Emergency response times would suffer under community grid

Syracuse.com is reporting today on what would happen to emergency response times if a so-called community grid were to replace Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse.

Former Syracuse Fire Chief Mark McLees has an answer.

“If you’re having a heart attack, you’d like to have them come as quickly as they can. People go, ‘A minute, two minutes, it’s no big deal,'” McLees told Syracuse.com. “They don’t get that a minute is a big deal, until it’s them.”

Added Trish Hansen, spokeswoman for TLC Ambulance: “(The DOT are) not emergency services responders. We are. They’re not the ones who work it every day.”

John Shafer, a longtime state transportation executive, concluded in a study commissioned by the Save 81 coalition that city streets would have a hard time absorbing the traffic currently carried by Interstate 81, meaning that for commuters and emergency vehicles alike, drive times will be longer.