The impending State reconstruction of the North-South Arterial presents a unique opportunity to increase the desirability of a large Utica neighborhood -- if the right choice is made.
The pictures certainly look pretty. An overpass over Court Street with a roundabout beneath, and a pedestrian (only) bridge at Sunset, seem to be the official plan of choice. Perhaps the idea is that people going home to New Hartford from the Stanley will be able to get on the arterial at Court without having to stop at a light.
Wham, Bam, Thankyou, Ma'am!
People do live and work in this area. Pedestrians walking along Court will face walls and have a 'roundabout' route. Drivers along Sunset will be cut off entirely, while pedestrians will be forced to use a footbridge. Other streets will be cut entirely. While the footbridge has been cited as creating an "urban grandeur feeling," how grand would you feel while being mugged in a place where police vehicles have no access and where drivers passing beneath at 60 MPH are too busy to notice?
The fact is, these kinds of highways through neighborhoods are death for the neighborhoods they pass through. They were mistakes from the early days of the Interstate system when we did not know better... but people know better now, and we know there are viable alternatives.
Baltimore and Washington, DC saw the light and stopped interstates from slicing through town (I-95 now follows the Capital Beltway). San Francisco and New York have replaced elevated highways with boulevards at grade level. Buffalo is now considering the same thing. Read the Buffalo link, particularly the examples of successful boulevards from other cities presented in the last few pages.
Route 840 and its grade-level crossings has encouraged development in suburban locations that now require heavy taxpayer investment in infrastructure. Meanwhile, the State's proposal for Utica will actually cut off access to places where the infrastructure for development is already in place but under-utilized. Is this short sighted, or what?
Madam Utica has already been raped by local policies that take money out of the pockets of city residents and redistribute it to the suburbs (water and sewer fees). It must not be physically raped by a highway that will wall off West Utica to development.
This plan must be changed.