Interstate 81

Majority Support Keeping I-81's Current Route, New Poll Shows

Dec 6, 2016
Scott Willis

A group that wants to keep Interstate 81 – or at least its path – through downtown Syracuse has some new support for its position. A new poll by the group Save 81 showed that the majority of respondents support keeping the highway’s current route. Spokesperson Mark Nicotra said past surveys have showed that people are in favor of keeping 81 running through the city, and they wanted to feel the public’s temperature once again.

“We want to see it that still was the thought process and we thought it might be and we are certainly excited to see that it was.”

Scott Willis / WAER News

An observer of population trends and urban issues says Syracuse appears to be on the right path toward making its downtown a more thriving place.

Matt Carmichael is editor of livability.com, and was the keynote speaker at Wednesday’s annual meeting of the Downtown Committee. 

Downtown Committee Executive Director Merike Treier says downtown's growth seems to be spreading or strenghening nearby neighborhoods previously disconnected from the city's core, like the Inner Harbor and Franklin Square. 

A number of experts will be coming to the Syracuse area over the next few months to share their experiences with transportation projects on a scale similar to what’s ahead for Interstate 81.  The series is being organized and co-sponsored by the city, county, and state. County Executive Joanie Mahoney expects the experts will be a wealth of information.  Mahoney says the speakers are intended to complement the displays and materials at the Carnegie library on Columbus Circle where people can stop in at their leisure to learn more about the options and process.

The State Department of Transportation has released the schedule of the next four neighborhoods meetings about the future of I-81 through Syracuse.  About 100 people turned out for the first one held two weeks ago in Toomey Abbott Towers, a stone’s throw from the highway. 

Central New Yorkers will get another opportunity to add their opinions to the debate over the future of Interstate 81 Tuesday.