Buffalo Historical Society May 10-1
Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, behind the freeway.
(Source: Andrew Nash, 2010)

Yesterday I wrote about Rust Belt city planning in general. As I was looking through my Buffalo photos for the post I came across the photo above.

Can there be a better illustration of the insanity of building freeways through parks? The huge bright green freeway signs in front of the only building remaining from Buffalo’s Pan-American World Exhibition (1901). Looking over Delaware Park’s Hoyt Lake from the Casino towards the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society building … and there they are, the huge green freeway signs.

Of course the freeway also generates noise and pollution in addition to creating a wall that splits the park into pieces.

Many will argue that once a freeway is in place you can’t remove it, but Portland and San Francisco both did and have not looked back. (Check out the great StreetFilms on San Francisco’s Embarcadero Freeway replacment). Previously I wrote about tearing down several Buffalo freeways, maybe that’s too much to start.

How about this? Just close the freeway between the Elmwood exit and Parkside. Just this summer. Give people plenty of warning. Install some improvements (and directions) on alternative routes and give it a chance.

Create a Buffalo Beach, just like Paris.