Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a design competition to look into the future of Buffalo’s Skyway. Many have called the raised route an eyesore on the city’s waterfront, but it’s also quite the draw for bicyclists taking part in the annual Skyride.
“This is the one time of year you get to ride your bike on Buffalo’s expressways, the Skyway, the 33, and the 198,” explained Justin Booth, executive director for GOBike Buffalo.
“The view is just incredible and it’s just a good time,” said Getzville resident Paul DiPasquale as he prepared to head out on this year’s ride.
DiPasquale was among more than 2,000 cyclists taking part in the sixth annual Skyride.
He showed up long before the ride started at Lasalle Park, antsy to begin the Skyway portion of the ride especially.
“You feel the wind and then you look around and you look down and you see the arena and everything and it’s like holy cow,” DiPasquale said.
The size of the crowd for this year’s ride truly was a testament to the growing popularity and accessibilty of biking in Buffalo.
“We keep on trying to make this city one of the most bike friendly cities in the country,” Booth told News 4.
And, while more and more bike lanes have gone in around Buffalo over the last several years, the Skyride makes temporary bike lanes where bikes usually can’t go.
“You see [the Skyway] all the time, you drive over it, you drive by it, but to drive over it on a bike is really something unique,” DiPasquale said.
Of course, driving a car on the skyway feels like a rare occurance for a lot of people now anyway, thanks to ongoing road construction that cuts of traffic depending on the time of day.
Still, the Skyride brought dedicated road closures around the whole city, giving bicyclists room to ride without any worries about their safety.
That’s the goal for several groups that are working to improve Buffalo’s biking environment as they try to reconnect the areas cut off by the Scajaquada and Kensington Expressways.
GOBike Buffalo was also asking Skyriders for their input for what they’d like to see for the future of the Skyway as the design competition gets underway.
Booth says when the Skyride started six years ago, he was in the camp that wanted to see the Skyway demolished. But, having the chance to ride on it with a bicycle changed his perspective.
“The conversation really changed, in terms of we should be able to ride our bikes on this on a daily basis, not just one time a year,” he said.
For now, the Skyride is the one time of year bicyclists are allowed on the Skyway, and with a picture perfect morning for a ride, cyclists of all skill levels took advantage.
“At least once in your life you’ve gotta do it because it’s worth it,” DiPasquale told News 4.
It’s a once in a lifetime experience DiPasqaule and other riders say they’re already looking forward to doing again, when the Skyride returns next year.