Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Where's the Resolution on the Arterial?

Last week the Utica Master Plan was passed 7-1 by the Common Council after a rather interesting public meeting and discussion. 

Earlier in the day, Mr. Zecca had sent an e-mail with a paper touting the benefits of boulevards to advocate for passage of the Master Plan.  Mr. Zecca suggested that language of the Master Plan could be used to get the State to change its design for the Arterial.  As proposed now, West Utica would be split in two by the new design.
At the Council meeting, one member of the public pointed out (with page citations) that the New York State Department of Transportation in its documentation had almost verbatim lifted language out of the draft Master Plan to demonstrate that DOT's proposal complies with Utica's vision for itself.

In the ensuing discussion among the councilmen, almost everyone expressed concern over the State's plans and a desire that West Utica not be split in two.  Yet, amazingly, not a single one, including Mr. Zecca, proposed that the draft Utica Master Plan be amended before its passage to call for a boulevard replacement for the Arterial.

The State has conducted many meeting on the Arterial and has heard many times that Utica residents object to the street cutoffs and the wall that will be constructed across their neighborhood. Yet the very government that supposedly represents its residents failed to take an official position on the project, although individual officials including the Mayor and head of the economic development department had expressed support for the current design in the press at various times.

Sitting there at the meeting, one could imagine such a discussion having taken place when the City decided to give up the waterworks to a regional authority.  There must have been oh-so-many expressions of "concern," but in the end, they gave it away and the residents later lived to regret it.

So we stand now at the 11th hour and 59th minute to make a decision on West Utica's future.  The Arterial still needs FEDERAL APPROVAL before State DOT will have the funds to build it.  Does the Common Council stand up for its residents and their needs . . . or does it stand for more development in New Hartford and some alleged "regional"  need?

Who represents the residents of Utica?

Where's the Common Council resolution calling for a change in the State's plans?


Anonymous said...

This update will make it SO MUCH easier and faster to get to Consumer Square and Sangertown I can't wait .Better yet make it six lanes and raise the speed limits.

Anonymous said...

There's no resolution addressing this isue because the Mayor & the council are lazy incompetents who just wanted to get the plan passed without any more haggling & let the chips fall where they may. The best thing that happened in Utica recently was when Roefaro decided not to run again.

Anonymous said...

Heard candidate Cerminaro speaking about the state's plan for the arterial. how can someone running for mayor think that this good for utica. He stated that this is a 65 million dollar gift from the state and how can we object to this this wonderful plan. Can he really be this blind to what is ahead ? He always makes a point of playing up how he stayed in Utica (and fed at the public trough) but maybe if he had gone other places his "vision" of Utica wouldn't be so myopic and he would know just how other cities have left Utica mired in the past.

Observer from afar said...

If waiting for the City Council to act responsibly and intelligently is a waste of time, why don't the residents of Utica do something to stop this ill-conceived plan? If the plan still needs Federal Approval, contacting state or local elected officials who work in Washington might stop or delay the source of funds for this project. Although ineffectual in influencing past policy, it is significant that Landmarks Society of Greater Utica strongly opposes DOT's current plan because it destroys significant historic structures, another piece of the city's disappearing urban fabric, and a neighborhood's economy and livelihood. From their recent newsletter: "Despite vocal opposition to this plan, and strong support for a more progressive boulevard plan, DOT is moving full steam ahead with a plan that is, at best, 50 years behind the time". I am not personally familiar with the 'boulevard plan', but if money must be spent, there must be better ways to spend it. Surely the area's enlightened citizenry see the error of this roadway folly and are capable of action. And couldn't elected officials see how counterproductive this project is in terms of urban revitalization and economic growth, two subjects included in their speeches? Utica has played victim to its leaders' greed, myopism and hubris for far too long. Please stop this project someone.

Strikeslip said...

The State blew off the wishes of the residents, so why would one expect the more distant Federal Government to be more responsive than the State?

A group of citizens, no matter how organized, will not get the attention of the Federal Government if it has not first gotten the attention of THEIR OWN LOCAL GOVERNMENT.

City Hall kept the boulevard OUT of the Master Plan because I know for a fact that it was recommended at the sub-committee level.

The City Council MUST act, NOW, if the Arterial plan is to be changed.

Observer from afar said...

You may be right. But how does anyone get the City Council to act? Can the upcoming elections affect the outcome of this plan? Is trying everyone at every level really a total waste of time?