Design to turn Buffalo Skyway into elevated park wins competition – what happens now?


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) –The Skyway could soon take on a whole new shape and purpose.

A plan to turn the four-mile Skyway connecting downtown with the South-towns into an elevated park offering views of Lake Erie and the Buffalo waterfront has won a highly-contested design competition.

“City of Lights” was chosen as the first-place winner out of 16 finalists, with the designer getting $100,000.

Several people at Canalside said they’re open to the idea.

“I sort of like the one where you ride your bikes up or a bike path,” said Hamburg resident Dave Boswell. “Or a walkway up to overlook the water and everything, I think it would be very nice.”

“The design is nice,” John Walker said. “I like the way that it looks.”

The plan calls for removing ramps on either side of the existing Skyway bridge and allowing the bridge deck to become “Skyway Park”, offering panoramic views for pedestrians and cyclists.

With this design travelers going from the Southtowns to downtown and back would have to find a different route.

“I think it would be nice, except for the commute to work,” said Hamburg resident Jenna Bowell. “It would be a good asset to Buffalo but getting to work would be hard if you live in the south-towns.”

Drivers that currently use the Skyway would be given alternatives including a reestablished South Michigan Avenue bridge, a new road near Terminals A and B that would intersect with Ohio Street, and the Tifft Street Extension crossing the Buffalo River to Elk Street.

The four-mile long elevated highway was built in the 1950s, and its prominence defined the city’s appearance but its size and placement was criticized for cutting off development.

The project could cost up to $600 million, according to the presentation. As to who would pay for it, the state said 20/80 with the federal government picking up most of the tab.

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