The North-South Arterial projectcontinues to be a point of controversy and debate. The Utica Common Council metlast night to discuss the proposed plan with the community. The current arterial project plans to closeoff Sunset Avenue where it intersects with the arterial, and have a pedestrianbridge built over the arterial.
The common council passed a resolution5-4 urging the Department of Transportation to find other options to keep SunsetAve. open and not build the bridge. “We should learn from history thatpedestrian bridges don’t work here especially if they’re not covered as thiswas proposed,” says Councilman Frank Vescera, “and especially if it’s notlit.”
Vescera voted in favor of theresolution. He says the pedestrian bridge built in Rome years ago didn’t work, sowhy would this? He also says the closingof Sunset Ave. would cut off access of those businesses and homes to the otherside.
Councilman Joe Marino says he votedagainst this resolution, but not because he wants to close off this area. He saysthis split decision in the Common Council could jeopardize the funding for theproject and future projects in the city.
“Enough is enough with being athorn in the side of the Department of Transportation,” says Marino. “TheDepartment of Transportation has already given us their word, and not onlygiven us their word but they’ve provided proof that they are researchingkeeping Sunset Ave. open,” he says, “everyone’s fighting for their slice of thepie and we need to just put our best foot forward and fight aggressively togain our slice.”
Vescera says while the DOT may have said that they’d lookinto it, the passing of the resolution formally ensures that they’ll doso.