Niagara Scenic Parkway

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Niagara Scenic Parkway

Map of the Niagara Region with the Niagara Scenic Parkway highlighted in red and the branch west to Fort Niagara in blue
Route information
Maintained by NYSDOT
ExistedJune 9, 2016–present
HistoryKnown as the Robert Moses State Parkway from 1964–June 9, 2016
Southern segment
Length3.24 mi[1] (5.21 km)
South end I-190 / LaSalle Expressway in Niagara Falls
North end NY 384 (Buffalo Avenue) in Niagara Falls
Northern segment
Length13.3 mi[1] (21.4 km)
South endFindlay Drive in Niagara Falls
Major intersections I-190 in Lewiston
North end NY 18 in Porter
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
Highway system

The Niagara Scenic Parkway (known as the Robert Moses State Parkway until 2016) is a 16.4-mile (26.39 km) long north–south highway in western Niagara County, New York, in the United States. Its southern terminus is at the LaSalle Expressway on the east bank of the Niagara River in Niagara Falls. The northern terminus is at New York State Route 18 (NY 18) at Four Mile Creek State Park in Porter near Lake Ontario. Originally, the parkway was one continuous road; however, due to low usage, a portion of the parkway near Niagara Falls was removed, separating the parkway into two sections. The length of the parkway is designated as New York State Route 957A by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). A 1.16-mile (1.87 km) long spur connecting the Niagara Scenic Parkway to Fort Niagara State Park near Youngstown is designated as New York State Route 958A. Both reference route designations are unsigned.

The parkway, a divided highway for most of its route, is one of the most unorthodox parkways in New York State, similar to Ocean Parkway on Long Island. Some portions, mainly between downtown Niagara Falls and Lewiston, are not built to freeway standards, and the parkway as a whole has gradually been relegated due to low usage.

Route description

The Niagara Scenic Parkway begins as a westward continuation of a spur off the LaSalle Expressway in Niagara Falls, New York.[1][2] It connects with Interstate 190 (I-190) and NY 384 just west of its official southern terminus and passes under the North Grand Island Bridge as it heads west along the Niagara River as a four-lane freeway. Three miles (5 km) west of I-190, the parkway turns north and returns to grade level at Buffalo Avenue, where it terminates and continues north as John B. Daly Boulevard (designated but not signed as NY 952B by NYSDOT).[3]

The Niagara Scenic Parkway in Niagara Falls from the trail portion of the southbound roadway

The parkway begins again as a two-lane undivided road at Findlay Drive just before Whirlpool State Park. North of the park, the parkway curves northeastward, matching the curvature of the gorge in the area. After serving the Devil's Hole State Park and interchanging with NY 104, it passes over the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant. Many features are within view at this point: to the west of the parkway at this point are the Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Power Stations; to the north are the Lewiston–Queenston Bridge and the Niagara River's course for miles ahead. The parkway has entrances ramps from I-190 via Upper Mountain Road before passing under the bridge and becoming a four-lane freeway again.[3]

Just north of the bridge, the Niagara Scenic Parkway approaches the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. Here, it is possible to see for several miles in any direction. Looking north, the remainder of the Niagara River can be seen, as can its mouth at Lake Ontario. The parkway descends the escarpment and meets NY 18F and NY 104 just east of the village of Lewiston. North of Lewiston, the parkway follows a largely north–south routing as it passes through largely rural sections of the towns of Lewiston and Porter. During this stretch, it has an exit to Pletcher Road, which links the parkway to Joseph Davis State Park.[3]

At the village of Youngstown, the Niagara Scenic Parkway interchanges with NY 93. North of the village, the parkway's median widens as it interchanges with a short spur (designated but not signed as NY 958A) leading to Fort Niagara State Park and Fort Niagara within. Past this junction, the parkway turns east and begins to parallel Lake Ontario. It passes under NY 18F and interchanges with Four Mile Creek Drive, the entry road for Four Mile Creek State Park, before terminating at an at-grade intersection with NY 18.[3] The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has jurisdiction over the parkway and its spur to Fort Niagara; however, NYSDOT maintains both highways.[4]


Robert Moses State Parkway

LocationNiagara FallsPorter
Existed1964[5]–June 9, 2016[6]

Proposals for a freeway to connect downtown Niagara Falls with the proposed Niagara Thruway, a spur of the New York State Thruway, surfaced by the 1950s. The general routing of the highway would begin at the Rainbow Bridge in downtown and parallel NY 384 on its north side to the North Grand Island Bridge, where it would turn south to meet the northern terminus of the Niagara Thruway.[7][8] However, by the 1960s, a new alignment along the bank of the Niagara River and through the Niagara Falls State Park was selected instead. The first section of the parkway to be completed extended from 4th Street in Niagara Falls to the Rainbow Bridge, and was opened on June 21, 1960.[9] This was then extended eastward to the North Grand Island Bridge (later Interstate 190) on November 11, 1961, a section that opened along with another disconnected section extending along the Niagara Gorge's eastern edge from Cleveland Avenue to U.S. Route 104 in Lewiston.[10] At the time, the remaining sections north to the Lewistown-Queenston Bridge were under construction.[11] Both sections were open to traffic on July 30, 1964.[12] These were the first sections opened under the name of the Robert Moses State Parkway, a name given to the highway on June 27, 1963.[13] An extension of the parkway, north to NY 18 in Porter was completed on October 7, 1965.[14] A spur to Fort Niagara was built as part of the extension.[15]

Looking north at the parkway from the pedestrian bridge near the Aquarium of Niagara. This part was undergoing a partial conversion into a recreation trail in 2001

The Niagara Scenic Parkway was to have been part of a vast network of limited-access highways in the Buffalo area. Under the 1971 Regional Highway Plan for the Buffalo–Niagara Falls area, the parkway would have been paralleled by a westward extension of the LaSalle Expressway, which would have extended from the Rainbow Bridge to I-190 along the proposed routing shown on maps 20 years before. Farther north, the northern end of the Niagara Scenic Parkway in Porter would have linked to a western extension of the Lake Ontario State Parkway.[16] Neither proposal ever came to fruition.

The portion of the Niagara Scenic Parkway from Quay Street to Main Street was closed in July 1977,[17] and the rest within Niagara Falls State Park was closed and largely removed around 1980[18] as a result of a movement to restore the park to the original layout conceived for it by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.[19] As a result, the parkway became discontinuous. Its southern segment now began at the pre-existing interchange with Quay Street (John B. Daly Boulevard), which remained virtually untouched, while the southern end of the northern segment was reconfigured in the vicinity of downtown to terminate at an at-grade intersection with Main Street (NY 104).[20] Traffic must now employ NY 384 to bridge the two sections of the parkway. The portions of the Niagara Scenic Parkway that still exist within Niagara Falls State Park are mostly in the vicinity of the Rainbow Bridge and are used for park business only.

Abandoned ramps from the Niagara Scenic Parkway to Whirlpool Street and NY 182 in Niagara Falls

Additional downgrading of the highway has occurred in other areas. From Cedar Avenue in downtown Niagara Falls to Devil's Hole State Park, the southbound lanes were permanently closed on September 18, 2001,[21] and those up to I-190 in Lewiston were closed on March 16, 2005.[22] The southbound lanes were gradually converted into a recreation/bike trail during the 2000s, funneling all traffic into the former northbound lanes and turning the parkway into a two-lane highway.

In February 2013, New York State announced that the segment of the Parkway from Main Street north to Findlay Drive would be removed, allowing improved access by residents and tourists on the city streets to the gorgefront.[23] In early 2019, the stretch of parkway between Main Street (NY 104) and Findlay Drive was permanently closed and demolition began starting with the section of viaduct near the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge which was removed in mid-2019.[24] Officials immediately started removing that segment while discussing the possible removal of a further stretch, from Findlay north to the NY 104/18F interchange in Lewiston.[23] Engineering work for the removal of the first section began in April 2014. By July 2020, the section between Main Street and Findlay Drive was fully removed, and is set to be replaced by park land complete with bicycle and pedestrian paths.[25]

Between 2014 and 2016, the Riverway Project, part of the Buffalo Billion state program, reconstructed and reconfigured a one-mile stretch of the Parkway near Goat Island. This included conversion of the John B. Daly Boulevard interchange into a roundabout which opened May 2015.[26][27]

On June 9, 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Robert Moses State Parkway would be renamed the Niagara Scenic Parkway.[6]

Exit list

The entire route is in Niagara County. All exits are unnumbered.

Niagara Falls0.000.00

LaSalle Expressway east to NY 384 / NY 265 – Tonawanda
Continuation east
0.020.032 I-190 – Buffalo, LewistonSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
To NY 384 (Buffalo Avenue)
Traffic circle; roadway continues north as John B. Daly Boulevard (NY 952B)
Gap in parkway; northern end of freeway section
5.048.11Findlay DriveRoadway continues southward as Whirlpool Street
Town of Lewiston6.6410.69 NY 104 – Devil's Hole, Niagara University, Power VistaNorthbound exit and entrance
Southern end of freeway section
9.6815.58 NY 18F / NY 104 (Ridge Road) – Lewiston ArtparkSouthern terminus of NY 18F
12.3719.91Pletcher Road – Joseph Davis State Park
Youngstown15.5124.96 NY 93 – Youngstown
To NY 18F (NY 958A) – Fort Niagara
Access via Fort Niagara Spur; northbound entrance is via traffic circle u-turn ramp
Porter18.0929.11Four Mile Creek State ParkNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
18.4229.64 NY 18 (Lake Road)At-grade intersection
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Fort Niagara spur

The entire route is in Porter, Niagara County. All exits are unnumbered.

0.000.00 Niagara Scenic Parkway
NY 18F – Fort NiagaraSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
1.161.87Fort Niagara State Park
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "2008 Traffic Volume Report for New York State" (PDF). New York State Department of Transportation. June 16, 2009. p. 279. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
  2. ^ Tonawanda West Digital Raster Quadrangle (Map). 1:24,000. New York State Department of Transportation. 1996. Retrieved April 10, 2009. The highway linking the Niagara Scenic Parkway to the LaSalle Expressway is part of the same internal state highway (SH C68002) as the westernmost portion of the LaSalle mainline, making it a spur of the LaSalle.
  3. ^ a b c d Microsoft; Nokia (February 1, 2013). "overview map of the Niagara Scenic State Parkway and Niagara Street" (Map). Bing Maps. Microsoft. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  4. ^ New York State Department of Transportation (January 2017). Official Description of Highway Touring Routes, Bicycling Touring Routes, Scenic Byways, & Commemorative/Memorial Designations in New York State (PDF). Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named 1964map
  6. ^ a b Besecker, Aaron (June 9, 2016). "Robert Moses Parkway becomes Niagara Scenic Parkway". The Buffalo News. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
  7. ^ New York (Map). Cartography by Rand McNally and Company. Sunoco. 1952.
  8. ^ New York with Special Maps of Putnam–Rockland–Westchester Counties and Finger Lakes Region (Map) (1955–56 ed.). Cartography by General Drafting. Esso. 1954.
  9. ^ "Improved Niagara Park Opens Today". The Times Record. 1960-06-22. p. 20. Retrieved 2023-12-18.
  10. ^ "Niagara Pkwy. Opens A New Scenic Trail". The Buffalo News. 1961-11-11. p. 2. Retrieved 2023-12-18.
  11. ^ New York with Sight-Seeing Guide (Map). Cartography by General Drafting. Esso. 1962.
  12. ^ "Moses Pkwy. and Golf Course On Beaver Island Dedicated". The Buffalo News. 1964-07-30. p. 5. Retrieved 2023-12-18.
  13. ^ "Moses Scores Double In Parks, Parkways". Democrat and Chronicle. 1963-06-28. p. 47. Retrieved 2023-12-19.
  14. ^ "Discuss Niagara Frontier Growth". The Buffalo News. 1965-10-07. p. 41. Retrieved 2023-12-19.
  15. ^ New York (Map) (1969–70 ed.). Cartography by General Drafting. Esso. 1968.
  16. ^ Regional Highway Plan for Buffalo and Niagara Falls (Map). City of Niagara Falls. 1971. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
  17. ^ "Falls Leaders Put In Predicament by Closed Parkway". The Buffalo News. 1978-10-08. p. 13. Retrieved 2023-12-19.
  18. ^ "Old Traffic Pattern Could Help the Falls Remove a Roadblock". The Buffalo News. 1982-04-18. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-12-19.
  19. ^ McKinley, Dave (December 2008). "Robert Moses Parkway Talk Draws Big Falls Crowd". WGRZ. Buffalo, NY. Retrieved April 10, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ New York (Map). Rand McNally and Company. 1995. ISBN 0-528-96764-9.
  21. ^ "Section of Moses Parkway closes today". The Buffalo News. 2001-09-18. p. 17. Retrieved 2023-12-19.
  22. ^ "Traffic pattern changes on R. Moses Parkway". The Buffalo News. 2005-03-15. p. 4. Retrieved 2023-12-19.
  23. ^ a b Specht, Charlie (February 20, 2013). "State will rip out Niagara Scenic Parkway in Niagara Falls". Buffalo News. Buffalo, New York. Archived from the original on April 8, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  24. ^ Staff reports. "Whirlpool Bridge set to reopen on Monday". Niagara Gazette. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  25. ^ Reporter, Thomas J. Prohaska News Staff. "Called 'misguided mistake,' Robert Moses' parkway removed from Niagara Gorge". Buffalo News. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
  26. ^ State of New York: Buffalo Billion. "Riverway Project".
  27. ^ "Robert Moses' 'Riverway' Roundabout Debuts to Traffic". Niagara Gazette. May 22, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2018.

External links