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 Weekly Reader – August 31st, 2014

War and Peace Bridge


The news this week of delays on both sides of the Peace Bridge will surprise no one; that there is no enlightened approach to a solution is typical of how disastrously this problem has been handled.  To describe the situation in urban slang, a term beginning with the word “cluster” springs to mind.

We’ll leave it to your imaginations to supply the word that completes the term.  Hint: it’s four letters; one syllable.

Besides the traffic problem, there’s that pesky resultant air quality issue that won’t blow over; so the DEC–again–is busy studying what we already know–it’s deadly weather out there.  To what end remains to be seen.

Oh, and the state’s most visible representative here, Sam Hoyt, apologizes.  Was it something he said?

And no, we can’t vote him out–and we never could shame him.

At a Standstill

Back-ups at border crossings are longer, more frequent this summer

Delays at international crossings have grown longer and more frequent this summer, and this weekend’s waits should be no exception

This Buffalo News front page story breaks it all down: the when and where, the how and why of our international passage adventure.  Whether it’s staffing issues on one or both borders, peak crossing days and times, or the dangerous flood of overflow traffic into a densely populated neighborhood, this remains not just an “embarrassment” to our public officials but a deadly threat to the lives of our residents.

Will ‘progress’ bring change?

Currently, we’re certain of only two things: you will become stranded on a bridge; and no end is in sight.

A Better Tomorrow

Bridge authority should find better solutions to traffic
This Buffalo NewsLetter to the Editorcondemns the misguided approach to traffic management and posits the only sensible solution, as follows:Empty political promises don’t solve the problem. Until area residents, businesses and municipalities in both countries demand better, our quality of life and the polluted air we breathe remain hostage to an unregulated open-air factory that processes 1.6 million trucks annually, which in turn release an unknown volume of toxic diesel emissions that poison workers and neighborhoods.We don’t need a bigger U.S. plaza or another bridge to find “smart, fast ways to move cargo” across the border. With four bridges within 23 miles of each other, the United States and Canada can become a vibrant economic trading unit without creating more irreparable harm by merging the two bridge authorities and processing the commercial traffic at an environmentally safer crossing. After all, it’s passenger cars that carry people to Buffalo Bills games and the Galleria Mall, not trucks.

If government agencies made people a priority instead of political agendas, common sense would prevail and our traffic nightmare would disappear.

Intellectual Cleansing

Hoyt apologizes for ‘brainwashed’ comment

What’s in a word?  Well for Public Bridge Authority Chairman, Sam Hoyt, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s point man in the region, a truckload of criticism–after his use of the word for a form of torture to characterize the method employed to change the minds of Peace Bridge plaza expansion opponents became public, that is.

What was left for him but to apologize.  So he did, in a way: sending letters to Buffalo Common Council members in which he claims to have “made a mistake” in his “choice of words”.

Really?  Trouble is, the audio tapes on which the word is found contain many other words that clearly demonstrate the nefarious intent of Mr. Hoyt and his cohorts.  Those words and, more important, the actions associated with them, are not going away.

How does one respond to such a weak, pointless gesture?  According to Common Council member Joseph Golombek:

“It’s just paper, it’s just words on paper, unfortunately,” Golombek said. “The only thing that will make things better is if they move the trucks off the bridge.”

Do Over – DEC conducting new study of air quality near Peace Bridge

 This one to focus on airborne particles

They’re at it again: even though peer-reviewed studies already exist identifying the deadly health threat here from diesel emissions, the Department of Environmental Conservation is conducting yet another study of their own on West Side air quality after the deeply flawed failure of an earlier study.  What faith do we have they’ll get it right this time; and if they do, what will change?  Will the trucks go away?

At any rate:

The DEC said it will hold a public meeting to discuss the study and answer questions from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 15 in the Niagara Branch Library at 280 Porter Ave. A Spanish-language interpreter will assist.

Immaculate Deception

Deception marks Peace Bridge expansion plans

This Buffalo News Op-Editorial deeply questions the integrity of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in general and, specifically, relative to his and his appointees actions to deceive the public on Peace Bridge expansion.

According to the editorial:

…Western New Yorkers need look no further than the Peace Bridge for reasons to doubt their governor’s commitment to open and honest government. The Cuomo administration’s handling of expansion plans for the U.S. plaza reveals a pattern of deception and disregard of the law.

And if that weren’t enough, this post from the With All Due Respect blog, (SAM HOYT’S APOLOGY FOR HIS “BRAINWASH” COMMENT RAISES QUESTIONS FOR HIS BOSS–GOV. ANDREW CUOMO) continues down that path, drilling the governor with a series of questions in the wake of Hoyt’s letter (a copy of which is included in the post) and other developments.

We’re awaiting the governor’s response.

Missing Parts

In our haste to start the Holiday, we neglected to provide links to two of the articles referenced in this most recent Weekly Reader.

So, for you completists out there (both of you), here they are:

DEC conducting new study of air quality near Peace Bridge. This one to focus on airborne particles (link here)


Hoyt apologizes for ‘brainwashed’ comment (link here)

End Shot