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Plans for Scajaquada Corridor one step closer to becoming reality

Scajaquada Expy
Posted at 1:50 AM, Jan 25, 2023

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Plans for the Scajaquada Corridor are one step closer to becoming reality.

The Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council has now submitted its preferred design scenario for The 198.

7 News' Pheben Kassahun followed up with one of the key organizations behind the new plan, to see what it will mean for future of the Corridor.

Buffalo Niagra Waterkeeper executive director, Jill Jedlicka said, "What we've been hearing from all of our constituents and our the partnering organizations that have been at the table in this design process for many years is that the GBNRTC got this right."

PREVIOUS STORY: Rethinking the Scajaquada Expressway

It is a plan for the Scajaquada region that local environmental groups are applauding.

The preferred four scenarios are:

  • Status Quo+
  • At-grade Roadway
  • Partial Expressway Removal
  • Full expressway Removal

*You can read about these scenarios in detail via this PDF.

Jedlicka told Kassahun that it strikes a great balance between the transportation needs but also the quality of life for buffalo residents.

"For example, the Scajaquada Creek Corridor, the creek itself has been so manipulated by this transportation system. There's sections of the creek where you have the roadways right in the creek and in the creek bed itself. The creek has been rerouted, it's been buried. So, this kind of flipped the script a little bit, and it puts the creek in the community first," she added.

She said the community is fully behind this plan, which is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.

"The next step is to hopefully encourage our elective leaders and our community to continue to rally around this vision. We want to stay active an involved at the table, in the design and implementation process because we can do so much more with this vision if we do it together," Jedlicka said.

New York Senator Sean Ryan has been one of the supporters of this plan. His team releasing this statement to 7 News Tuesday:

"The future of the Scajaquada will impact Buffalo's neighborhoods for many generations to come, so it is incredibly important that we get it right. I am heartened to see that the proposed plan focuses on all types of road users and prioritizes the creation of a more interconnected community. After 20 years of deadlock, we are finally moving forward with a plan that is well thought out, research-based, and – most importantly – built on community feedback. I commend the GBNRTC on their thorough process and thank the thousands of Western New Yorkers who helped shape this plan for making their voices heard."

Senator Sean Ryan
New York State

Congressman Brian Higgins also released a statement to 7 News on Tuesday:

"Infrastructure holds great power in its ability to bring people together or pull people apart. Many of the transportation decisions of the past took people away from our cities, cut people off from our waterfronts, devastated our parks, and divided our neighborhoods. The plan advanced by the GBNRTC, with the input of residents and stakeholders, puts into view a reimagined Scajaquada corridor that embraces opportunities for multi-modal transportation and connectivity. While there are many steps involved in any infrastructure project, this lays the groundwork for funding opportunities and meaningful change moving forward."

Congressman Brian Higgins

Their comments echoing those of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy:

"The intensive 18-month planning effort undertaken by GBNRTC's Region Central initiative has been remarkable, and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is exceedingly grateful for the work that has gone into it. The Conservancy is encouraged by the progress and proud to be part of the SCC and this collaborative public process. The Conservancy is in support of the preferred mobility scenario recommended and believes that along with further planning and future design recommendations, we can bring a restored vision of corridor connectivity for our citizens, greenspaces, and city. Our historic Olmsted park system and the surrounding communities have suffered since these expressway divides occurred, and we are grateful we can now begin to focus on restoration. We look forward to the next phase in restoring Olmsted's design intent for quality of life, social and environmental justice, and equitable park access for all people."

Stephanie Crockett
Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy Executive Director

So, what's next?

The GBNRTC's plans to turn its focus to the long-term benefits this project cold have on the region.

Read more about those here.