.  Expect them all back to business-as-usual soon enough, with concrete, Duty-Free, and diesel once again dominating the discussion.

Let’s just call this brief interlude of hostility a ‘Breather’ from the real work of destroying Buffalo’s West Side.

Next time…

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