If you take a look at the top twelve Tear Down Prospects on Congress for New Urbanism’s (CNU) website, you will notice that Route5/The Skyway is one of them. At one point I would have agreed. When CNU first took a hard look at Buffalo, it was around the time that the Waterfront Coalition was fighting the re-elevation of Route 5. That waterfront debacle was a prime candidate that did land on CNU’s radar. Unfortunately the opportunity to reclaim Route 5 as a boulevard was lost (for now), and The Skyway is still highlighted on the organization’s list of tear-downs.
If The Skyway was torn down tomorrow, I would not lose much sleep over it. At the same time, over the past few years I have rethought my original views of the elevated Jetsonian roadway, and I now see that it is not as obstructive as I once believed. Not only that, I have been swayed to think that if The Skyway was dynamically lit up with LEDs, it could represent an iconic image of our waterfront. Instead of The Skyway being on CNU’s list of top twelve tear-downs, I would hope that the organization would reconsider and add the Kensington Expressway and the 190 along our waterfront to the list. Those are the real problematic roadways that we should be combatting as a city on the rise. Take a look at all of the other expressways on CNU’s List and ask yourself which of Buffalo’s roadways should be keeping company with the top tear-downs.