On May 13, 2019, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the launch of the Buffalo Skyway Corridor Competition. The competition challenges individuals or teams comprising urban designers, economists, planners, and/or architects to reimagine the elevated highway’s corridor.
The goal is to revitalize the corridor, based on a clear vision for the future of Buffalo‘s waterfront. This new vision would inform the direction for investment in placemaking, and would stimulate economic development opportunities.
Participants will be challenged to share solutions that could be implemented with a degree of affordability, feasibility and technical achievability, particularly with regard to accommodating anticipated traffic. The winning design proposal will be awarded a $100,000 prize, second place will be awarded $50,000 and third place will be awarded $25,000.
The process involves a two-part submission. Part 1, open now, allows respondents to provide an overview of their idea and how it addresses the main objectives and constraints of the competition through an application form available here. Submissions will be evaluated for responsiveness to the goals of the competition, technical complexity, and feasibility.
Respondents who best demonstrate how they meet the evaluation factors will be invited to provide a Part 2 submission, to open Monday, July 15, which will include a full technical proposal and finished graphics, suitable for gallery presentation. Up to 20 Part 1 respondents will be invited to proceed to Part 2.
A jury of experts has been assembled to judge the submissions and will hear from finalists in an event setting to select the three prize winners from this group of respondents. Winners will be announced by late summer 2019.
In February, Governor Cuomo announced his intent to conduct a national design competition to solicit the best ideas for a new vision for the current Skyway Corridor. The Skyway, a four-lane limited access expressway, extends four miles along the City’s Buffalo River and Lake Erie waterfront, and carries almost 40,000 trips per day of commuter traffic as part of the regional highway system.
Completed in 1953, the Skyway was originally designed to connect truck traffic from multiple large and small factory complexes and the Port of Buffalo to the then-fledgling interstate highway system. Yet with the closings of the region’s major steel plants in the 1980s and changing land uses along the corridor from heavy manufacturing to recreation, the Skyway now largely services daily commuter traffic from the “Southtowns” – Buffalo’s southern suburbs.
Factors the jury members will consider include: the costs to realize a particular vision and respondents’ ideas on funding it; how well the benefits of a vision are quantified and demonstrate how they would outweigh the costs to complete; and how well it could accommodate future daily traffic loads between downtown and the Southtowns.
Governor Cuomo previously announced the chair and panelists responsible for judging the competition. The panel will be chaired by Empire State Development Commissioner 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.
Part 1 submissions due June 28, 2019 at 3 p.m. (Eastern time).
Photo of Buffalo Skyway courtesy of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.