Executive Director Merike Treier's Public Statement at I-81 Scoping Meeting
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
There is an economic interdependency of the region and the City and Suburbs are inextricably linked. Enhancing the quality of life of the core by understanding that a change is needed will benefit all residents. The current configuration of the 81 viaduct creates a physical barrier between neighborhoods and isn’t working. Our City has changed dramatically over the last 50 years and we need a transportation system that reflects these changes. Our major employment base is located downtown and on University Hill. We need to facilitate the growth of these employers by allowing ease of access and vibrant communities for employees, visitors and residents. Eliminating this barrier to reunite the City’s core with an inviting, safe, efficient alternative gives this community one of its greatest opportunities for future growth.
We need to restore connections to our neighborhoods and not look to solutions that accept the status quo or lead to more destruction of our city. The interstate should enhance the City, not define the community. Syracuse is not “any city, USA” and we want a transportation solution that will reflect our community’s soul.
NYSDOT needs to create transportation alternatives to ensure this will not be a one-road solution. We need to improve the street grid for enhanced transportation flow. We need to allow for more access and egress opportunities to roadways to eliminate congestions points that are currently experienced on 81. We need to look forward and plan for efficient mass and alternate transportation opportunities.
We have a significant opportunity to generate new tax revenue for our community. The current path of the 81 corridor has the potential to be a vibrant new neighborhood and we need to allow for uses that will promote this. Although the City accounts for only 3% of the County’s taxable land area, we generate 29% of the County’s property tax revenue. There is a significant potential to activate more downtown acreage to better connect the University Hill and Downtown, generating more community revenue.
We ask that you acknowledge that the current design of 81 is not acceptable. We ask that you rely on the experience of a multi-disciplinary planning team to propose transportation alternatives for our community so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past.