Buffalo can create Skyway to the future

Good for Congressman Brian Higgins. Down with the Skyway! Or, how about an alternative? How about reducing the cost of demolition and the amount of rubble? How about a world-class green project? How about a public/private partnership that morphs the Skyway into a revenue-generating, tax-generating structure? That’s what visionary Ran Webber sees ( Imagine a line drawn from First Niagara Center to the Naval & Military Park. Imagine that line intersecting the Skyway. Imagine everything related to the Skyway between that line and downtown gone.

Now the magic. Imagine the remainder of the Skyway converted to a multiuse building. Imagine condos with incredible views, museums, retail stores, offices, a green observation deck, wind and solar making it power neutral. Imagine Buffalo with an iconic structure recognizable worldwide. Imagine our own Eiffel Tower if you will. Imagine the tourism. Think big.

Any Skyway replacement faces a challenge in the tens of thousands of vehicles pouring over its four lanes every day. The Buffalo River is a challenge. A four-lane swing bridge is the solution. Just as highway interchanges soar, a swing bridge could soar with pleasure craft passing underneath. It would only need to open for lake vessels, not an everyday occurrence. Were the bridge a two-level structure, the upper level could host a restaurant with spectacular views. Imagine being there when a lake vessel sails by.

It’s doable. It’s been vetted by local and national architectural and engineering experts. It’s cost effective. It’s good for tourism. It creates jobs – jobs to build it, jobs to fill it. It’s good for the environment. It’s good for the economy. All that and more. Webber has the vision. Do we?

W.T. “Bill” McKibben