Lonsberry on I-81

Recently, on his radio show, Bob Lonsberry talked about the I-81 project, citing several inconvenient truths that the project coordinators seem to be willfully ignoring. Read the transcript below: 

It’s interesting, as the state does its study on the re-do of I-81, and I know that’s a topic that’s getting tiresome for you, but we discovered today, first of all, that Destiny USA has had to lobby and sort of plead with planners not to be cut off from freeway access. Destiny USA points out that it if we lose 81, we lose, and maybe this venture of Destiny USA is no longer viable, and that means the loss of a lot of jobs and a lot of taxes. It seems astoundingly that it’s possible, in the plan to make some kind of boulevard or whatever, they’re willing to offer up Destiny USA as a sacrifice. Seems kooky to me.

Here’s another thing, as you plan traffic and such, you of course—you look at traffic flow. Now, you may have heard of a little place called the Carrier Dome? A lot of people go there, on a pretty regular basis. The state of New York, as it plans what to do with 81, is specifically not considering – it will not study, it will not take into account – traffic associated with events at the Carrier Dome. This of course is one of the peak volume activities or times for that portion of greater Syracuse, and yet they are not even going to consider it. The reason being, I suspect, because when you have a lot of cars, the only thing that accommodates that is high volume. And what’s high volume are freeways with exits and onramps. And those are two things that a lot of our boulevard-liking people don’t like.

The interesting thing is that right now for your community, gentle listener, the most important transportation project of maybe your lifetime, one which will have decades of impact, is being put together with an antipathy or bad attitude toward the region’s largest employer and tourist attraction, Destiny USA, and it is completely ignoring the traffic flow associated with another extraordinary attraction of your region, which is the Carrier Dome, in its present or future iterations.

So, two areas where a quick, efficient, intelligent transportation is essential, are two areas that the 81 plan, at least heretofore, is just not considering. And that’s insane. You and I at our house, we buy things and expand things based on our need. And, you know, before we buy a car, we say: “What would we do with this car?” Before we buy a house, we say: “What would be do with this house?” Right? You think through what will the purpose be. That’s not what happening here. And two of what I think are the most significant and maybe the most congested uses of transportation infrastructure in your region – the Carrier Dome and Destiny USA – are not in the equation. Which is stupid, because tens of thousands of people use these facilities at a time. You probably are one of those tens of thousands. To say that their need for transportation must be inferior to somebody else’s dream of a car-less society with lots of bicycle lanes, broad tree-lined boulevards where people can live in walkable communities, the fact that doesn’t reflect your needs or tastes, doesn’t seem to matter to these people at all.

So, at any rate, if you and I were doing things, we’d sure do them different. But your role is not to decide how things are done. Your role is just to pay for it. You pay the taxes, and they’ll decide how to pee it all away. As long as we all know our place.

You can download the audio clip here