BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The debate is familiar to many Buffalo residents: What should be done with NY—198.
The discussion about the future of the Scajaquada Expressway has been going on for years. The Greater Buffalo Niagara Transportation Council is looking for public input on four plans to redesign the roadway.
New York State stopped working on new plans for the 198 in 2018, leaving it to the metropolitan transportation council to craft new proposals and to consider public comment.
“As people look at that and provide us comments, not whether they pick [a specific plan], but what do they like about them. Then, can we build this over the summer into a combined scenario that would meet everybody’s interests and desires,” Hal Morse, project manager at Greater Buffalo Niagara Transportation Council, told News 4.
The four plans include full expressway removal, partial removal through Delaware Park, replacing the expressway with an at-grade road, and making minor adjustments to the existing road.
Funding for the project is already in place, but additional funds from the infrastructure packages at the Federal and state levels could be used.
The Scajaquada was built in the 1960s to connect the 190 and NY—33, but it bisects Delaware Park, which was not the vision of the park architect, Fredrick Law OImsted.
“It restores the original vision of the Olmsted Parkway System. It has ability to connect our communities in a more integrated way,” Cindy Wood from GObike added.
Other residents say removing the road entirely would drive traffic elsewhere and create economic opportunities for neighborhoods in the area.
“Frankly I think it would be an economic development boon to Amherst St. to E. Delavan and W. Delavan Ave. to East and W. Ferry St. to put traffic back on those streets,” John Walsh, who has lived in the area on and off for 50 years, said.
Jackie Diggs says her parents bought her house on Humboldt Parkway in 1965 and she remembers what it was like before the expressway.
“When it was the park area. There was no expressway. There wasn’t any of that so trying to see what they are going back to is interesting,” Diggs continued.
Other residents who live near the expressway are not sure about the road ahead.
“I thought it was very convenient, but I’m not sure why the change and why now,” Myzette Howell said. “I’m hoping that this project will bring everyone closer together. It’s time we need something really good to happen to our city.”
Public comment on the four proposals is still open. Share your thoughts here.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.