I81 Opinions: Many questions remain about how grid, I-481 will handle traffic (Your Letters)

To the Editor:

I am responding to the editorial board’s position that the Community Grid is the best option for the Interstate 81 viaduct replacement project. Let’s look at some details.

* Thousands of people travel I-81 every day. The grid assumes that many vehicles will be offloaded onto Interstate 481. It is packed every day during morning and evening rush hour. How is it possible to add more cars? What are the commute times for cars that already use I-481, and how much time will be added to their commutes?

* What are the commute times when it is snowing, when there is an accident, on game days, during Syracuse parades, or when two or more of these events happen concurrently? From my experience, when I-81 has been backed up for several miles, I use the city streets (community grid) to get to my destination. If the accident happens on the community grid, and there is no 81, how can we drive around the back-up?

* I-81 has four lanes going over the city. Even if some traffic is offloaded to I-481, how will we dissipate the remaining traffic onto city streets not designed for four lanes? I’ve heard rumors that some city streets will have to be widened. Specifically, which ones and by how much? What businesses, parks or sidewalks will be sacrificed?

* There are hundreds of downtown employees who park under I-81. Specifically, what alternative parking will be offered, where, and for how many? Who will build it? 

* Once implemented, the maintenance of the roads involved in the community grid becomes the responsibility of the city. Thousands more cars driving the roads will have a deleterious effect on the roads. What is the estimated cost of maintaining the roads? What is the estimated life of the roads after implementation? Syracuse is already stretched to pay for road maintenance. What increase in taxes is estimated? 

* Currently, Syracuse streets are generally safe enough for slow moving wheelchair users, bicyclists, and young children to navigate without difficulty. Add thousands of cars and you have duplicated Erie Boulevard.

Do we really want to make that “upgrade”? 

Sandra Yingling