Niagara Falls city government wants to make it a little easier for arriving tourists to get to some prime tourist attractions.
The City Council Monday night approved spending nearly $1 million to plan an extension of John B. Daly to Pine Avenue. It will be a four-lane extension along an old railroad line sitting vacant for decades.
Mayor Paul Dyster says the goal is to start construction in 2019 on what is guessed to be a $6 million project. The idea is that, instead of weaving through the neighborhood after dead-ending at Niagara Street, drivers can go straight through to Pine, with the road opening development opportunities along its path.
"We redesigned it and created a downsized, very neighborhood-friendly street that we think is going to be a major tool for economic development and also neighborhood revitalization in that north of Niagara, south of Pine neighborhood," Dyster says.
He says there are a lot of attractions for tourists along Pine Avenue and that has been the reason the plan stayed alive for years.
"Main concern that people had was making it easy for visitors and tourists to get to Pine Avenue, which of course if you go to one end of Pine Avenue, you've got the Aquarium of Niagara Falls, one of our major tourism attractions and then, at the other end of Pine Avenue, of course, you have Little Italy, with all the Italian restaurants," he says.
Dyster says there are also traffic easing measures from the new road.
"This is going to provide better access to residential neighborhoods in that part of the city, but one of the other things that we think is very positive is that it's going to help to distribute bridge traffic at those times when the Rainbow Bridge is backed up and then Niagara Street begins to get clogged," Dyster says. "People get frustrated because people are stuck in the middle of the intersection and you can't get across Niagara Street."
Dyster says there are state and federal dollars involved so the city only has to come up with around a five percent of the costs. The planning cost includes some possible land purchases along the route.