Repurposing Buffalo's Skyway

Governor Cuomo suggests a High Line


Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) -  While announcing the panelists to oversee the alternative Skyway contest, Governor Cuomo threw out a suggestion of his own during a stop in Buffalo Wednesday. Turn it into a high line.

"There's an high line in New York City which was an abandoned elevated railroad track. It sat there for decades. Somebody had the idea to turn it into a walking path and tourism destination."  Cuomo said it has turned into a phenomenom. "When I first heard it, I thought it was almost implausible.  I could not have been more wrong," he said.

Congressman Brian Higgins (D- Buffalo) has been advocating to tear down the Skyway for years, claiming it is structurally obsolete.  "We're looking at alternatives to the Skyway, and that includes alternative uses."  A lot of ideas will be advanced, he said.

"Think about all the attention the Skyway is getting now, that it hasn't been getting.  All of this is good," said Higgins.

Congressman Higgins said 80% of the funding to replace the Skyway will come from the federal government and from an infrastructure bill that he will help write.  He expects the bill to be on the House floor in June.

Governor Cuomo announced ten panelists to explore design alternatives to the Skyway corridor.  They include:

  • Rossana Rosado, Secretary of State
  • Byron Brown, Mayor of Buffalo
  • Bob Shibley, Dean, University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning
  • Hal Morse, Executive Director, Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council
  • Ethan Kent, Senior Vice President, Project for Public Spaces
  • Lynn Richards, President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism
  • Danielle Arigoni, Director of Livable Communities at AARP
  • Lee Fisher, Dean and Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University
  • Jennifer Vey, Director, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking and Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution
  • Calvin Gladney, President and CEO of Smart Growth America

A national design competition is underway to solicit the best idea for an alternative to the Skyway Corridor. The six-month competition will solicit ideas from design firms, community planners, urban planners, architects and others, with the expert panel reviewing the proposals and ultimately choosing a winning design. Factors the judges will consider include the cost of the proposal, impact on traffic patterns and the timing of its implementation. The winning proposal will receive a $100,000 prize for their design, second place will be awarded $50,000 and third place will be awarded $25,000.

You can find more information about the competition HERE. It continues through September.

AHigh Line concept is also being explored for the D L & W Corridor in Buffalo.  Design ideas are being studied for the 1.5 mile former rail line that extends from Canalside, through the Old First Ward and into The Valley for a greenway and nature trail. 




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