Monday, November 15, 2010

Barnes Ave. Bungling . . .

Barnes Avenue bridge closure will strand businesses .
The bridge over CSX railroad tracks provides the only access to several businesses located at the far end of the no-outlet street.
The bridge closure also closes off vehicular access to
  • A well-used boat launching site on the canal
  • The Canalway Bike Trail
  • The Utica Marsh Nature Trail System and watchtower
  • A picnic pavilion and a couple fishing spots
  • New wetlands which were constructed this past summer
What a demotion for the old bridge! Back in 1950, Barnes Avenue connected Oriskany Blvd. in Utica with River Rd in Marcy, and the corridor was planned to be THE major North-South thoroughfare through West Utica via a connection with York Street. See the plan above which, if followed, would also have provided additional access to the Barnes Ave. properties from Genesee St.

The situation that is being created -- public facilities (and money) that will go to waste -- private taxable property that will become essentially worthless -- is the result of bungling on all levels of government. 

First it is absolutely breathtaking that the City of Utica strong-armed CWSI to move to its new Barnes Ave. site this summer while knowing that the bridge eventually was going to go. . . .  and didn't anyone think that the trucks going over that bridge would hasten deterioration?

Second, a LOT of heavy machinery and trucks moved over that bridge when the new wetlands were constructed over the summer to offset wetlands that would be taken for the Marcy Nanocenter.  Didn't the county or the state or whomever planned the new wetlands consider the impacts to the bridge of the construction?

Third, when all the public facilities were planned, didn't anyone think about permanent maintenance of future accessibility?

Utica obviously has fiscal problems.  While the CWSI situation is inexcusable, why should Utica be expected to maintain the only access to properties that are located in Marcy? . . .  properties from which Marcy collected taxes for the last 50 years.  And why should Utica taxpayers be expected to spend millions to provide access to what are regional recreational facilities? 

Why was Barnes Ave. never annexed into Utica after the Thruway severed its connection with River Road in Marcy?  Why do Maynard volunteer firefighters cover this area when Utica has a fire station in West Utica nearby?  Let's keep doing things as we've always done even though it no longer makes sense.

Greater Utica is a practical reality that needs to become a political entity. . . .

Barnes Ave with its stranded businesses and public facilities is the latest victim of local parochialism . 


Anonymous said...

According to the OD story approximately $2 million dollars in federal & state funding was available to address this issue. Which begs the question, why has this problem been ignored to the point that the bridge will now have to be closed? Is the grant money still available, or is it too late due to the incompetence of area officials? Can these people do anything right? The bridge was red flagged for closure on 10/13. And the city waits until 2 weeks before the fact to inform those affected? Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

In a past article in the OD they mentioned the bridge closing and not being replaced. Later in the article it said that the DEC should do a multi million dollar clean up in that area. This does not make sense. At present there are businesses and people on the property yet no one mentioned clean up until the bridge closing announcement. If the area is safe now with occupants what would the sense of a cleanup be if the area is closed off with no access?

clipper said...

Would it not be possible to extend a road from the harbor point area along the north side of the tracks to the Barnes Ave area, giving access to the businesses and to the boat launch and marsh facilities at the end of Barnes Ave?

I would hate to see the creation of a grade crossing at that point on the main line tracks. I am sure there would be vehicle vs train accidents and fatalities.

Seems pretty bad to me, when the state or city can simply determine the bridge has to come down, and that they simply can leave businesses inaccessible to their customers, ultimately putting them out of business.

Strikeslip said...

Wouldn't it be cheaper for Utica to simply move CWSI to another location . . . Period?

Let the State, Oneida County, National Grid and Marcy restore the bridge . . .

Why should Utica taxpayers pay for access to Marcy properties?