April 26, 2019
If Syracuse can do it, so can Buffalo! Plans to remove I-81, a divisive 1960s-era elevated highway similar to the Kensington and Scajaquada expressways, continue to move forward with New York State recently identifying the community street grid option as their preferred design alternative.
“It’s about healing the wounds that the interstate imposed on the organic community that was at the center of the city 50 years ago. That did tremendous damage. … It forced our minority folks, African-Americans in particular, into areas of concentrated poverty.”
A project that will remove 1.4 miles of I-81 and incorporate 25 acres of land in Syracuse and two adjoining suburbs to create a walkable, landscaped urban space inches forward as New York State selects this plan as it's preferred alternative. Similar to the Kensington and Scajaquada Expressways in Buffalo, I-81 earned national recognition as a Freeway without a Future by the Congress for New Urbanism.
The elevated portion of 1-81 splits the City of Syracuse in half. It's construction has resulted in the decimation of a historic African-American community, city street flow disruptions, and the razing of numerous historic homes and sites.