Syracuse has entered the ring as one of the many cities fighting to remove a highway that has a stranglehold on a city’s ability to grow exponentially. If you look at the I-81 in downtown Syracuse (bird’s-eye view), you might actually think that you are looking at an image of Buffalo’s own downtown (near Pearl Street Brewery and Canalside). Urbanism advocates in Syracuse are currently calling for a highway removal that would replace the I-81 with a street level grid that would be conducive to the revitalization of the city’s core.
The Community Grid would help to reconnect the city, while freeing up space for new buildings, public parks, and event spaces, all of which would promote a healthier walking/biking and public transportation climate. Advocates are in the process of building a consensus among citzens, to push for the I-81 highway removal.
In recent years, Buffalo has also broached the subject of a number of highway removals. Unfortunately, these are piecemeal attempts without looking at the broad stroke picture. All of our highways are interconnected, whether running through the center of Delaware Park, or along our waterfront, or in the core of downtown itself. Hopefully Syracuse realizes this urbanist vision, and Buffalo can benefit from the progress moving forward.
Images are screenshots from the video posted by Syracuse.com.