Highway boondoggle in Erie will cut off communities from the Lake Erie waterfront

A new report details why the wasteful Bayfront Parkway project should be reconsidered.

Biking, walking & transit


staff | TPIN
PennEnvironment Deputy Director Ashleigh Deemer (far right) was joined by (left to right) Lisa Austin, Connect Urban Erie; Veronica Rexford, NAACP Erie; Erie County Councilman Andre Horton; and former Erie County Executive Judy Lynch
Ashleigh Deemer

Former Deputy Director, PennEnvironment

On September 8, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center Deputy Director Ashleigh Deemer joined local leaders in Erie, PA to release Highway Boondoggles 7: Wasting infrastructure funding on damaging and unnecessary road projects. The report calls attention to wasteful proposed highway projects across the country, including the expanded Erie Bayfront Parkway proposal, which is expected to increase air and climate pollution. At the same time, the proposed plan will make it harder for Erie residents to walk and bike to the Lake Erie waterfront.

The U.S. spends upwards of $26 billion each year to add to our already sprawling highway network. Spending could grow with the 2021 passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that is expected to invest $350 billion in highway programs.

In her press statement, PennEnvironment’s Ashleigh Deemer noted, “Every time we spend money on infrastructure, we have an opportunity to re-envision the future. We should not invest in highway boondoggles that both exacerbate our pollution and global warming problems, and make it harder for local residents to walk and bike. The projects that we choose to invest in should be ones that are going to make our lives better and help us transition away from polluting cars and trucks.” 

staff | TPIN
Television reporters interview Adam Trott of Connect Urban Erie (left) and Erie County Councilman Andre Horton (right)

Erie residents have been fighting for better pedestrian and bike infrastructure for years. 

Our report release was warmly met by the Erie media, with news stories on Erie News Now / WICU TV, YourErie.com / Fox 66, and Talk Erie Radio. 

Earthjustice, representing the NAACP – Erie and Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture), have taken legal action to ensure that the project complies with cornerstone federal environmental laws. 

Get the full Highway Boondoggles 7 story on Erie’s Bayfront Parkway redesign and other wasteful highway projects across the country. 


Ashleigh Deemer

Former Deputy Director, PennEnvironment