Skyway competition submissions are due this Friday

Winner gets $100,000. Panelists browsed Skyway corridor on Monday

Mike Baggerman
June 24, 2019 - 1:12 pm

Skyway competition panelists take tour of Canalside and Skyway corridor. June 24, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Panelists who will review ideas on the Skyway's future took a tour of Canalside and the Skyway corridor to be better prepared for the submissions they will receive at the end of this week.

READ MORE: Competition to come up with alternative to Skyway announced

Monday's tour was the latest step taken by officials to prepare for the 1953 bridge's future. Governor Andrew Cuomo in February announced a national search to find an alternative to the Skyway and later named ten panelists who will judge the submissions for the Skyway. The competition, known as "Reach for the Sky: Competition to Re-Imagine the Buffalo Skyway Corridor", called for urban designers, economists, planners, and architects to come up with a plan for the Skyway. 

The winning vision for the Skyway will receive a $100,000 award when announced in September. The groups that come in second and third place will win $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.

"We're not just talking about the bridge, we're talking basically from downtown Buffalo over to (Canalside), the Outer Harbor, and the area to the south," John Maggiore, a senior advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo, said. "It's not like the bridge ends and there's no corridor anymore."

Maggiore said it would take "a few more years" to perform studies needed before any sort of construction or tear down of the bridge.

"There's no scenario where this is coming down in October of this year," Maggiore said.

Much of the debate about the Skyway is whether or not it should stay a fixture where it is. Officials on record who have called for its removal before include Tim Kennedy and Brian Higgins, both of whom were at Monday's walkthrough with the panelists. They argue that it's "functionally obsolete" and "structurally critical". However, the Skyway is used by thousands of drivers each day for the morning and evening commute and is currently in the midst of a two-year deck rehabilitation project that costs $33 million.

"Why are we continuing to invest in the past when Buffalo needs a strong investment into its future?" Congressman Brian Higgins asked while noting the project is about "finding a better way" and not necessarily tearing it down.

New York State Senator Tim Kennedy, who is also the senate's transportation committee chairman, said this is a "once in a lifetime opportunity to re-invent our community".

"What do we want the new Buffalo to look like 10, 20, 30, 50 years from now?" Kennedy said. "What do we want our Buffalo to look like for our kids, grandkids, and future generations?"

The ideas are due at 3 p.m. on Friday. The top 20 submissions will then be announced on July 15, though those groups will have to submit a more in-depth proposal by August 17. You can submit your proposals for the Skyway and see more about the judging criteria by clicking here

 

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