Bayfront Parkway lawsuit by Erie’s NAACP continues

Local News

Concerns of vehicles over people… That is what some community leaders are saying about the $100 million Bayfront Parkway Project.

Erie’s NAACP has filed a lawsuit as a way to speak on behalf of the environmental justice community.

Here is where this lawsuit currently stands.

The organization filed this lawsuit in December of 2020, because the president feels the black and brown community are being left behind.

“PennDOT and the federal government say that this new project will bring change, that they give us more access that people have demanded for years. But the design they have chosen similarly leaves us out of the decision making process,” said Gary Horton, President of Erie’s NAACP.

The president of Erie’s NAACP, Gary Horton, has gathered his organization to speak for the significant amount of the underserved population that may be impacted by the proposed Bayfront Parkway Project.

Horton believes that those adjacent to the changes of the highway are a target.

“Since the highway has been constructed, it has divided our neighborhoods and created these enclaves of crime and poverty and they’ve separated us from public resources and safe passage across the highway,” said Horton.

Mayor Joe Schember believes that the layout of the Bayfront Parkway Project will be accessible to everyone.

“We are planning to have a very good overhead way to get in and it’s going to be very attractive too on Holland Street, so people on the east side would be able to get down to the Bayfront much easier,” said Mayor Joe Schember, D, City of Erie.

Although the mayor thinks otherwise, Horton said that one can make the case of the Bayfront highway as redlining that has long lasting negative effects on the black and brown community.

“These changes at State Street and the waterfront that they’re proposing now continue to move in that direction to further deny free access and safe access to the waterfront for black and brown people,” said Horton.

We reached out to PennDOT and they said that they cannot comment on the lawsuit at this time since it is ongoing.

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