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National group revives Skyway demolition conversation

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The Congress for New Urbanism picked the Skyway out of nominations from more than 50 cities for its list of  "urban highways most in need of being removed."

According to the CNU, it's biennial "Top Ten List" recognizes urban highways that are doing significant damage to their cities and are seriously in need of replacement with more people-friendly options.

Representative Brian Higgins began pushing for the Skyway's removal several years ago. Higgins says the community has to ask itself whether it wants to invest in the past, or invest in the future.  

"According to the New York State Department of Transportation, the Skyway will require hundreds of millions of dollars in rehabilitation over the next couple of decades. If we can come up with a cost effective and more modern transportation network to replace the Skyway, as a community we need to look at that."  

Higgins says the Skyway was built 60 years ago to sustain chemical, steel and grain industry that is no longer there. 

"I think you see a paradigm shift in Buffalo and Western New York. And we are going to need as much land as we can to develop public parks, to develop residential mixed-use development, both at the Inner and Outer Harbor."  
The "Freeways Without Futures" list includes Rochester's Inner Loop, Interstate 81 in Syracuse and the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto.