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Do you think the Kensington Expressway is well maintained?

Buffalo Common Councilmembers are very critical of how the Kensington Expressway looks within city limits - the grass, weeds and trees. One word used to describe the roadsides and ramps was "jungle."

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Anyone who drives the Route 33 knows there is vegetation, on both sides, on the ramps, even along the guardrails and Jersey barriers separating inbound and outbound. Is all that vegetation cut and trimmed and generally well-kept? Several members of the Council say "no," while the New York State Department of Transportation says "yes."

Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt says some of the worst sections of the road are in his University district, especially the Suffolk ramp.

"We met with some representatives from DOT and they said that the landscapers from DOT think that the 33 looks beautiful. They think it looks very nice," said Wyatt, "and I said, 'Well, maybe he should try putting that landscaping in his neck of the woods, where he lives' because when you drive up the 33, it does look like a jungle."

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Wyatt compared the ride to something Charles Dickens would write about.

"It's a tale of two communities. When you go through other communities, you don't see all that," Wyatt said, "but when you come through the city in our areas, you see all this debris and overgrowth and it doesn't look attractive. So I talked to a representative from the DOT. They are very open with meeting with us and talking about it."

Councilmember Ulysees Wingo said several of his Masten District constituents used to maintain some Kensington ramps on their own, even planting flowers, but they have become a little too old to keep doing that and DOT didn't pick up the work.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"A couple of those ramps were taken care of by only two residents," Wingo said. "They would cut and plant flowers and it was beautiful. And since those residents have gotten older and can no longer do they work that they used to do, now those entrances, those ramps, don't look as good as they used to."

Council President Darius Pridgen said there have been unsuccessful attempts to hook up with the DOT, so local groups could be sponsors of various sections of the 33 and they would have a stake in making the road look better in their neighborhoods.

WBFO was unsuccessful in reaching the DOT for comment.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.