The Interstate 81 (I-81) corridor is metropolitan Syracuse’s primary north-south travel and commuter route. Portions of I-81, which were built in the 1950s and 1960s, are deteriorating and nearing the end of their useful life. Also, sections of I-81 do not meet current standards and are experiencing high accident rates. The project explored alternative alignments for the highway corridor, and urban design strategies for the surrounding neighborhoods. This multi-faceted project seeks to improve the transportation system for all users, enhancing livability, sustainability, and economic vitality for the greater Syracuse area, and improving the built environment.
Fisher Associates was the project landscape architect for these phases of this transformational project in Syracuse, NY. Our role included leading the design efforts related to landscape architecture and streetscape improvements that incorporate complete streets principles and accommodate all roadway users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, automobiles, and transit. Alternative design solutions for bicycle and pedestrian facilities were explored to improve connectivity between existing local, regional, and state bicycle/pedestrian facilities in the project area, with a particular emphasis on reconnecting neighborhoods and communities adjacent to the highway corridor. Opportunities to incorporate parks and open space features were also evaluated.
We also served as one of the key community outreach facilitators. Over a 10-year duration, as the project moved through the NEPA process, our outreach team participated in dozens of public open houses, neighborhood and stakeholder meetings, and pop-up style events to engage the public. To support the public outreach efforts, Fisher assembled an expansive portfolio of project graphics and visualizations to facilitate public engagement, maximize public understanding, and garner public enthusiasm and support for the project.