Fixing the Kensington

The City's Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Board has issued the following statement (.pdf) regarding the Kensington feasibility study that's about to be funded.

New York State Senator Antoine Thompson is driving the study and the emerging conversation currently does not include a third option. The two options being studied involve capping the Kensington. The first includes a raised cap and the second involves blasting through 4' of rock, lowering the expressway and installing a cap at grade. Both options involve capping an approximately one mile stretch of the Kensington from East Ferry to Best Street.

There's a third option, the boulevard option. From the Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Board:
NYS DOT should consider a 3rd (Boulevard) option within the feasibility study to determine what the benefits or consequences of an at-grade, eight lane blvd. would provide for the surrounding community and its associated costs compared to the other options. (see attached information on the Boulevard Option provided by the New Millennium Group)
Here's the podcast from the January 4th meeting where a representative from the New York State Dept of Transportation presented the first two options currently being studied. The New Millennium Group has provided an information sheet about the boulevard option.

There's a precedent for removing highways. Here's a lesson from San Francisco.



Paul said...

It would be great to see something done with the Kensington, but are monies available to tackle such a large project?

Giovanni Centurione said...

OMG, I would luv to see Humbolt Park returned over the Kensington. I was just through this the other day while going to the Museum of Science and picturing how wonderful this neighborhood must have been before the expressway was put in. I fully support a cover over this eyesore and bring the neighborhoods together again with Humbolt Park.

olcott_beach said...

Excellent idea, however, this is the wrong location to begin this type of re-construction.

Removing the elevated section of the 190 is where a project, such as this, should begin.

Beginning with our own waterfront would fit into the already proposed work for the marina and commercial slip.

Once completed, the Kensington can be addressed.

NMG said...

Olcott Beach: That decision's already been made. A $2 million study is funded to study options for mitigating the Kensington's imposition on the Humboldt Park neighborhood with a very strong constituency in support.

The question for Buffalo now is, will every feasible option be studied? The "cap" over the Kensington is simply not feasible. It will cost upwards of a half-billion dollars to cover only a short portion of the trench and will likely require lowering of the expressway through sections of solid bedrock. It can't happen. And it wouldn't make sense: it would be the most expensive grass lawn ever constructed in history.

A "third" option, which NYSDOT is refusing to consider at this time, is to fill the trench entirely, and replace the expressway entirely with a narrowed, high-capacity boulevard similar to Frederick Lawn Olmsted's multiway boulevards, like Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. This options would be significantly cheaper and highly doable, which is perhaps the reason NYSDOT doesn't want to study it.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime. It will come only once. Will we be the generation that finally removes this scar from the East Side? Or will we let another opportunity pass us by?