Many local politicians celebrated the completion of phase two of the Connective Corridor project which brings Syracuse University and downtown Syracuse together through new street improvements, bicycle lanes and pedestrian crossings.
Walking through the streets of downtown Syracuse, you see new countdown timers at pedestrian crossings. There are green bicycle lanes with porous pavement that are part of Onondaga County’s Save the Rain program. There are more benches, improved storefront facades, bus stops and a free bus line that runs from University Hill to downtown. All were part of the first two phases of the Connective Corridor project which started in 2005 under the former Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor.
Many local politicians spoke at a ceremony celebrating the completion of phase two which connects these various improvements throughout downtown.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) helped Syracuse win a federal grant in 2011 worth $10 million to help with the costs of the project.
“Ten years ago, you’d go downtown Syracuse on a Friday or Saturday night, it was dead, now it’s booming!" Schumer said. "That’s in part because of the Connective Corridor.”
Eric Ennis is a recent Syracuse University graduate now working for the city of Syracuse and said while he was a student, he used the corridor’s free bus line that loops around downtown and the university.
“Instead of driving my own car, I opted to do this and the reason was not only was it convenient but did I mention it was free?" Ennis said. "We’ve seen hundreds and hundreds come down and see Syracuse in an entirely new light, quite literally thanks to the lighting improvement grants that we’ve also received through the corridor.”
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney's Save the Rain program also partnered with the connective corridor. The new streets' porous pavement lets water run into the soil underneath it instead of overloading the sewers.
"This right here is an engineered storm water solution to the pollution in Onondaga Lake," Mahoney said. "This is the kind of project that shows the young people that we want you here. We care about the future."
New York State also funded $20 million to the project in 2007. Phase three of the project will include additional lighting and art installations.