The City of Syracuse is moving along with a plan to make a half-mile section of Euclid Avenue near Syracuse University more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
If you've ever seen Euclid Ave during the school year, let alone the summer, you'll notice it's used by vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and even skateboarders. It's the main drag between the SU campus and the east side university neighborhood where many students live. Yet there are no defined bike lanes, and it can be challenging, even dangerous for bicyclists to navigate around cars. DPW Commissioner Pete O'Connor says the stretch between Comstock and Westcott St. is part of a larger bike and pedestrian network expansion
"What we want to do is line up our bike lines exactly the same way as you come off Comstock and turn on to Euclid. So, if you're heading in one direction, you'll have another lane to go in; it doesn't all of a sudden disappear."
O'Connor says the $935,000 project includes the replacement of curbs, adds accessible curb cuts, and repaves the roadway. But he says details of the final design of the bike lane and parking accommodations are still being worked out. O'Connor says they’re trying to balance the priorities of the various stakeholders, including the bikers.
"They'd rather have no parking at all so they can have bike lanes on both sides for that whole stretch, and not have to worry about anything. It's really not feasible because of all the residents in that area. Many of them are SU students, but they rent. The landlords need parking to rent their apartments because if they can't rent their apartments because of no parking, then they're suffering."
O'Connor says parking might only be permitted on one side of Euclid avenue and the bike lane on the other. He hopes the final plan is something most can agree with.
"Obviously you can never please everybody. But we're trying to meet and give them a nice compromise and everyone should walk away feeling like they did get something and should be happy."
The Syracuse Common Council is holding a committee meeting Tuesday at 5:00 at city hall to discuss the project and how to pay for it. A neighborhood meeting will be held at a later date. If the project gets all the necessary approvals soon, O'Connor says work could be done this fall. Otherwise, he says it might be scheduled for next spring.