I-81 Challenge

To build it or not to build it.  That is the question...Kind of...

The official decision-making process, The I-81 Challenge, is being led by two entities, the New York State Department of Transportation and the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council (SMTC), the region’s metropolitan planning organization (MPO). Together, these two entities are trying to engage a broad cross-section of community members in developing and evaluating options for the future of this vital corridor.

In reviewing the summary of the last meeting and summary of plans, many folks are still concerned about the loss of cross-commuting should 81 be torn down or replaced with a boulevard. Concerns about the potential redirection of 10-12$ traffic to 481 causing even greater delays were also expressed. Support for converting I-81 to a boulevard and investing in further public transportation to ease overall car transportation into and around Syracuse (the majority of traffic flows to and within the city not through) was also voiced. A minority would see 81 remodeled but remain the basically the same (though safer), though the majority thought the opportunity to revision the transit area in this corridor was too great to leave as is. The most viable options seem to be either a total reconstruction of I-81 over Syracuse or a conversion of 81 to a Boulevard with further investment in Light rail and public transit systems. Both are more expensive operations and provide greater opportunity to make Syracuse an easier city to traverse.

BWC is an avid advocate for public transportation investment and big investment ideas that shake up and create the Ideal (or close to it) for the health and livability of cities. We cannot decrease the amount of time someone spends on any highway by only increasing the number of lanes on a highway. We also don't solve air or noise pollution in cities with the same. The good word from Field of Dreams is "If you build it, they will come." While sometimes you have to toss in a little advertising or public education, the statement holds true for highways and public transit. People will use and adapt to whatever system is at their disposal, so why not move towards a healthier, more sustainable transportation system now and let the grumbles fade as people do what people do best. Adapt.

Check out May's Summary Analysis

Kicking Asphalt

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