News Column

Congress for New Urbanism group names Skyway one of 10 'Freeways Without Futures'

February 12, 2014

By Mark Sommer, The Buffalo News, N.Y.



Feb. 12--A new call has gone out to tear down Buffalo's elevated Skyway, the 1.4-mile-long bridge that connects the inner and outer harbors.

The 61-year-old Skyway and Route 5, which it merges with, have been named one of the 10 "Freeways Without Futures" in North America, according to a group dedicated to sustainable development.

Critics of the Skyway, including Rep. Brian Higgins, have maintained the 110-foot-tall bridge is structurally obsolete, constitutes a winter hazard and is an aesthetic detriment to the emerging waterfront.

The study by Project for Transportation Reform -- part of Congress for the New Urbanism, a group that promotes "smart growth" and walkable communities -- advocates converting all of the highways on its list to surface boulevards.

"Cities around the world are replacing urban highways with surface streets, saving billions of dollars on transportation infrastructure and revitalizing adjacent land with walkable, compact development," the group said in a statement.

"Transportation models that support connected street grids, improved transit and revitalized urbanism will make reducing gasoline dependency and greenhouse gas emissions that much more convenient."

The 2.6 miles of Route 5 between Buffalo and Lackawanna -- which are referred to as a "blighted corridor" -- was criticized for "oddly configured exit ramps (that) lead to a confusing series of one-way streets that further hinder access to the waterfront."

Other highways listed include Interstate 81 in Syracuse, Sheridan Expressway in the Bronx, Claiborne Expressway in New Orleans and Gardiner Expressway in Toronto.

The Congress for the New Urbanism holds its national conference in Buffalo from June 4 to 7.

email: msommer@buffnews.com

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Source: Buffalo News (NY)


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