Utica Mayor David Roefaro says the funding for theNorth-South Arterial projectcould come to the city any day now. But there is still a fair amount of oppositionagainst the current plan.
Supporters of the current arterial plan may argue that those with concerns seem to only be speaking up at the eleventh hour. But those concerned citizens say that's not the case. "These things were brought up to the state very early on. The citizens, the residents, and a master plan committee that looked at infrastructure and highways," says Utica City Councilman Jim Zecca. "They repeated over and over again in their two years of work to the DOT that the preferred plan was a Multi-way Boulevard."
Country Legislator Elect for West Utica Harmony Speciale says the Department of Transportation held public hearings on the project early- on where that Multi-way Boulevard (one of four potential plans), was preferred. A Multi-way Boulevard would be the following: The inner lanes would be the passing, faster ones, and outer lanes would be the slower lanes (for turning). They would be surrounded by bike and trail paths, and hopefully commercial development. Zecca says it would be like a park-like atmosphere, which would slow down traffic and increase economic development.
Public hearings on the project picked up again this year, says Speciale. She and Zecca say somewhere in between those earlier meetings and now, the plan that was decided upon was not the preferred one. They say the current proposed plan includes building a wall, cutting off a large part of West Utica and will hinder economic development.
Zecca says he met with Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi who says that he would relay the concerns of Zecca and others to the NY State DOT. But, Zecca says that Brindisi agrees with parts of the current proposed plan, and is also concerned about losing the funding for the project.