Community groups take position on Syracuse highway removal

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Advocate groups, like CNY Roots, are working within the city to educate people. The group’s goals are to spread awareness on the negative impacts that Interstate 81, which runs through the length of the city, has brought to its residents.

The group hopes that the highway will be removed and replaced with a street-level grid that will facilitate less traffic and rid the city of the urban divide the roadway has created.

CNY Roots founder Johanna Rogers thinks that community dialogue events will help give people a platform to speak up about their struggles within the city of Syracuse.

“We organized CNY Roots to engage individuals like myself in the community, but there hasn’t been this pivotal point for getting involved in something that’s meaningful and builds a connection for the folks of the city,” Rogers said.

Suburban towns like Dewitt fear the removal of the highway will cause a large increase in traffic, as well as air and noise pollution from large diesel trucks. Dewitt Town Hall Board Member Karen Docter has many concerns for her already heavily-populated area and what it could mean if the highway is removed from Downtown Syracuse.

“The obvious additional traffic congestion could even necessitate having a additional lane on Route 481, which would impact our wetlands and our fragile ecosystem,” Docter said.