The time has come to open up the mystery Skyway box. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the top submissions from the “Aim for the Sky” Skyway competition can now be viewed. The public is being invited to submit questions that will be asked during a live pitch event leading up to the awards ceremony. The competition was open to people from all over the world, including top urban designers, economists, planners, and architects who were invited to envision the future of the Skyway corridor, from downtown to Lackawanna.
The top submissions are available to view at www.esd.ny.gov/skywayideas, or at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Downtown Central Library at 1 Lafayette Square, until September 13. The library is open seven days a week (view hours here). After reviewing the submissions, individuals may submit questions online that the Review Panel may use during the live pitch event.
“These submissions showcase creative ideas that re-imagine the Skyway Corridor and propose innovative ways to enhance Buffalo’s waterfront,” Governor Cuomo said. “I encourage anyone who has an interest in Buffalo’s future to view the ideas that build on a decade of accomplishments along the waterfront and seek to transform this community.”
The top submission will be awarded a $100,000 prize, second place will be awarded $50,000, and third place will be awarded $25,000.
“Our effort to re-imagine the Skyway corridor has brought out the best and brightest with creative ideas for the next generation of Buffalo’s waterfront,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “In recent years, tremendous progress has unfolded at Canalside and the Outer Harbor – while the Skyway has stood by as a stark reminder of the past. With this competition, we are embracing innovative solutions to meet our transportation needs and build a stronger future for Buffalo and Western New York.”
The judging panel is chaired by Empire State Development Chairman Howard Zemsky, with 10 panelists including Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, and local and national experts in the fields of architecture, design, urban planning and transportation.
Participants in the competition were asked to take into consideration such elements as affordability, feasibility, and technical achievability. They were also asked to take into consideration traffic patterns, the city’s history, its relationship to the waterfront, and other criteria. Over 100 submissions were entered into the competition, which were then whittled down to 20 teams that were required to submit final presentation boards and proposals. 16 of the final proposals are now available for viewing online or at the Central Library. Ultimately, the teams will be narrowed down to 8, who will be asked to pitch their concepts to a review panel.
There is a great range in what we are seeing with these proposals, from virtually eliminating the Skyway in lieu of parkways, to the creation of stunning architectural aspects that would add great visual interest to the city’s skyline. In the end, there were some sensational ideas, some of which even took into consideration outlying areas for the implementation of beaches, parks, new bridge access points, bicycle elevators, 4 season scapes, sculpture parks… the list goes on and on.
Empire State Development Chairman Howard Zemsky said, “These submissions will help recapture Buffalo’s greatest asset – its waterfront – and write a new chapter for the Buffalo Skyway Corridor. This is an incredible opportunity to consider changes to the expressway that can have a positive, meaningful and lasting impact on the corridor and the community.”
The images that were chosen for this post were simply to provide some interesting examples of visuals found among the proposals. Lead image is from #4 City of Lights: Re-View Our Waterfront