Protectioneering

From the Buffalo News, with respect to a State DOT plan to get traffic moving better around the Peace Bridge and out of Front Park:

Maria Lehman, the state’s project manager for the Peace Bridge, said after the formal presentation that construction would take about a year, would cost $20 million to $22 million and would be paid for by state and federal funds.

She added that all the land involved in the project is owned by the DOT or the Thruway.

“The ingress and egress as it stands right now is very complicated,” Lehman said. “It looks like spaghetti. When you have a backup at the intersection and trucks are backed up, it’s very difficult to get in and out.”

After the presentation, Tim Tielman, executive director of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo, History, Architecture and Culture, questioned the need for the project.

“This situation has been there since the Thruway was constructed,” he said. “There’s been a 2 percent annual decline in traffic on the bridge since the ’60s. In the light of that, wouldn’t it be a better use of public funds to not do this at all?”

From January – May of 2013, 2.2 million vehicles crossed the Peace Bridge.  In 2003, 7.2 million vehicles crossed. Traffic eroded slowly  until the economic meltdown of 2009, when it dipped below 6 million. In 2010, it began to rebound, rising above 6 million. It increased again in 2011, and stayed essentially even in 2012. Chances are that traffic would increase if there was more capacity, quicker screening, more lanes. Backups at the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge during any peak time are utterly outrageous, and trucks can’t cross anywhere else.  Incidentally, the Q-L Bridge was built in 1962, which would have alleviated some of the traffic volume at the Peace Bridge. I don’t see why rejuvenating the park and making the traffic pattern less complicated shouldn’t happen. 

Looks like the State DOT didn’t pay its protection money. (Reference here and here)

One comment

  • Ridgewaycynic2013

    Get rid of that $@&*ing U.S. side duty free, and hire more REAL support staff to keep that signal at the 190 ramp / Busti merge from gridlocking. I can see the former idea is probably a ‘no can do’ (too many were bought off), but investing in traffic control staff might ease things until this new stop gap DOT plan is implemented.

Leave a Reply