If the Assembly Majority Leader couldn’t bare to look at it, it’s gotta be good.

Last Friday at Merriweather Library, over 250 people packed the auditorium. East Side Parkways Coalition was eager to show the attendees their findings about the proposed $1billion cap over only 10 blocks of the 26 blocks making up the Humboldt Expressway.

To her credit, Crystal Peoples-Stokes showed. She didn’t turn to look at the screen when videos of community elders were shown describing how they’d like to see the expressway filled in and restored. She didn’t turn to face those who were presenting their findings after proving NYSDOT wrong on their traffic analysis, or their summation of the public comments. She didn’t look up when a presenter called her own staff out for soliciting letters of support from lobbyists and construction employees. She briefly left the room when a presenter called out her lie that this cap was phase 1, and that phase 2 could connect to Delaware Park in the future.

She waited her turn to speak. When she had the mic, she opened by asking why all 250 people in the room weren’t around 15 years ago when NYSDOT invited a select few residents they to a closed-door meeting, and lied to them, saying a cap was their only option. She admitted that she had received many calls, emails, and letters from those concerned about their health during and after this massive project’s construction, but invoked the names of deceased community members and said she would speak for them instead. How convenient.

Then she departed. Skipping Q&A. All the other politicians who arrived late left early too.

Friday morning 2/16 at 10:50AM, Governor Hochul will be in town to make a major announcement about the Expressway. East Side Parkways Coalition is calling for a protest of the announcement happening at Edward Saunders Community Center, 2777 Bailey Ave.

For the Governor’s sake, let’s hope her presser goes better than last month, when US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called up the Buffalo News Editorial Board to try and defend this toxic tunnel. On the call, she incorrectly called it “a park” and, on-the-spot, made up an insane figure of it costing “$20 to $50 Billion” to reconfigure Buffalo’s transportation system if the expressway were to be filled in. Days later, her communications director had to tell the Buffalo News that the Senator made all that up.

Governor Hochul, good luck trying to spin this monstrosity, meant solely to speed commuter times from the suburbs and continue to destroy the health and economic opportunity of nearby residents, as “An historic investment in the East Side!” Or… “East Buffalo,” as you renamed it  after the 5/14 terror attack without asking any residents first.

Anyways – here’s the presentation. If you’re as enraged by it as the rest of us, take action. Show at the protest. Write to your elected officials. These are your tax dollars being wasted to harm your neighbors. Filling it in would cost less than half as much. We could build a train to the airport instead. Let’s make a better city and region, not double down on the worst mistake we ever made.