Skyway panelist talks judging for governor's competition

Submissions are due by 3 p.m. Friday

Mike Baggerman
June 25, 2019 - 3:00 am

Panelists and state officials take tour of Canalside as part of Skyway corridor competition. June 24, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - A group of ten panelists will decide the winner of Governor Andrew Cuomo's ideas competition for Buffalo's Skyway.

Governor Cuomo announced the competition in February and later announced the ten panelists in April. But what exactly will they be looking at? Governor Cuomo's Senior Advisor John Maggiore told reporters that they want the panelists to determine the best vision for the entire corridor and not just the bridge itself.

READ MORE: Skyway competition ideas due on Friday

"With large portions of Western New York's waterfront...what is the vision for the future of Western New York's waterfront?" Maggiore asked. "Is that vision something that can be achieved? The feasability, affordability, taking into account what happens to traffic, those all speak to whether the thing can actually be achieved."

The panelists are local and national experts in architecture and design, urban planning and transportation, and local public officials. The first place prize for the best idea will win $100,000 while second place and third place will win $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.

WBEN talked to Danielle Arigoni, the Director of Livable Communities at AARP. She said she could see alternatives where the Skyway is gone but noted it's an important part of Buffalo's history.

"I can imagine parts of the Skyway remaining as an homage to what currently is here," she said. "There's a need to have a discussion about what function does it really serve and what purpose it really serve and to make sure it matches with future reality with the town."

She said she's been inspired by The High Line in New York City and the 11th Street Bridge redevelopment in Washington, D.C.

"I think it's absolutely possible (that it becomes similar to The High Line" Arigoni said. "This was originally constructed as a bridge where pedestrians would walk up in and take in the view. The High Line has made that possible for people in New York City. We've seen the huge demand for that kind of space for people who live there."

Designers have until this Friday to submit their ideas to the ten panelists. The winners of the competition will be announced in September. Arigoni said the winner has to be able to respond the needs of older adults and not just be meant for traffic.

"By the year 2035, we'll have more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 18," she said. "A place that doesn't serve the needs of older adults doesn't serve the community well."

The ten panelists are:

  •     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
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