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Hochul proposes major changes for the Kensington Expressway

The governor made the announcement on Tuesday in her proposal for the state budget, but she made some updates of what those changes would entail Saturday morning.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — This week the governor released her state budget proposal, and it includes more than $38 billion part of a five-year plan for the State Department of Transportation.

Of that, $3 million would impact expressways across the state including the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo.

The portion of the 33 that this would impact includes the area from Best Street to Ferry Street. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul is suggesting there be a partial or full cover over that area "with the goal of achieving a preferred alternative."

Construction on the Kensington Expressway began in the 1950s.

Hochul says at the time that it was assumed more people would be driving, and the goal was to get drivers out of the city and into the suburbs as fast as possible. 

What once was a neighborhood with a park on Humboldt Parkway was split into two by the addition of the Kensington Expressway. 

New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes says there were detrimental effects. 

"All of these things not only destroy people's lives but it destroyed the economy on the East Side of Buffalo. When I ask myself the question why, I got to believe that people didn't necessarily to do that. But sometimes in making decisions about what impacts will have on a community, you have to do a real community impact. You have to talk to the people, you have to understand the economy," Peoples-Stokes said. 

Added Hochul: "We're about to begin the environmental impact study regarding the removal of the Kensington Expressway and bringing it back to its original home. This community should no longer be divided and I'm very excited about being able to bring it back to the Humboldt Parkway."

Hochul's office says the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration will streamline the process for that federal, environmental impact study. 

The state will start asking the public for input in the spring, and a preliminary report will then be shared in the late summer.