The lines are being drawn. The more you travel the Skyway, the less likely you want to see it removed. The less you travel the Skyway, the more likely you favor the bridge coming down. Unlike Canada’s Golden Horseshoe master plan, Western New York has tunnel vision planning. The Skyway debate is focused on what’s best for a project as opposed to what’s best for regional economic development.
New York State does not employ specific tools or legislation to require the alignment of growth management and transportation investment decisions. Buffalo spent millions to remove traffic off Main Street, then many more millions to reopen traffic. Haven’t we learned any lessons?
The Skyway is part of the Seaway Trail. By law, you just can’t put up a detour sign. If the new stadium is built downtown, does it make sense to remove infrastructure especially after Ohio Street was reconfigured from four lanes to two lanes? If the stadium stays in Orchard Park, do we really want to increase travel times for our Canadian and Northtowns friends?
With the closing of Lakeshore Hospital, Southtowns residents will have a longer ride to Buffalo’s medical corridor made even longer without the Skyway. Given never-ending government studies, have the effects on emergency services been studied? What happens if a drawbridge is up? If a signature Peace Bridge would benefit the region, wouldn’t removing the signature Skyway have the opposite effect?
There is no way to tell with certainty if alternate routes with synchronized signals will work as promised. Forty thousand to 50,000 per day is a lot of vehicles. If the removal of the Skyway does not include a tunnel, why not delay razing the Skyway until alternate routes are working as promised? If problems can’t be resolved, the Skyway could be reopened.
Western New York should follow the Canadian model and embrace regional planning. Our Golden Horseshoe would begin in Niagara Falls and end in Westfield. It’s time to change the Skyway debate to what’s best for the region.