BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Public officials are celebrating the future of the Skyway, one day after state officials selected a winning proposal for the redevelopment of that span of highway. If the plan pans out, it will bring some major changes to the area’s traffic flow.
Those changes would affect a lot of people living in Lackawanna, Hamburg, and Evans, especially those who work in Downtown Buffalo.
“Yes, we are going to do it. Not because we are dreamers. But because we are realists,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, firming his belief that it is time for the Skyway to come down.
Cuomo has already pledged $10 million in state funds for an environmental study on the plan.
The proposal, called “City of Light” would create a Skyway Park, providing panoramic views of downtown for pedestrians. The span would no longer be used for vehicular traffic.
Right now, New York State Department of Transportation estimates suggest more than 42,000 vehicles use the Skyway each day. Many of them are driven by people who live in the western part of Hamburg, where James Shaw is the town supervisor.
“The idea that drive time is going to double is based on fiction,” Shaw said. “We’re not likely to see any increase in drive time.”
The proposal does include changes to the transportation network. Designers want to build and extension from Tifft Street in South Buffalo to South Park Avenue, continuing to Elk Street and I-190. It calls for a new bridge connecting Silo City with the Outer Harbor and the reestablishment of a bridge connecting South Michigan Avenue to the Outer Harbor.
The South Michigan bridge would be similar to one that existed decades ago. It could possible affect the General Mills plant, which has been located on Michigan Avenue since 1903.
“We look forward to partnering with the City of Buffalo as more details become available regarding the vision for the Skyway redevelopment,” said Megan Forrester, a General Mills spokesperson.