Monday, January 09, 2012

A Change of Perspective . . .

Once again, the Arterial plays into the Observer-Dispatch's Good, Bad and Ugly column:
Once again the Utica Common Council has shown its lack of good sense by attempting to undermine the state Department of Transportation’s proposed North-South Arterial project in west Utica. In a 5-4 vote, the council voted this past week to urge the DOT to consider keeping Sunset Avenue open where it intersects with the arterial.

This should not be viewed as an "Arterial project," but, rather, a "project to close Sunset Ave and Warren St at the arterial, and close Lincoln Ave. at Court St."

A change of perspective from "commuter-orientation" to "resident orientation"  is needed to understand the true damage that the State's proposal will do to the city. These changes will disrupt traffic patterns that have been established for perhaps 150 years, and will be on top of other disruptions the State has done through other rounds of arterial-making. 

Simply put, the state proposes to sacrifice the proper functioning of Utica's local street system to make it easier for people to get to and from the suburbs. 

That is wrong, and the Council is right in taking a stand that protects Utica's interests.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused about the justification for the alterations in the first place. Was it safety, traffic movement or a combination of various goals? With Utica comprising less than 20% of the region's population and New Hartford being the commercial center of at least the area, one can see the goal of moving traffic in and out of the city the suburbs as reasonable. If the project had different goals, there could be advanrages to other designs. Could someone explain to this late arrival to the issue?

Strikeslip said...

Wow -- What region are you talking about Anonymous? If you are talking about the *entire* Oneida-Herkimer county area Utica has about 20% of the population (not less than). If you are talking Utica and the surrounding towns, Utica has about half of the population.

Regardless, there is little need for everyone in the entire region to travel through Utica on the arterial to get to New Hartford for shopping. If you were from Rome, it would make more sense to go to Syracuse to shop, but you would NOT take the arterial even if you wanted to shop in NH.

Retail development has occurred in New Hartford on the outer edge of Greater Utica's populated zone, requiring people to go farther and burn more fuel to do shopping. The location would seem to discourage suburban development until you consider that the state/federal taxpayer-funded arterial made this fringe location more convenient than city locations by disrupting city streets and literally putting a controlled-access highway to dump cars into particular suburban locations.

The developers and Town owe the taxpayers (especially Utica taxpayers who paid half the acquisition costs and lost tax base for the original arterial) a huge debt in this regard because they never would have been able to accomplish this on there own.

You cannot get away from the fact that city residents are going to be inconvenienced by this design. Why is that necessary?

Retail development should be located *within* the City of Utica to be closer to the consumers and to save on fuel. Instead of paving more roads to fringe-area greenfield developments, the money should be spent improving navigation within Utica so that all areas, particularly areas that are awaiting development, are easier to get to.

D. Naegele said...

If one is familiar with the area and lives there, the majority will most likely be going to the Consumer Square area to shop, rather than to the NH Shopping Center. They will probably go over the hill out of Whitesboro and over Middle Settlement Rd, or if they come from Rome, they will possibly be coming from the direction of Rt233 or will find their way onto 840 at some point, not the arterial.

I simply cannot see a need to further speed traffic through the city when it is only a 15 minute ride at most from Oriskany St to Rt 8 South exit in New Hartford on the busiest of days.

The entire project seems a waste of money in a time when it could be spent much more wisely on something else. I hope for sake the residents of West Utica that if the plan can't be modified, that the funding simply goes away in the midst of the controversy and it becomes a moot point.

If the furor were simply over eminent domain issues and taking a minor number of properties for the project it would be more easy to swallow, but the project is way beyond that, and will throw a literal monkey wrench into traffic flow in the West end forever. Once it is done, it will never be reversed. It is pure and unadulterated political BS and too many outsiders are buying into it for selfish reasons. I live in Tennessee and I am an outsider also, but even I can see without being there that it will forever change the lives of those that are living in West Utica, will permanently scar the city, and will have NO positive benefits for those residents effected by the devastation.

Anonymous said...

Wow, yourself. Take a deeper breath than normal. I guess one can't ask a question here without getting a near hysterical answer. Plus, a couple of your references are so simplistic and unrealistic that one must look elsewhere for an objective view.

Strikeslip said...

The need for an expressway is self fulfilling. When local streets get cut their traffic gets diverted causing congestion and a need for future upgrades elsewhere.

Greens and Beans said...


What would happen to the Seneca Turnpike area if the State proposed to make it an inaccessible highway bypassing the Yahnundasis Golf Club and Country Club all the way to Woods Highway? Does anyone doubt that there would be in an uproar from the businesses that would suffer from the lack of consumer access? Does anyone believe that the New Hartford 12B residential areas would be ostracized from the nearby retail sector?

The Arterial project would cut off the already semi-disconnected residential areas of West Utica. The retail sector of West Utica needs to be reborn because the population base is there, but the retail community cannot justify investing in this area when the highway will NOT allow traffic to access their establishments. Checkout what happened to the once striving retail sector of River Road in Marcy. The construction of the State Route 49 bypass has had quite an adverse effect on most of the businesses that enjoyed a robust economy before the traffic pattern was altered.

Utica Officials and residents, in conjunction with Oneida County officials, MUST unite to circle the wagons and stand up to the State DOT. They need to energize their NY State elected representatives (members of the State Senate and Assembly) to join in and inform Governor Cuomo that the NYSDOT must not interfere with Utica’s Master Plan. The survival of West Utica is at the crossroads in terms of their survival, stagnation or revitalization. Utica is strong, they just need to learn how and where to flex their political muscle.

Anonymous said...

This entire discussion is rather silly. There is no true traffic congestion here. We are in an area of declining population, wealth and business. The arterial is there, built under very different circumstances, so it must be maintained. The only factor that merits consideration is safety.

Anonymous said...

First, it is amazing that the Utica Common Council finally woke up. This discussion has been going on for months and at the final hours Council pretends to be concerned.

Second, what about the cars and trucks traveling north or south that aren’t going to Utica or New Hartford. The State has to worry about ambulances or employees from Boonville or Waterville that are trying to get to local hospitals (Major area Employers too), or tractor trailers moving freight to what business we have left.

Strike stop making Utica look like the victim, it was once the center point of the area but the thieves and crooks who ran this city chased people away to the “burbs” because they had enough of the politics.