Community group holds rally for Scajaquada corridor project

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Community groups and people who live near Delaware park have a strong message for the State Department of Transportation.

They’re calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s help to save Delaware park from the DOT’s plan to redesign the 198 or Scajaquada expressway.

With signs in hand, dozens of people who live near Delaware park are fighting the State Department of Transportation to restore the park’s history. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy wants DOT to reconsider its plans to redesign the 198 or Scajaquada expressway.

“They were just looking at traffic patterns, not people patterns,” said Meredith Bartek who lives in the Parkside neighborhood.

Meredith Bartek says she’s been attending meetings about the 198 for more than 15 years.

“I have yet to see the department of transportation be receptive to what we say, we’re the people that live here,” said Bartek.

DOT released its plans for the 198 earlier this year which include adding intersections and a pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists. But people who live in the area say that’s not the best solution.

“I would love for people to be able to walk along here without literally fearing for their lives,” said Baretk.

“We’d like to see it restored to a parkway to something that’s shared space between cars, bicycles, pedestrian, safe ways. To having maybe at the most two lanes going in both directions,” said Renee Cadzow who lives across the street from Delaware Park.

Now the community is calling on Governor Cuomo and lawmakers to step in.

“We don’t want Delaware parks, one side then the other. We want one Delaware park. We want to restore the Olmsted vision,” said New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan.

A spokesperson for the DOT says in a statement:

“The Scajaquada corridor project is the culmination of years of hard work, community discussions and nearly 60 meeting focused on creating a roadway that considers all users, enhances safety and complements the historic character of the Delaware Park. The Buffalo community has significantly helped to shape the design of this project.”

The DOT says people can offer their comments on the plan through environmental impact statements.

The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy says it plans to send letters to lawmakers. Click here to find the group’s online petition. DOT is scheduled to start construction on the 198 next summer.

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