Amid I-81 debate in Syracuse, one group promotes public transportation

Dougtone via/Flickr
January 3, 2014

The future of Interstate 81 through downtown Syracuse has been a bit contentious. And a new group has formed to weigh in, but they focus on moving people, not cars.

The elevated stretch of I-81 through downtown Syracuse is nearing the end of its 50 year lifespan. Area residents are entwined in a lengthy debate over its second life, which largely boils down to rebuild or reroute.

But a new group called the Moving People Coalition wants more emphasis put on public transportation. They’re calling for light rail and rapid transit to be a part of the discussion, which they say will improve quality of life and the environment.

Karen Gillette is disabled and relies on public transportation, which she says is a regular impediment to life.

"We need access to work and recreation in Syracuse; and to move beyond survival," says Gillette.

The state transportation department is taking its first round of public comments through January 17. A final decision on I-81’s future isn’t expected for three more years.