A group of people imagined a different Syracuse Friday morning where workers use public transportation to get around the city instead of driving to work on their own.
A F.O.C.U.S. forum downtown brought speakers together to suggest ways to make Central New York less reliant on cars. Syracuse University grad student Eric Ennis studies the effect mass transit can have on a city when implemented effectively, such as the Tide line in Norfolk. Ennis says people in Syracuse first need to look at transportation in a new way.
“I really feel like the culture needs to change and people need to be more willing to step out of their cars and whether it is using bikes or walking and infusing transit oriented development. People need to be looking at other options besides their cars.”
Ennis says there are many opportunities available to transform Syracuse’s current rail system into a means of easy transportation. He says light rail lines could be combined with current rail lines in the future to save time and money in the transition. Some of Ennis’s studies looked at why Ontrack failed to meet needs in Syracuse and how we can learn from that failure.
“It really touched on these destinations, so it had stops at Armory Square and Carousel Center and the S.U. campus, but it completely bypassed the neighborhoods.”
Ennis and the other panel members hoped that in the future development projects could be placed near the rails, encouraging people to create new neighborhoods near the rails. Currently, about two and a half percent of people in the area and eight percent of people living in Syracuse use the bus system and other forms of mass transit to get to work.