Govering.com has an interesting article about the movement to teardown a section of Interstate 81 in Syracuse, NY. If you’ve been following the conversation about the similar effort in Dallas, many aspects of this story will sound familiar. A road goes up in the 1960s that cuts through a predominately African-American neighborhood. Downtown business owners supported the road because they believed it would bring in customers. However, the opposite occurred, and downtown suffered. Now that there is a slow-moving revival of downtown, and developers, city organizations, and Syracuse politicians want to remove the road, which has reached the end of its useful life and requires expensive repairs, and stitch back the city’s urban grid. State agencies and suburban business leaders and politicians want to rebuild or bury the road.
The article offers a comprehensive and balanced overview of the debate that very much mirrors our own. And it reiterates something we wrote in the May issue: no matter what, reversing the effects of 20th century interstate building is a political nightmare.