Tonawanda News


June 13, 2014

ADAMCZYK: The problem with self-appointed experts

Tonawanda News — The Congress for New Urbanism knows how to party. I know because I attended the blowout at Larkinville on the final night of their convention in Buffalo, last week. This is the organization of urban planners, theorists and those in the public service trade who specialize in promoting the concepts that neighborhoods should be walkable, cars should not be a community’s highest priority and generally, that residents’ needs supersede everything else. Honorable ideas.

So they came to town, praised a few things, lambasted a few more, the younger ones probably passed around resumes by the dozen, and sucked up their idea of the gospel from movement leaders they regard as rock stars, and that’s fine with me.

I thought about them, as I walked around my hometown of Kenmore the other day. Delaware Avenue looked great; it typically does but in summer it’s the small-town version of spectacular. People were out, the trees and flowers were blooming, kids played on the Village Green, businesses were humming. Dogs were being walked on Delaware Road. Young people carrying sports gear bicycled to someplace. A beautiful scene, repeated daily until winter comes.

My connection to the local affiliate of the Congress for New Urbanism is a tenuous one, but I have friends there, and they regularly organize tours of communities. Urban specialists walk around, get informed, offer suggestions and ideas. A contact once informed me nearly every suburb in Western New York has undertaken this sort of visit from them but they had not received a welcome from Kenmore.

Hamburg and Williamsville were among the places that had, and when the conventioneers came to Buffalo, those were the suburban marvels they visited. And they loved them.

I have long wondered why Kenmore government gave something of a cold shoulder to these dedicated authorities, and my post-convention stroll nailed it for me: Kenmore accomplished its goal, of a beautiful Delaware Avenue streetscape, without help from self-appointed experts.

Text Only
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo