Rep. Higgins pushing for pedestrian access to Canada on Whirlpool Bridge

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Yesterday, Ontario’s transportation minister announced track upgrades and a new train facility in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The upgrades also include new tracks and routes to Toronto. Now, elected leaders on the U.S. side, are looking how to take advantage of it.

The focus is on the Whirlpool Bridge – which connects the U.S. to Canada, and has the potential to tap into millions of travelers a year.

U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins, said, “Those passengers that are coming from Toronto and visiting Niagara Falls, Ontario, can also visit Niagara Falls, New York, and be able to enjoy all of the natural beauty that Niagara Falls offers.”

The whirlpool bridge on the Canadian side is close to one of Canada’s “GO” train stations. If the bridge is opened to pedestrians, Congressman Higgins says it would provide a two way street for tourism into both countries.

Congressman Higgins said, “There’s plenty of time for the bridge commission to help facilitate plan for great pedestrian access.” He added, “A commuter rail between Toronto, an international city, to Niagara Falls, Ontario, presents an opportunity for Niagara Falls, New York.”

Right now, the Whirlpool crossing is just for cars and passengers who are registered with the NEXUS system. The decision is in the hands of the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Canada Border Services Agency.

All of the visitors NEWS 4 spoke to, think opening the bridge to pedestrians is a great idea, and would use it.

Elisa Markwardt, a tourist form Germany, said, “I think that’s a great idea for people who come by bus who don’t have a rental car, and they can use the bridge and they can just walk across, I think that’s a good idea.”

There’s no timeline yet on when this will be happen if approved. But on the Canadian side, construction for the rail upgrades starts next summer, and the first new train routes will go into service in 2021.

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