Governor Andrew Cuomo has finally broken his silence on his thoughts about the Interstate-81’s elevated pathway through Syracuse.
In an appearance earlier this week at The Hotel Syracuse, Cuomo spoke in favor of tearing down the highway as its construction is outdated and inefficient.
Citing the construction as a “blunder,” Cuomo called for the removal of the Interstate, as it does more harm than good, splitting the community in two rather than uniting those from across town.
Syracuse.com reports Cuomo explaining his views on the subject, saying that this project,which was completed over 50 years ago, failed on all levels. He explains,
“That could be a transformative project that really jump-starts the entire region. I-81 did a lot of damage — a classic planning blunder. Let’s build a road and bisect an entire community. That’s an idea, yeah, let me write it down.”
Cuomo also expressed his frustrations that no plans have been made about this issue, even though there have been debates all over the city for years.
But it seems that the city is divided on this issue, with no recollection in sight.
City planning critics say that the elevated highway cuts the city in half, forming a wall between University Hill — one of the city’s biggest assets — and downtown Syracuse. But those who want to keep the highway are hoteliers and other small businesses who worry that replacing it with a surface-level plaza or a tunnel will disrupt their business. However, a boulevard may not be that bad of an idea for privacy, as trees absorb and block sound, reducing noise pollution by as much as 40%.
Nonetheless, no matter what decision they choose, the state of New York will have to acquire private properties from the city residents. If they choose to build a wider Interstate, the Department of Transportation will have to knock down about 35 buildings, and if they go for a boulevard, the state will have to obtain up to 10 residences.