Red modern-looking street lamps, bright green bike lanes and smoothly paved roadways now stretch from Syracuse University to the edge of the city's downtown.
Starting late this summer, the well manicured streetscape known as the Connective Corridor will begin winding into Syracuse's urban core.
As it's name would suggest, the project is an effort to better connect the vibrancy of the University Hill neighborhood with Syracuse's born-again downtown. The project is spearheaded by the University in partnership with the city.
Late last fall work was completed on phase one. Corridor organizers are gearing up to begin work on phases two and three. Road crews will be out again beginning in late summer, according Owen Kerney, a city planner.
Along with bringing more people downtown, the objective is to make downtown seem more inviting to visitors.
Work will upgrade lighting and signage in downtown to encourage more biking and walking. The project is also installing several pieces of public art.
"The amenities that we provided, the innovation that we provided, raises that up to something that’s pretty unique," Kerney says of the work done on that so far.
The first phase of the project, which also includes a new - and free - city bus route, cost around $10 million. Kerney says the next two phases will cost around $14.5 million. Most of the cost is covered by federal grants.
In the next few weeks, city crews will begin removing 95 trees that currently line the streets of the mapped out Connective Corridor to make way for the construction.
Many of the trees either aren't in great condition, or wouldn't survive a transplant, according to city arborist Steve Harris. But almost twice that many - between 170-180 - new trees will be planted once the project is done.
Kerney says upgrades to already installed lights along the corridor will be in place soon. Several of the waist-high lights along the first phase of the project, mostly on University Avenue, were vandalized.
Protective steel sleeves have been ordered and will be installed soon. The upgraded lights will be baseball bat-proof Kerney says, and a different type of lamp will be installed in the next phases.
Here are a few other highlights:
- St. Paul's Cathedral will install new lighting to better illuminate its spire and stained glass windows
- Jefferson Street will also see upgraded lighting
- LED screens will be installed at civic destinations to inform visitors of events