National Association of Olmsted Parks Supports SCC Design Plan

National Association For Olmsted Parks

August 22, 2017

Mr. Craig Mozrall, PE
NYSDOT Region 5
100 Seneca Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

Dear Mr. Mozrall:

The National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) is writing in support of Mayor Brown, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and all Buffalo citizens who are seeking a redesign and new planning approach for the NYS Route 198 Corridor Project (Scajaquada Expressway) as currently promoted by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). Since its construction in the 1960s, at the height of the national urban highway boom that destroyed the livability of so many of our American cities, the Scajaquada Expressway has detracted from, and adversely impacted, a nationally significant historic designed landscape resource: The 150-year-old park and boulevard system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Buffalo was the first city in the nation where Olmsted and Vaux were able to achieve much of their intended park-parkway designs as armature to shape responsible city growth. Over the past decades, Buffalo leaders have made great improvements to protect, rehabilitate and enhance this timeless vision and to thread the experience of landscape and nature throughout the city as an amenity to the urban environment.

Without consideration of Buffalo’s built heritage, the Scajaquada Expressway as originally located, deleteriously severed the scenic integrity of the 19th century Delaware park and its larger setting, robbing citizens of the intended restorative recreational values. Now is the time to thoughtfully step back from a failing infrastructure project to a corridor project that considers the natural and cultural assets that Buffalo’s earlier city leaders envisioned as beneficial and accessible to all in this corridor. A corridor improvement plan that does not critically evaluate the impact of the redesigned road in the context of the city’s investments in, and enjoyment of, its cultural and recreational institutions will result in more than a missed opportunity. Millions of capital dollars will be spent on corridor improvements that will fail to provide residents, park users, and motorists alike an experience of nature and design that city leaders over the past centuries have promoted. Such spending will also fail to support the urban revival around which Buffalo is currently rebounding.

Thank you for considering these concerns.

Lucy Lawliss, FASLA

Arleyn Levee, Hon. ASLA
Co-Chairs

cc: Matthew J. Driscoll, Commissioner NYDOT;
Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State Governor;
Byron Brown, City of Buffalo Mayor;
Stephanie Crockatt, Executive Director BOPC

www.olmsted.org
1200 18th Street NW Suite 700 Washington, D.C. 20036
PHONE: 202-223-9113 INFO@NAOP.ORG

 

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