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The following comments are from concerned members of the public to the Federal Highway Administration & the New York State Department of Transportation regarding the NY Gateway Connections Improvement Project to the US Peace Bridge Plaza.

The public comment period has been extended. Please make your voices heard by submitting comments on the project scope by July 22, 2013 to:

– via mail:

Beau Duffy PIN-5760.80
Office of Communications
New York State Department of Transportation
50 Wolf Road
Albany, NY 12232

– or via email: NYGATEWAY@DOT.NY.GOV

  • For a Columbus Parkway Resident:

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

Please accept these comments as part of the scoping phase of the Peace Bridge Gateway project in Buffalo, New York.

1. I object to the insufficient notice of the presentation, beginning of scoping process and comment period. I only happened upon the notice in the Buffalo News by chance as it was buried in the classified section and only appeared a few times. There was a postcard to our house, but that was quite late relative to the date of the presentation. We have working families with children in this neighborhood who need to make arrangements to attend something like this. Also, I do not believe the postcard nor the ad in the Buffalo News was in anything other than English. This neighborhood is one of the most diverse in the County, with many new immigrants and a large Spanish speaking only population. Putting a notice in English that a Spanish interpreter will be present at the presentation does no good to someone who cannot read English and therefore cannot read the notice that once they get to the presentation an interpreter will be there. If they could read the notice about the interpreter, they would not need the interpreter.

2. I object that there are no elevations provided to see exactly what the proposed ramping will look like. This especially needed as the information provided says that there is limited width to place additional ramps. If the ramping has to be as high or higher than existing ramps, the view from the Front towards the waterfront will be further and unacceptably obscured. One of the presenters stated that the ramps do not now interfere with the view; that is simply not true. The scoping process must include the effect on the Front as a waterfront park – as Frederick Law Olmsted intended it to be.

3. I object that the Buffalo Olmsted Park Conservancy was consulted, especially before the neighborhood. I believe none of the Olmsted board members live in the neighborhood and the executive director does not even live in the City of Buffalo. They do not use Front Park. The neighborhood’s concerns should be taken into account primarily.

4. I object to the segmentation of this project from other projects planned at the Peace Bridge which have been much publicized. The bridge widening, the changes to the customs house and the expansion of the bridge plaza should be treated as one improvement project along with this one. The total impact of all the projects taken together will be greater than the sum of its parts. Segmentation is a violation of state and federal law.

5. I object that the alternative of moving the trucks off of the Peace Bridge is not being explored as an alternative. Much of the negative impact on the environment, Front Park, neighborhood streets and neighborhood health, and the inefficiency of the current traffic patterns, would be better addressed by allowing passenger vehicles only at the Peace Bridge crossing.

6. I object that the analysis of this project either alone or with the other projects listed above does not include the impact of any improvements on neighborhood health. In a White Paper co-signed by NYSDOT in 2012, it was stated that the State does not know where the trucks come from that travel on the I-190 south of the Peace Bridge. This statement was made in response to neighbor concerns that the trucks coming off or going to the Peace Bridge were responsible for the high rates of asthma along that portion of the I-190. Yet the information presented as part of the instant scoping process showed that over 80% of the trucks coming to or leaving from the Peace Bridge do in fact travel the portion of the I-190 south of the bridge. Thus, some 3000 trucks per day can be linked to the Peace Bridge and also to the horrendous asthma rates just south of the bridge. And we also know that, according to a Homeland Security study which the neighbors provided to NYSDOT last summer, any increase in efficiency at the border crossing will within a few years be wiped out by increased traffic. So increasing efficiency at the Peace Bridge will make it a more attractive crossing, causing more trucks to select it as a crossing, causing more illness. If you are reviewing the current state of the Peace Bridge, it is incumbent on you to consider ways to IMPROVE neighborhood health, not make it worse. There is no scientific basis for the claim that moving the traffic on and off the plaza approximately one block to the west will have any appreciable effect. Increasing truck traffic along the southbound I-190, placing more than 3000 trucks per day directly between the winds off Lake Erie and the HUD Hope VI housing which borders that section of the I-190 will have a deleterious effect, as will maintaining the status quo.

7. Putting so much traffic on to the south west corner of Front Park is extremely dangerous for neighborhood children. This area is on the route all children must take to get to LaSalle Park with its splash pad and pool. Children will not be able to navigate a traffic circle safely, nor an intersection with the amounts of traffic that would result. The presentation materials also do not show the athletic facility that D’Youville College is going to build across Porter Avenue from that corner of Front Park. This will also increase traffic, confusion and danger.

8. I have comments related to the impact of this project on historical resources in the area, but I have requested to be appointed a Section 106 consulting party and assume I will be so appointed. If I am not appointed, please advise so I may submit further comments.

Thank you for your consideration.

  • For a Pennsylvania Street Resident:

I foresee serious problems of back-ups onto Porter Ave at the new proposed ramp from porter onto the peace bridge.

The removing on the Baird road entrance point will put more traffic onto the existing ramp at the I-190 nb adding to the likelihood of longer and more frequent back-ups.

There exists today back-ups onto the existing ramp from I-190nb to the peace bridge, where the back up extents below where the likely new merge will occur from entering traffic from Porter.

Since there will be a definite increase of vehicles using the proposed only entrance to the peace bridge,

The scope of the review should include the likelihood of back-ups on this ramp:

How often and how deep.

How often and how deep, where the traffic will back-up onto the I-190 itself – include safety issues of such occurrences and mitigation responses.

How often and how deep, where the traffic will back-up onto Porter Ave – include safety issues of such occurrences and mitigation responses. Also include of such back-ups onto Porter on how back-ups will effect bicycle, pedestrian and vehicular traffic accessing the waterfront properties will be negatively effected.

Thank-you

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