Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rethinking Utica's North-South Arterial . . .

The Greater Utica "powers that be" seem to push in exactly the opposite direction from those things that the general public needs.
  • In New Hartford, they push to put traffic lights on Route 840, slowing traffic to encourage "development" of adjacent green fields.
  • In Utica, they want to cut off access to whole streets on the North-South Arterial to speed traffic, reducing access to brownfields awaiting redevelopment.
The difference between the two, of course, is that in New Hartford no neighborhoods would be disrupted by keeping 840 limited access with no lights, while in Utica, the West Utica neighborhood will be dissected even more than it already is by the Arterial.

Both proposals would encourage urban sprawl, upping taxpayers' costs. In Utica, lands which already have service infrastructure in place will be made less accessible to redevelopment. Meanwhile, in New Hartford, access is being given to lands without infrastructure, requiring the taxpayers to pay for service extensions if development is to occur. How wasteful!

Now that our older arterial projects are aging out and needing replacement, some people are rethinking the roles that these roads play in our every-day society, and seeing that modifications are in order.

NYCO redirects us to the Onondaga Citizens League which is Rethinking I-81, that interstate that slices up downtown Syracuse. OCL is advocating replacement of I-81 downtown with boulevards -- routing intercity traffic through the suburbs.

Greater Utica needs to start thinking along these lines. The current North-South Arterial has not been kind to West Utica, and proposals on the table all involve cutting off more streets and erecting more barriers to cross-neighborhood traffic.

Read the links at the OCL site, such as Removing Freeways-Restoring Cities, and see if you, too, come away thinking that we can do better than what is being proposed.

1 comment:

clipper said...

I can envision West Utica benefiting from the concept of making the arterial a boulevard and opening it up to access to commercial activity. Build stores and strip malls along the arterial and do away with the expressway idea. It is a poor excuse for an expressway anyhow. Hell maybe someone would come up with the ingenious idea to build a grocery store along the arterial to serve everyone from Genessee St west to Yorkville, wouldn't that be something new and different?
Reopen the streets that were blocked off for the arterial, and let the life blood flow back into West Utica. Let them once again be part of the city proper.

All that would be necessary for intercity traffic to flow well would be a spur from Marcy to 840.