Over 100 initial submissions received for Buffalo Skyway Corridor Competition

The Part 1 submission period for the Buffalo Skyway Corridor Competition is closed now and Empire State Development received over 100 submissions from various areas of New York and across the U.S., and even some international entries from Canada, Italy, India and China.

The competition challenges individuals or teams representing the nation’s top urban designers, economists, planners and architects to reimagine the corridor, helping to define a clear vision for the City of Buffalo’s waterfront, inform the direction for investment in placemaking and economic development opportunities.

“Our innovative Skyway design competition will help to build upon the remarkable transformation of Buffalo’s waterfront,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “With more visitors making their way to our waterfront, we need to reimagine the future and harness new ideas for the transportation needs of today and tomorrow. These initial submissions are a great start for this important initiative.”

Participants are being 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. Winners will be announced in September.

The process involves a two-part submission. Part 1, now closed, required respondents to apply providing an overview of their idea and how it addresses the main objectives and constraints of the competition. Those submissions will be evaluated for responsiveness to the goals of the competition, technical complexity and feasibility.

Up to 20 Part 1 respondents determined to have met the evaluation factors will be invited to provide a Part 2 submission, set to open Monday, July 15. Requirements for the Part 2 submission will include a full technical proposal and finished graphics, suitable for gallery presentation.

A jury of experts has been assembled to judge the Part 2 submissions and will hear from finalists in an event setting to select the three prize winners. Jury members will consider factors including: the costs to realize and fund a particular vision; how well a vision’s benefits are quantified and demonstrate how they would outweigh the costs to complete; and how well the plan could accommodate future daily traffic between downtown and the “Southtowns,” the city’s southern suburbs.

The judging panel will be chaired by Empire State Development President CEO and 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.

In February, Governor Andrew 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.


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