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I-81’s future is in your hands

Syracusans offer input at public forum

An aerial view of I-81. The city is in the process of gathering public input on the future of the interstate that divides the city.

An aerial view of I-81. The city is in the process of gathering public input on the future of the interstate that divides the city. Provided

— The SMTC says that, based on traffic studies, just 12 percent of vehicles that use I-81 south of the city make it through the region without stopping, suggesting that diverting regional interstate through traffic to an alternative route would have a tiny impact on traffic volume on the road.

The viable alternatives, D’Agostino said, will be refined and analyzed and a formal environmental review will begin. That will lead to a decision of what can be implemented.

Public input

There were eight stations at the forum which outlined the background, purpose and the process of the Challenge, and also what the findings were to date. The stations explained what is going on now, and what will happen in the future.

A station called “Your Visions” outlined the almost 150 ideas received from last year’s workshop. Another outlined the possible future strategies, while another gave information about our current public transit, and to explore other transit options.

Station 6 showed the evaluation process for said future strategies, while Station 7 explored “What’s Next” The final station explained how you can stay involved.

Jerry Martin, a retired salesman, has lived in the city for more than 60 years. He was at the forum to gather as much info as he could so he can make an informed decision. His idea was pretty straight-forward.

“We need to remove the bridges,” he said. “They divide the city and they’re costly to keep repaired. Seems like they’re always being worked on.”

He said he’s noticed through his travels down south that the expressways that go through cities are ground-level, and that there are access roads on each side.

“Makes for easy on, easy off,” he added, while giving a solution: “Maybe they should re-route trucks to 481. The road isn’t a bad solution, especially for trucks going north and south. Maybe make a beltway.”

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