HomeNewsLocal NewsPanelists Named to Competition to Explore Design Alternatives to Buffalo Skyway Corridor

Panelists Named to Competition to Explore Design Alternatives to Buffalo Skyway Corridor

Panelists Include Local and National Experts in Architecture and Design, Urban Planning and Transportation, as Well as Public Officials

State to Award $100,000 for the Winning Design, $50,000 for Second Place and $25,000 for Third Place

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the chair and panelists responsible for judging the competition to explore alternatives to the Buffalo Skyway Corridor have been namedThe panel will be chaired by Empire State Development Commissioner Howard Zemsky, with ten panelists including experts in the fields of architecture, design, urban planning, transportation, and community growth, as well as public officials.

“The skyway is outdated and aging infrastructure that separated Buffalo from its waterfront, representing a much different city than the one we know today,” Governor Cuomo said. “Replacing it must include new ideas and creativity, which is why we’re launching this competition to incentivize the best urban planners, architects, and design firms in the country to present their plans so we can continue to revitalize Buffalo and build on the enormous economic progress we’re making in the city and across the state.”

“As a Buffalo resident who sees the skyway out my window at home, I know that we can come up with a better transportation alternative that fits with Buffalo’s bold new image,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Our competitions like 43North have proven to be an effective way to deliver innovative solutions to move Western New York forward. The skyway competition will utilize that effective model to harness new ideas for the future. With these talented experts, our community can explore new creative possibilities to truly re-imagine our waterfront.”

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “This competition will showcase New York’s world-class talent by creating new ideas and alternatives to the Skyway Corridor, resulting in better waterfront access and economic impact that further builds on Buffalo’s transformation under Governor Cuomo’s leadership.”

Senator Tim KennedyChair of the Senate’s Transportation Committee, said, “The Skyway has outlived its usefulness and has become an impediment to developing our waterfront for the next generation of Western New Yorkers. I am pleased the process of removing and replacing this monstrosity is moving forward. The creative ideas we hope to receive will allow us to return dozens of acres of land to the community. After years of clamoring for change, Buffalo’s voice is being heard.”

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “After years of debate over the fate of the Skyway, I am pleased to know that the Governor is finally taking some real steps toward finding a remedy to reconnect the city and its residents with our most valuable asset- the Buffalo waterfront. This contest provides an opportunity to solicit ideas from the brightest and most talented urban planners in coming up with a solution for the Skyway corridor. I look forward to seeing the winning designs chosen by our stellar panel.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “The creation of a panel of judges for the Skyway design competition, advances the Governor’s very creative approach to reimagining this roadway into a 21st Century connection and how it needs to function to improve transportation access and stimulate additional economic development. I look forward to seeing the designs that come out of this competition.”

The panelists named today are:

  • Rossana Rosado, Secretary of State
  • Byron Brown, Mayor of Buffalo
  • Bob ShibleyDean, University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning
  • Hal MorseExecutive Director, Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council
  • Ethan KentSenior Vice President, Project for Public Spaces
  • Lynn RichardsPresident and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism
  • Danielle ArigoniDirector of Livable Communities at AARP
  • Lee FisherDean and Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University
  • Jennifer VeyDirector, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking and Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution
  • Calvin GladneyPresident and CEO of Smart Growth America

In February, Governor Cuomo announced the FY 2020 budget would include a national design competition to solicit the best idea for an alternative to the Skyway Corridor. The six-month competition will solicit ideas from design firms, community planners, urban planners, architects and others, with the expert panel reviewing the proposals and ultimately choosing a winning design. Factors the judges will consider include the cost of the proposal, impact on traffic patterns and the timing of its implementation. The winning proposal will receive a $100,000 prize for their design, second place will be awarded $50,000 and third place will be awarded $25,000.

The current design of the Skyway Corridor is functionally obsolete, structurally deficient and unpopular with commuters. Currently, the only option is to rebuild the 60-year-old Skyway Corridor, a structure that would never be constructed today. The competition will explore alternatives to the Skyway Corridor that will maximize waterfront access for residents and increase economic development opportunities while providing safe and convenient transportation for motorists.


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