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:
- An elevated highway over Court Street (3 alternative interchange configurations)
- 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.
- Dead-ending of Warren Street, eliminating access to and crossing of the arterial.
- Elimination of Sunset Avenue's access to and crossing of the arterial and replacing it with a pedestrians-only bridge.
- 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.