How A Public Authority Supported The Bridge Company
I am not the toughie that you think that I am. Rather, I am a very sensitive guy who wants to be loved by all of my readers. A real softie if you want to know.
I am certain that when you read my BLOG you understand that my comments are made more in sorrow than in anger. As an example, here I am trying to help out our municipal politicians who have gone astray by forgetting their campaign promises due to the infamous amnesia disease at City Hall but I receive no thanks for doing so. Not only no thanks but I am called a naysayer as well.
It is a cruel world.
You may wonder what has prompted this cry of anguish on my part. Why am I so distraught? The answer is very simple. If you will look again at the comments on my Municipal Political Survey you will note that there is not complete unanimity. Two out of all of the number of respondents were critical of me. It seemed to me that they did not believe what I was saying about what was going on at the Ambassador Bridge.
I could not understand this. I have tried very hard to be factual. I racked my brains trying to figure out what I could say to make these people understand.
As if HEAVEN heard my pleas, I was given the WORD but from the most unusual of sources.
Here are the relevant excerpts from a news story from the Buffalo News that was published Sunday. The reason it is so important is that the person making the comment is Brian Masse’s bestest border buddy, the person whom he has brought to Windsor to explain to the Public here everything there is to know about border crossings, Ron Rienas. In case you have forgotten, he is the General Manager, Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority:
- With traffic down, is new bridge needed?
Officials say ‘yes,’stressing efficiency— not vehicle capacity
By Patrick Lakamp NEWS STAFF REPORTER
…Figg, of Tallahassee, Fla., has teamed with Menn to develop a bridge concept for the Peace Bridge Authority.
Amid that work, plans to expand the U. S. plaza and build a new bridge have come under further questioning from some because of declining bridge traffic.
The number of car trips across the Peace Bridge last year fell for the sixth straight year in 2008, to the lowest level since 1978.
Truck crossings also dropped. Peace Bridge officials say a new bridge and plaza are still needed — but not for the reason they once offered.
The current environmental review for a new bridge and plaza has been under way since 2001 — when 6.6 million cars crossed the steel arch bridge between Buffalo and Fort Erie, Ont.
Last year, 5 million cars crossed the bridge.
“The reasons for doing the project have changed from 10 years ago,” Rienas said. “Before, it was absolutely to increase capacity to accommodate increased traffic.
“Now, it’s about being able to handle more efficiently the existing traffic and replace an antiquated, inefficient customs plaza,” Rienas said.
The existing plaza in Buffalo doesn’t meet security requirements of the Department of Homeland Security, he said. It lacks adequate secondary inspection facilities. It doesn’t have adequate X-ray facilities for the trucks. The waiting areas for travelers to be processed are so small that sometimes they line up outside the door in freezing temperatures…
“Their traffic projections don’t hold water,” said Mitskovski, vice president of the Niagara Gateway Columbus Park Association, a group of residents who live near the Peace Bridge.
“By next year, the PBA will switch themes again and it will be the number of geese transiting the Niagara River. The theme has changed so many times, there is no credibility to what they’re saying...”
As for a new bridge, it would include a dedicated lane for prescreened travelers, like those enrolled in the NEXUS program, which authorities say would move traffic along quicker.
Now, those enrolled in NEXUS have a dedicated lane on the U. S. plaza, but that doesn’t help if traffic is backed up onto the bridge and they’re forced to share one or two bridge lanes with non-NEXUS travelers.
Hurdles remain for the authority. Preservationists, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, and the Prospect Hill-Columbus Park Association, among others, are fighting plans to expand the plaza, warning that a historic Buffalo neighborhood would be destroyed and Front Park further damaged…
Olmsted officials don’t want to give up on the idea of putting U. S. inspection facilities on the Canadian side of the Peace Bridge — even though Homeland Security officials have ruled it out. A new administration in Washington could resurrect the notion, said Thomas Herrera-Mishler, chief executive officer of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.
The authority says the portion of an expanded plaza devoted exclusively to trucks would be 5.6 acres out of the 38 acre project area. Nearly 11 acres would be devoted to green space, parkland and buffer.
While it is necessary to take 84 residences, 10 businesses, five Episcopal Church Home properties and about a dozen other properties, the plaza would not encroach into the Prospect Hill historic district, he said.’
Do you see what I mean? All of the things that I am saying are being said in Buffalo/Fort Erie as well. Don’t jump on me. What I am saying is hardly different than what is being said in the Buffalo newspaper by Mr. Rienas and others. To summarize:
- SEAN O’DELL IS WRONG. SEAN O’DELL IS WRONG.
- Even at the Peace Bridge, car traffic has dropped off dramatically and truck traffic is down as well. Just as in Windsor/Detroit.
- People are questioning the need for a new bridge paid for by the Governments or rather, the Public Authority
- A new bridge is not needed for capacity reasons but for traffic flow purposes
- In Buffalo (as was done in Sarnia/Port Huron as well), the new bridge is proposed to be built beside the existing bridge while in Detroit/Windsor the Governments have ignored the obvious place to put it
- Somehow in Buffalo, there is no need for a 120 acre plaza as DRIC suggested was needed in Windsor at the Ambassador Bridge
- In Buffalo, a green space is proposed similar to what the Bridge Company wants to do with the Green Corridor group
- There is a need to take homes, businesses and other properties with the Peace Bridge expansion and with the DRIC on both sides of the river. That is NOT what the Enhancement Project requires.
- Just as in Buffalo, “The [DRIC] theme has changed so many times, there is no credibility to what they’re saying
- Just as in Buffalo, the new Enhancement Project bridge “would include a dedicated lane for prescreened travelers.”
- Remember also that the Bridge Company proposed shared border management at their site
- The Ambassador Gateway project on its own would be able to handle about twice the truck traffic at the bridge now without the need for a new bridge and it was designed from the beginning to accommodate a new bridge.
So to those few readers who made those nasty comments, take pity on my fragile sensibilities. I am not the only one saying that the Bridge Company is right. I wonder if the Bridge Company was not his competitor in Buffalo if Mr. Rienas would be an Ambassador Bridge fan too.