The OD has an interview in today's paper with Mayor-elect Palmieri: City workers need more active role . His comments on the Arterial project are troubling:
He also said that while he understands the concerns from some officials and community members over the state’s proposed $62 million North-South Arterial project, he believes it will benefit the region."Region?" Here we go again! I thought Mr. Palmieri was elected to be mayor of UTICA!
“Those are the professionals,” he said of the state Department of Transportation. “Those are the engineers and planners. You’ve got to have confidence in them.”One should have confidence in DOT's engineers and planners in designing a highway . . . but they are not the experts in the lives of everyday Uticans. Decisions that may make sense from a regional perspective are horribly disruptive when taken down to the city level.
Case in point: If you were driving from S. Utica to Varick St. you would probably get on Sunset Avenue and go straight to Varick. No turns needed . . . . That's today. After the proposed Arterial project, the northern end of Sunset would be cut off from you. If you were proceeding north on Sunset, you would have to turn Right on Lincoln (where Sunset is blocked), turn Right on Roberts (because the N end of Lincoln will be blocked), turn Left on State, turn Left on Court, then Right onto Varick. Five turns required.
DOT officials tout the proposed ability to make lefts onto Court St coming off the future arterial from north or south as improving access to Varick and Downtown. Yes, that will be a good thing for people coming from New Hartford or Marcy. But S. Uticans will be seriously inconvenienced as above. N Uticans trying to reach Varick have ALREADY been inconvenienced by the State's cut-off of Whitesboro St. -- which was their most direct route to Varick St.
Simply put, the convenience of Uticans is being sacrificed for the convenience of suburban commuters. You do not need to be a traffic engineer to see this. Perhaps you need to NOT be a traffic engineer to see this because the traffic engineers don't seem to comprehend the disruptions they are causing within the city.
It's more than Uticans' convenience that is being sacrificed for suburban commuters. Utica's economic potential is also being sacrificed.
Another case in point: Utica's economic development area on Whitesboro St. north of the Auditorium. A beautiful piece of property, formerly the site of the Washington Courts housing project, all is now cleared, and infrastructure is in place including new sidewalks. Try getting there! The cut-off of Whitesboro Street makes this site less accessible . . . and less likely to be developed.
Sunset Avenue will become the new Whitesboro Street after the Arterial project is completed. Existing businesses will wither . . . new businesses will be few . . . crime will increase . . . residents will suffer.
Utica leaders need to wake up!