Following a competition that received more than 100 submissions from design firms all over the world, a jury convened by Governor Andrew Cuomo has selected an ambitious plan to turn the Buffalo Skyway into an eye-catching tourist destination with elevated parks, retail space, pedestrian walkways and more.
Known as City of Lights, the winning plan calls for removing the ramps on either side of the Skyway and turning the remaining bridge deck into “Skyway Park.”
Visitors will be able to access Skyway Park via two vertical structures at Canalside and the Outer Harbor. The structure at Canalside consists of an undulating steel and glass tower with elevators, stairwells, a vertical art gallery and winter garden. At the top of the tower, which extends above the bridge deck, spectators will be able to enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Erie and the surrounding cityscape.
Meanwhile, at the Outer Harbor, a new group of stylized glass silos will be constructed to provide access to the south end of the park. These silos will become a year-round mixed-use destination with a food bazaar, performance space, a hotel and more. The silos will be topped with a green roof and observation deck with outdoor dining areas.
Along the length of the bridge deck, visitors will find designated pedestrian and bicycle paths, shade structures, plantings, furniture and interpretive signage that offers information about the Buffalo Niagara Region. Removal of the rest of the Skyway will also open 12 new acres for development in downtown Buffalo and Canalside.
“This is creating an entire new downtown space,” said Governor Cuomo during the announcement. “It’s a blank sheet of paper.”
Cuomo pledged $10 million to expedite the environmental study for the project, and said that the state would commit to funding 20 percent of the estimated $600 million project. If enough federal funding can be secured to help cover the remaining costs, infrastructure work on the project could be completed within the next five years.
To learn more about the project, including the plan to reroute commuter traffic from the Southtowns, you can view the complete proposal here.