Lawmakers call for additional emergency gates on Skyway

Oct 30, 2014

Sen. Tim Kennedy and Buffalo Common Councilmember Christopher Scanlon are urging the New York State Department of Transportation to install gates on all Skyway on-ramps.

Buffalo Common Councilmember Christopher Scanlon and Senator Tim Kennedy.
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO

Earlier this year, the NYSDOT agreed to install a barrier at the Church Street entrance of the Skyway, but now the lawmakers are asking they "finish the job."

Buffalo Police officers are currently charged with blocking the entrances during emergencies such as poor weather conditions. Kennedy says the Skyway is a state-owned highway and the burden of taking care of it should be shifted to them.  

“So that the Buffalo Police can further patrol the neighborhoods and put their resources into protecting the public and residential areas of the city rather than sitting at the on-ramps of the Skyway to deter traffic. We feel that’s a much better utilization of resources from a manpower perspective and we know it will have a greater impact on the quality of life of our neighborhoods,” said Kennedy. 

Scanlon says last year the Skyway was closed for more than 60 hours. He says that was an enormous amount of time where patrols were taken off area streets.

Emergency barrier is being installed at the Skyway entrance on Church Street.
Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO

“The use of Buffalo Police Officers to close the Skyway here in the City of Buffalo is an antiquated of an idea as the roadway itself. The A District police officers are currently charged with covering the largest geographic district here in the city with the least amount of manpower. Pulling these men and women from their districts and using them as barricades on an obsolete roadway is not only dangerous to them, but it’s also dangerous for the residents they’re sworn to protect,” said Scanlon.

The NYSDOT is already in the process of being installing nine other emergency gate arms along other area thruway on-ramps, eight of those will be along Route 219. The Church Street barrier is expected to be complete by next week.