Build the Damn West River Bike Path Already!
by Peter A. Reese - posted 10:36 pm, October 10, 2016
After attending a meeting of pro-Parkway partisans on Thursday night, taking a few drives, and finding out that there was a simultaneous pro-Bike Path meeting last Thursday, I decided to film a drive-by of the subject park lands. Councilman Mike Madigan tells me there is no way to build a bike path on the River, but instead wants one between two redundant two lane roadways. Apparently, Supervisor McMurray favors converting the existing Parkway into a bike path, but the Parkway really isn’t on the river either.
I am a biker, a scenic walker, and a cross country skier. If I am going to transport to Grand Island for any such activity, I want to be on the Niagara River, not trapped between two roads, staring at some houses. I can stare at houses in Amherst, North Buffalo or Clarence. I don’t think anyone would build the West River Parkway today. Neither the current pro environmental, anti-automobile attitude, or the traffic load would allow it. But the Parkway is already there and a riverside bike path is not. If the Parkway is a scenic route, slowing it down to 35 MPH from the present 55 would make it even more enjoyable. But that won’t make it a safe pedestrian walkway.
My generation sent a man to the Moon and brought him back safely to Earth, using what now seems like Stone Age technology. Therefore, in an effort to inspire the current local and state leadership, I have set my Parkway drive-by video to music and sound from the movie, The Right Stuff. I begin with the clip of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 which was built just across the river in Wheatfield. Click the movie box to see what the current situation is like from Buckhorn Island Park to the houses north of Beaver Island. I think there is no real reason why a bike path cannot be built between the Parkway and the river, but you decide for yourself. (If you look closely, at about 1:50 of the drive-by, you can see that there already is a bike path along the river for some distance.)
Conversations with West River Parkway Homeowner’s Association President, Frank Greco, reveal that Parkway land owners have state permits for temporary docks and vegetation management.
West Parkway Homeowners President Frank Greco
Mr. Greco also demonstrated that the river bank was not conducive to public access in many places and he produced documentation for the claim that permanent docks can be maintained by those owners “and their linear descendants” for 99 years from July 31, 1991.
All of the above lead me to ask: What is all the brouhaha about? Isn’t the simple solution building a bike path/multipurpose walkway along the river? Where are state bureaucratic and elected officials on this matter? What about Chris Jacobs and Amber Small? Where is Assemblyman John Ceretto? What is short time Senator Mark Panepinto’s position?
Somehow I have the feeling that, if someone would just buy a keg of beer at the local fire hall and call a meeting, all this could be worked out pretty easily. What am I missing?