“Norman Bel Geddes, the designer of the U.S. Interstate system, declared in 1939, ‘Motorways must not be allowed to infringe upon the city.’ Where they do provide access to the city and other neighborhoods, highways must take on the low-speed geometries of avenues and boulevards, so as to not destroy pedestrian viability. As is evident, this rule was often forgotten throughout the United States, most obviously with the insertion of elevated interstates through city centers.”

Onondaga County Settlement Plan (2001), the Regional Plan, p. 18.

Estimated Travel Times

DOT used computer modeling to calculate these travel times between destinations in Central New York under three scenarios: today (“No Build”); a taller, wider viaduct; and the Community Grid.

Look these tables over and you’ll see why DOT said there were “no substantial differences” between travel times under the three scenarios. Differences between the viaduct and Community Grid are usually just a minute or two — five minutes at most. Sometimes the Community Grid is faster.

ReThink81 Introduction

INTRODUCTION TO A FOUR PART SERIES: In Syracuse, New York the future of interstate 81 and the city it bisects is currently under debate. UPSTATE: a center for design research and real estate at the Syracuse School of Architecture has engaged in this crucial issue for the region. This series of videos will discus the impact of the highway and the questions we should be asking to ensure a positive outcome for the city and region.



ReThink81 History

A FOUR PART SERIES: Infrastructure has always been a major driver of economic growth in the Syracuse region. From foot paths to the Erie Canal, then Railroads and modern Interstates, efficient transportation has driven the economy.


 ReThink81 Vision

A FOUR PART SERIES: UPSTATE generated a series of images showing the potential reconstructed elevated highway based on current DOT standards, then highlighted possible land at risk for eminent domain in the downtown portion.


ReThink81 Questions

A FOUR PART SERIES: Throughout 2013, UPSTATE solicited questions from students, community leader and residents. These have been compiled to examine the best solutions for the region.

img_ted_250x175The Walkable City TED Talk – great places for people

In this remarkable TED Talk, the Planner & Architect Jeff Speck shares facts and details.

Here are some more articles about the I-81 decision and urban freeways in general: