By Jon Dusza
Two weeks ago, the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC) held a public meeting in Science Hall to discuss potential future plans for the Scajaquada Expressway.
The plan proposed at the meeting by the GBNRTC would turn the expressway into a two-lane parkway with new accommodations for pedestrians and restoration of Scajaquada Creek in addition to restoring some greenery that was lost when the expressway was first built.
The current expressway, which was built in the 1960s, replaced a parkway similar to the one now being proposed and has seen lighter traffic since 2016 than at any time during the last two decades, according to a study carried out by the GBNRTC. The study also found that less than a fifth of travel on the expressway was work related and that a similar fraction of travelers stay on the expressway for its full length. Some in favor of the new parkway conclude from that study that the expressway is used primarily as a local road.
The expressway connects Canisius both to the Kensington Expressway and Interstate 190, two of the major highway routes which connect Buffalo to its surrounding towns, and is a major part of many Canisius commuters’ daily commutes. With Canisius having as large a commuter population as it has, a change to the Scajaquada would constitute a major shift in the daily routine of many students — a positive one, according to the plans of the GBNRTC.
Beyond the impact it would have on commuters, a new parkway would also affect those who live on and around campus, as the parkway would provide more greenery and allow more pedestrian access to the Buffalo community surrounding the expressway. As Canisius falls within that territory, the effects are sure to be felt in the Canisius resident community, as well.
While the plan is not yet official, it has gained traction among people who make decisions regarding Buffalo area projects. State Seb. Sean Ryan, who represents Buffalo in the New York State Senate, spoke positively about the plan, tweeting that the parkway was “a parkway Buffalo deserves — embraced by the community. … Time to make this vision a reality.”
With this idea, as well as the talk surrounding the redesign of the Kensington Expressway, the freeway system in Buffalo, the commute into Canisius may be seeing radical changes in the future.