• Building the infrastructure to make bikeshare succeed - You’d be hard pressed to find a better metaphor for the sorry state of our bike infrastructure than the Mayor announcing the return of bikeshare by riding an e-scooter over the barely visible remains of a sharrow worn away by car traffic. So—as someone who enjoys metaphors and is often very angry about how dangerous … Continue reading Building the infrastructure to make bikeshare succeed
  • How tearing down I-81 will reduce traffic - The I-81 Draft Environmental Impact Statement put a lot of effort into explaining exactly how many minutes it would take to drive a car between different points in the County depending on what NYSDOT ultimately decides to do with the I-81 viaduct. NYSDOT estimates, for instance, that in 2056 during the morning rush it’ll take … Continue reading How tearing down I-81 will reduce traffic
  • The price of delay - Now that it’s clear that I-81 is coming down, the viaduct’s supporters have adopted a new tactic: delay. They’re done trying to influence the final outcome of the project—compare the in-depth 2-year tunnel analysis to the half-assed Skyway proposal—and they are instead trying to hold it off as long as possible. The Mall has hired … Continue reading The price of delay
  • False hope for the viaduct - Assemblymember Bill Magnarelli just wrote an op-ed arguing that we can’t move forward with the I-81 project until there’s consensus. This is wrong, and we need to move past the false hope that the I-81 project can possibly please everybody. The Assemblymember pointed to widespread criticism of the recently release Draft Environmental Impact Statement as … Continue reading False hope for the viaduct
  • The Grid and Bus Rapid Transit - The I-81 project can and should help build a Bus Rapid Transit system in Syracuse. BRT will make public transportation much more useful for current riders, it will attract many new riders, and it will reduce traffic congestion and improve traffic safety for everybody who uses Syracuse’s streets. In the DEIS, NYSDOT lists “maintain[ing] access … Continue reading The Grid and Bus Rapid Transit
  • The Grid and the Northside - The I-81 Draft Environmental Impact Statement showed how NYSDOT’s plans to tear down the viaduct will change Downtown and the Southside, but that document also contained some very good plans for the Northside. By improving access to one highway onramp and removing several others, NYSDOT will make the Northside’s streets safer. Pearl Street is a … Continue reading The Grid and the Northside
  • Getting the Grid’s details right - NYSDOT’s new I81 project report lays out a good framework to undo the damage that car-only transportation planning has done to Syracuse. But although the overall vision of the Grid is good, NYSDOT needs to change some significant details of the Grid’s design in order for this project to be as effective as possible. When … Continue reading Getting the Grid’s details right
  • Safe flat bike routes across town - The hardest part about riding a bike in Syracuse is figuring out the best route to get somewhere new. The City’s hilly topography and terrible post-war city planning have combined to create very few safe flat routes across town, and so an unplanned bike trip is likely as not to put you in danger or … Continue reading Safe flat bike routes across town
  • How cars killed Syracuse - 81’s construction was a cataclysmic event in Syracuse’s history. Building the highway—and 690 soon after—meant tearing down dozens of city blocks and demolishing hundreds of homes. But although that event stands out for the scale of its destruction, it was neither the beginning nor the end of Syracuse’s campaign to demolish itself. Aerial images from … Continue reading How cars killed Syracuse
  • BRT and the Suburbs - Bus Rapid Transit—a service model that makes the buses run faster and more frequently—works best when lots of people can live within walking distance of just a few bus stations. That’s why SMTC’s plan for two BRT lines stays pretty much within the City of Syracuse—City neighborhoods have the necessary population density to support quality … Continue reading BRT and the Suburbs
  • Missing Links in the Bike Network - Syracuse’s many hills funnel most car traffic onto the few streets that follow level routes across town. Genesee, Geddes, Salina, Erie—these major streets knit the city together. That works fine for people driving cars, but it’s terrible for people riding bikes because the huge amount of car traffic on those streets makes them dangerous for … Continue reading Missing Links in the Bike Network
  • Updating Syracuse’s Bike Plan - The Syracuse Bicycle Plan has been collecting dust since it was published in 2012. The 109-page document is part of City Hall’s comprehensive plan, and it includes specific recommendations for a citywide network of infrastructure improvements that would make it safer, easier, and more comfortable to ride a bike across town. There’s been some progress … Continue reading Updating Syracuse’s Bike Plan
  • Building out BRT - Bus Rapid Transit—a set of service and infrastructure improvements that makes buses run faster and more frequently—is Syracuse’s best opportunity to improve the City’s public transportation network because it’s much simpler and easier to expand BRT than either rail or traditional bus service. To see why, look at Syracuse’s planned BRT system. Right now, it’s … Continue reading Building out BRT
  • Fare Capping - Fare capping is a public transit payment reform that boosts ridership and minimizes inequality by making transit passes more affordable for people without a lot of money. Centro should implement fare capping in Syracuse. Time-based transit passes allow riders to take as many trips as they like within a given amount of time—a day, a … Continue reading Fare Capping
  • How to build bus ridership - Syracuse needs more people riding the bus. Increased ridership is good for Centro, obviously, because it provides increased fare revenue and a broader base of political support for public transportation. But increased ridership would also indicate that Centro is serving Syracuse better, because more people are choosing to ride. So how do we do it? … Continue reading How to build bus ridership
  • A bus line for no one - It’s unclear exactly who is supposed to ride Centro’s new Downtown circulator route—a 2-mile figure-8 loop that winds its way from the Tech Garden to Dinosaur BBQ and back. It can’t be people who live Downtown. The residential population is growing because the neighborhood is so famously easy to walk around. There’s no need to … Continue reading A bus line for no one
  • The highways are walls - 81, 690, and the West Street Arterial are designed to make Downtown more accessible from the suburbs, but they’re also designed to make Downtown less accessible to city residents. They do this in two ways. The first is to cut off local streets that connect adjacent neighborhoods. 81—and the urban renewal projects that went with … Continue reading The highways are walls
  • You plow the sidewalks so they’re passable three days after a snow - The morning after a snow storm, when an eight inch snowfall blankets the neighborhood, it’s really obvious that we need a better way to clear the sidewalks. But a municipal sidewalk snow removal program might not make a huge difference in that moment. For one, it’s going to take a while for city sidewalk plows … Continue reading You plow the sidewalks so they’re passable three days after a snow
  • The high costs of low-frequency bus service - Low-frequency bus service entails enormous costs—both economic and social—and those costs go unaccounted for in too many conversations about the place of public transportation in our City and in our public budgets. Whenever Centro’s service gets cut, we’re told it’s because we can’t afford it. But rarely does anybody ask whether worse service is really … Continue reading The high costs of low-frequency bus service
  • Who Rides Bikes? - Biking is an activity and transportation mode that cuts across race, class, and gender lines. But spend much time talking about bicycles, the infrastructure they require, and their place in the community, and you’ll quickly find out that a lot of people hold very a specific idea of what a ‘biker’ is, and that fixed … Continue reading Who Rides Bikes?