BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW)—Buffalo neighbors are being heard as part of a major renovation of the Queen City’s Kensington Expressway.
East Buffalo was divided when the highway was built, but the state is now trying to make up for it by spending $1 billion to transform the Humboldt Park neighborhood, calling it a “game changer.”
Buffalo resident Grace Tate said, “I’m going to stay hopeful that when this is over, I’ll feel some kind of healing.”
Grace Tate is the voice of the community you want to hear. She grew up in the Humboldt Parkway area before the Kensington Expressway was built.
A Buffalo woman said she remembers how the highway ripped apart and destroyed beautiful urban areas after it was built in the 1960s.
“I don’t think this project will ever be able to put things back together,” Tate replied.
The public gathered at the Buffalo Museum of Science on Tuesday for two separate public sessions to review a New York State Department of Transportation project to tunnel part of a highway and restore a parkway over it.
“I may be a little skeptical about it, but I’m sure this will help improve the look of the community and hopefully revitalize some of the neighborhoods,” Tate replied.
“It’s a good start for the community to come together, but I think we need to do more,” said Buffalo resident Steve Patrick.
The DOT will host two meetings on Tuesday from 11am to 2pm and a second meeting from 5pm to 8pm as part of its ongoing public engagement process. Information about current progress, options, and community ideas for this project is posted. An “open house” setting allows community members to visit several stations with project leaders and answer questions.
“What do you expect from this project?” Buckley asked. “We want to connect both sides of the Humboldt Parkway, make it easier for individuals to come and go, and make traffic smoother.
“We need more income.
Steve and Debra Patrick said they have lived on Humboldt Parkway for about 20 years.
These residents say they need more support for East Buffalo businesses in the Humboldt area.
They also want roads and sidewalks, which State Transportation Secretary Marie-Thérèse Dominguez said was just added to the project. That will include a new roundabout on Best Street, she said.
“Not only will it allow traffic to move, but it will also allow people and cyclists to move through green spaces. That’s what we mean when we talk about reconnecting communities,” Dominguez explained.
DOT is also trying not to confuse property owners as plans progress.
“We recognize that we want to do everything we can to preserve the rights of all property owners, and we are looking at ways we can minimize the impact and impact of the project itself,” Dominguez replied.
The environmental assessment of the expressway project is also ongoing.
I asked the Commissioner when he could expect construction to begin. She said the earliest signs of construction she could begin at the end of 2024.