Humboldt Parkway restoration this year?

Advocates hope high-ranking members of the NYS Legislature can get things rolling.
Posted at 6:58 PM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-24 18:58:31-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Since 1958, the Humboldt Parkway neighborhood has been split down the middle by the Kensington Expressway (Rt. 33).

The expressway was supposed to improve traffic flow into the city from Cheektowaga.

Instead, it caused the loss of two (2) miles of public lawns designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, ruined neighborhood businesses and destroyed property values.

"That is the heart of the city where people come through everyday. It needs to be restored," said Stephanie Geter, President of the Restore our Community Coalition (ROCC). Link to ROCC

Geter said residents in the affected area have been trying to re-unite the neighborhood since the 1970's.

In 2012, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) released the "Kensington Expressway Concept Design Study" that looked at options such as putting a roof over the Kensington and covering it with landscaping.

Money was also allocated for further study in 2016, explained Geter, who said the community is still waiting to hear the results.

"Isn't that crazy. It is now 2019," added Geter.

7 Eyewitness News contacted NYSDOT to find out what is going on and received the following statement from Joe Morrissey, NYSDOT Director of Communications: "We are actively looking into options to enhance the transportation facilities within the community served by and within the Kensington Expressway corridor and expect to have more information in the near future."

Stephanie Geter is now hoping that two local lawmakers, appointed to high-ranking positions in the NYS Legislature, can get things moving.

NYS Senator Timothy Kennedy (D) was recently appointed Chair of the NYS Senate Transportation Committee.

In his agenda for 2019, Kennedy said the following: "In my hometown of Buffalo, we need to begin fixing the damage caused by what is now the Kensington Expressway-- a highway that splits the East Side down the middle, like a scar, fracturing a community and destroying a historic parkway in the process."

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes is now the new Democratic majority leader and Speaker of the Assembly.

Her office told 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly that even though she is the new majority leader, that will not "green-light the project" because federal funds are also needed.

You can hear more in the attached video report.