Hon. Stephanie A.

Miner, Mayor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: January 29, 2014 CONTACT: Alexander Marion Press Secretary (315) 448-8044

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

MINER URGES NYSDOT TO BETTER EDUCATE AND INCLUDE CITIZENS OF SYRACUSE IN I-81 DECISION MAKING PROCESS
Miner: Redeveloping I-81 is a Once in a Lifetime Opportunity, Let’s Get it Right
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Mayor Stephanie A. Miner urged the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to work towards better educating and including members of the Syracuse community in the decision making process about alternatives to Interstate 81. Miner made these requests of NYSDOT in a letter submitted as part of the public comment process in the environmental review (EIS) initial scoping phase of the I-81 Opportunities Project. “The redevelopment of Interstate 81 is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the City of Syracuse to change the landscape of our community,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner. “We need to make sure this process is done right. To do so, community stakeholders need to be active, educated, and engaged in the process. It is critical that NYSDOT take into account the needs and desires of those who live and work in the shadow of this highway each and every day.” In her letter, Mayor Miner called on NYSDOT to better inform and include members of the Syracuse community in the decision making process. Miner said that while the community has been invited to attend some public meetings, residents and stakeholders have been largely left in the dark when it comes to the decision making process and project timelines. Additionally, Miner pressed NYSDOT to release more information on design alternatives and their community, economic, environmental, and traffic impacts. “We need to make sure the public is fully informed on how decisions regarding I-81 will be made and the people of Syracuse deserve to play a role in that decision making process,” added Mayor Miner. “I want to impress upon NYSDOT that this project is not just about moving cars, it’s about the people of the City of Syracuse.” 233 EAST WASHINGTON STREET * SYRACUSE, NEW YORK 13202 315-448-8005 | www.syrgov.net Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | Flickr

Hon. Stephanie A. Miner, Mayor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: January 29, 2014 CONTACT: Alexander Marion Press Secretary (315) 448-8044

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

The full text of Miner’s letter can be found below. January 17, 2014 ATTN: Commissioner Joan McDonald NYSDOT Region 3 I-81 Viaduct Project 333 E. Washington St. Syracuse, NY 13202 Dear Commissioner McDonald: Please consider this correspondence my official comment relative to the environmental review process (EIS) Initial Scoping Comment Period the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is conducting for the I-81 Opportunities project. I appreciate your consideration and engagement on this issue to date and I thank you for your willingness to work in partnership with me and the people of the City of Syracuse to pursue the best possible outcomes for our community. My comments below reflect some of my thoughts and concerns relative to this project, a number of which I have already expressed to you. First, I would like to reiterate my concern that our community has been provided with very limited information regarding a number of project elements including the decision-making process, project timelines and particularly specific design, community, economic development, environmental, traffic and other ramifications that may be associated with the major alternatives under considerations, as well as variations of these alternatives. Asking citizens to opine on alternatives that have not been fully explained to them may create complications. I would like to encourage NYSDOT to provide a greater level of explanation and description relative to the design, function and community impacts associated with all alternatives and sub-alternatives under review.

233 EAST WASHINGTON STREET * SYRACUSE, NEW YORK 13202 315-448-8005 | www.syrgov.net Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | Flickr

Hon. Stephanie A. Miner, Mayor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: January 29, 2014 CONTACT: Alexander Marion Press Secretary (315) 448-8044

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

Additionally, as you move forward through this process, I would ask that the NYSDOT give serious consideration to the following:  Solutions that look beyond the I-81 corridor itself. The study area should be inclusive, not only of the I-81 viaduct itself, but also of the surrounding street grid and overall transportation network. Solutions that include an examination of all modes of travel, and are accommodating to all users. This process should be about people – not just about moving cars. New and enhanced transit options should also be contemplated as part of alternatives analysis. Solutions that pursue a diversity of goals. Short commute times should not be a prime indicator of success in alternatives analysis. Getting to and from the urban core in a timely fashion is but one of many measures of successful design. We should be mindful that design should influence demand, not just react to demand projections. Connectivity. Enhancing connectivity between the University Hill and Downtown areas, and throughout the urban core, should be a major goal of this project. The current highway configuration and condition acts as a barrier between two of the most structurally dense and economically vital economic areas of our city. The West Street arterial also acts as a physical and psychological barrier. This project represents an opportunity for us to knit our urban fabric back together, and make the I-81 corridor, the West Street arterial and our entire city safer and more convenient to travel. Economic potential. Our downtown is in the midst of a civic and economic renaissance. The I-81 Opportunities project is not just an opportunity for transportation solutions; it is an opportunity to take our recent economic success to the next level. This project should focus on solutions that create development opportunities, utilize urban planning best practices, and serve and connect the economic engines of our urban core neighborhoods. Perhaps most importantly – neighborhood impacts, and community education and engagement. The urban renewal era of the mid-Twentieth Century was one of 233 EAST WASHINGTON STREET * SYRACUSE, NEW YORK 13202 315-448-8005 | www.syrgov.net Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | Flickr

Hon. Stephanie A. Miner, Mayor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: January 29, 2014 CONTACT: Alexander Marion Press Secretary (315) 448-8044

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

communities ignored and opportunities missed. Moving forward, this process must be one of broad community inclusion. Analysis of alternatives should be mindful of neighborhood impacts, social justice issues, economic opportunity, environmental justice considerations and other associated concerns. I thank you for this opportunity to engage in the Initial Scoping portion of the EIS. I want to reiterate my appreciation for your willingness to partner on this once-in-a-lifetime project. Please feel free to contact me any time to discuss this issue further. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely,

Stephanie A. Miner Mayor

233 EAST WASHINGTON STREET * SYRACUSE, NEW YORK 13202 315-448-8005 | www.syrgov.net Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | Flickr