Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Last Exit for West Utica . . .

The Last Chance to Turn Around . . .

On March 31, 2009, 1-4PM & 6-9PM at the Utica State Office Building 1st Floor, the State Dept. of Transportation will be holding a public meeting on the revamping of the North-South Arterial both between Sunset Avenue and Oriskany Blvd, and in the Burrstone Road areas.

The current concept includes:

  1. An elevated highway over Court Street (3 alternative interchange configurations)
  2. Elimination of access to the arterial toward North Utica from westbound traffic at Court Street, forcing such traffic northbound over State St. through 3 intersections before the arterial is reached.
  3. Dead-ending of Warren Street, eliminating access to and crossing of the arterial.
  4. Elimination of Sunset Avenue's access to and crossing of the arterial and replacing it with a pedestrians-only bridge.
  5. Extension of Lincoln Ave. to a new intersection at Burrstone Rd. with elimination of the current ramps to the arterial, forcing westbound Burrstone Rd. traffic to make a left turn through the intersection to get on the arterial going toward North Utica.

The 60s-era North-South Arterial achieved its goal of removing traffic from Downtown Genesee Street . . . But traffic is what businesses want. Now there is no traffic on Genesee Street and no Downtown to speak of.

The 60s-era North-South Arterial brought through-traffic with dirt and noise into West Utica and discontinued several east-west streets. Blight followed.

What role did the Arterial play in the decline of Downtown and West Utica? or in the rise of development on former farmlands and orchards? or in our bad case of Urban Sprawl? or in our unaffordable property taxes? "No role" is not a credible response.

Now we have this new proposal that will make numerous blocks of West Utica even more "land locked" and difficult to access than they are now. The highway that is proposed is out of character with the city, being more suitable for the countryside. Properties adjacent to the arterial will either be in the shadow of viaducts or facing walls.

This proposal will succeed . . . at driving more people and money out of Utica into suburban areas, forcing suburban taxpayers to build more infrastructure to support development while wasting the infrastructure that city taxpayers already built.

DOT has the alternatives that will both improve traffic and safety while improving access to and appearance of West Utica. The public needs to demand them.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

The arterial is an example of the walling off of neighborhoods by highways that goes back to the 1950's and was done in many cities. As in the urban renewal destructions of the 60's and 70's,much harm was done in the name of progress. Done by whom? Government.

Anonymous said...

Repair what you have. Create the 3rd right hand turn turning lanes at Oswego and Noyes like Court St. AND, light up the intersections!!. Sometime you go by there and half the street lights are out for months. Get rid of the dumb center median that just collects car parts. The same thing that takes the State 2-3 weeks and an army of people to clean.

Anonymous said...

Whether you like it or not, the Arterial is the major North-South for this area and it does not do a good job at that. To be fair, where do you reroute this traffic?

Slowing traffic down and remaking the Arterial a boulevard will not bring business back to the city.

Strikeslip said...

The DOT studies said that the Multi-Way Boulevard WILL carry the traffic with improved safety.

DOT did not choose that option because the city lacked a "redevelopment" plan.

Government "redevelopment" plans don't work (Urban Renewal #1 referenced earlier comes to mind). You need to create the environment to allow it to happen. A boulevard will allow for it . . . An expressway will not. With the former you get the possibility of real growth -- with the latter, you only get a 2 minute faster commute.

clipper said...

Take a drive along one side or the other of the Barnes Avenue bridge, and see what the residents of THOSE houses see when they look out their window. Is that what the people living along the arterial in W.Utica deserve to be plagued with? How would one expect to realize the full value of their property, should they want to sell, if it is facing a wall, or sitting in the shadow of a bridge. Hell, anyone wanting to grow a tomato plant would have to pot it and place it on their roof to allow for any sun to reach it. For once in your lives, NYDOT, give the people the common courtesy of considering the impact it would have on their lives. It seems that these plans would simply make it easier for people to "PASS UTICA BY" rather than to access it with relative ease. That really is disheartening to those of us that remember a vibrant and accessible West End. I still condone building a bypass, utilizing the new 890 and taking it across the flats west of Whitesboro, and onto 70, for those that don't want to be slowed by the arterial. Then the side streets could be opened back up, and West Utica could be part of the city proper again. More traffic lights, fewer pedestrian deaths, and no more bridges and dead end streets.

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone can remember what was originally planned and where it was supposed to have gone. I think it was going to go above York St someplace?? Anyone remember this?