If you’re not familiar with the I-81 viaduct battle in Syracuse, this video is a great way to get caught up.

Marc Norman is the Director of Upstate Syracuse, a design and research center at Syracuse University, and a leader in the field of analysis taking place to weigh city’s options as the expressway deteriorates. Marc spoke with News Channel 9 on the opportunity to reconnect the city and begins to answer the question: is this the right answer for Syracuse?

We’re not going to presuppose what the answer is but we’re going to ask the right questions. How do we reconnect the whole street grid? Do we make one-way streets two-way instead? Do we use signalization of lights? Do we create other streets or reconnect what became super blocks so that streets go through again? I think asking all those questions to the DOT will get us some other answers as to whether a boulevard is the right answer here.


Norman does cite studies supporting the socioeconomic benefits of highway removal:

[Seattle] did a study on eight cities in the U.S. that tore down highways and created boulevards, and in every case, there were positive benefits. [. . .] They saw a reduction in traffic volume, greater economic development opportunities, a reduction in crime. There were no negative impacts from removing highways and creating more connectivity in cities.

He also mentions the successful removal of Park East Freeway in Milwaukee, which was overseen by colleague Peter Park. The two designers spoke in Detroit at the Legacy City Design Forum, where people from across the country were brought together to discuss the special case of rethinking infrastructure in legacy cities.

Read more on Next City on the charged racial and political history in Syracuse and take a look at some of the concept renderings from Syracuse University up-close at Atlantic Cities.

Featured image courtesy of Syracuse University, via Atlantic Cities:
Cortez-Li-Liu © 2013

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