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The Sun says scrap the Skyway

I was wondering why last week out of the blue Dan Meyer, editor of The Sun decided out of the blue to comment on an old Skyway post I wrote. Then I opened up my copy of The Sun to find this editorial:

It’s time to continue the fight to tear down the Skyway
We feel strongly that the push to tear down the Skyway in favor of a roadway should continue, but first a brief history lesson:
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

That was the defining phrase in the famous challenge from then United States President Ronald Reagan to Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.

That speech, which took place on June 12, 1987 at the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall, set the stage for the eventual destruction of that wall, a structure whose demise represented a symbol of Reagan’s desire for increasing freedom in the Soviet bloc.

Although the wall was technically the responsibility of the East German government, our country considered East Germany to be a Soviet puppet state.

So what does that have to do with the Buffalo Skyway? Simply put, the Skyway, in its own unique way, represents a physical and psychological barrier to Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. There is no doubt in our mind that it should be removed.

The enormous cost of maintenance of the bridge itself, unsafe road conditions, frequent closures and a variety of other problems are among the key reasons the Skyway should be razed.

It’s very basic — if Western New York, particularly the City of Buffalo, wants progress, tearing down the Skyway must happen.
From what we understand, the state’s Department of Transportation is not taking very seriously the push by local politicians and other community stakeholders to tear down the Skyway.

The bridge itself essentially alienates the heart of downtown Buffalo from the waterfront. In addition to being dangerous, severe auto accidents and inclement weather cause the Skyway to be closed anywhere from 10 to 12 times a year.

The maintenance price figures are mind-boggling: last year there was about $9 million spent on repairs to the bridge’s structure and approximately $15 million spent on painting the thing.

According to information from Congressman Brian Higgins, major structural repairs to the Skyway will result in as much as $100 million being spent on substructural work in the next few years.

Our waterfront is not being developed for a number of reasons, one of which involves the Skyway and how it prevents people from gaining easy access to the Outer Harbor. It really makes no sense at this point to develop land that people can only see but not actually reach.

Several municipal governments — including the Hamburg Town Board — are supporting Higgins’ proposal to remove the Skyway.
Getting rid of a structure that takes up more ground space than either a tunnel or a series of lift bridges would and essentially occupies most of the prime land in the city makes sense and will help further waterfront development.

Millions of dollars will continue to be drained from this region as long as the Skyway stands tall. Tearing down that eyesore will allow for that valuable waterfront property to eventually be developed.

There is no reason to have a 110-foot tall bridge that is approximately one-and-a-quarter-miles long standing in the way of our region truly enjoying our valuable waterfront property.

So in the words of the late President Reagan, we ask the state DOT to “tear down this bridge.”

If you agree, call Higgins at his Buffalo office at 852-3501 and help continue the fight.

Now, of course I don’t expect the editorial board (if there is actually a board at The Sun) to be fair and objective, it isn’t their job. But I would have thought they might have done a little bit of actual research to back up their opinion, other than calling Higgins’ office, where you certainly aren’t going to get an unbiased opinion. You know… maybe throw a couple of facts in there to actually back up your opinion other than regurgitate the same anti-Skyway rhetoric this area hears over and over.

I guess it’s time for me to expand my anti-anti-Skyway battle to the Letters to the Editor page. Stay tuned.

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  1. Hey Derek, I guess it’s just something that’s been on my mind for awhile so I did some Google searches and read some items related to the great Skyway debate (including your blog and that post) and decided it was time to touch on the issue.

    We do have a three-member editorial board @ The Sun. Yours truly writes the weekly editorials that appear each week on Page 4.

    And yes, I received your letter. Well said. Consider this verification and hopefully it will be published this week or next.

    Good discussion. I would sum it up at this point as saying we can agree to disagree.

  2. Totally random, but I wanted to say thank you for showing me how to change a flat tire back at RIT 6 years ago. It made the one I got this morning so much easier. 🙂

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