Whether you're for or against it, Utica's mayor has made a decision about the immediate future of the city's re-designed traffic pattern on Genesee Street downtown.
Mayor Robert Palmieri has extended the trail period for the so-called 'Complete Streets' for another 90 days.
"The purpose of the extension is to allow an independent engineering firm to comprehensively analyze the traffic pattern and make recommendations based on that analysis," the announcement read on the city's Facebook page. The city has contracted C&S Engineering, a firm based in Syracuse for more than a half-century which calls itself a 'full-service architecture, engineering, planning and construction firm.'
C&S is being asked to consider the impact of the new Wynn Hospital opening in downtown Utica later this year, along with developing recommendations to make the street safer, easier to navigate, and 'more suitable to the growing population living and working in the downtown area', the release said.
The initial 90-day trial period came to an end late last week and this week members of the common council were given a print out of the feedback received from city residents, business owners and those who frequent the downtown area. The feedback came from a poll via Survey Monkey.
Palmieri also said during the initial trial, the city tweaked the timing of traffic lights on Genesee Street to better suit the new traffic pattern. Additionally, the city will also work the New York State Department of Transportation to better 'optimize' the Complete Street design, he said.
The adjusted traffic pattern on Genesee Street downtown, between Court and Oriskany streets included the reduction of traffic lanes from four to two, the additional of bike lanes on both sides of the road, and a new center turning lane intended to be also be used as a place for delivery trucks to park while loading and unloading.
The issue has been a contentious one, with some trashing the effort and the process that led to an abrupt redesign. Others believe it modernizes the city's downtown and creates a safer and more welcoming environment for pedestrians who walk or bike in the area.
The sharp contrast in opinions was felt Thursday morning on WIBX 950, as Common Council President and mayoral candidate Mike Galime and Councilwoman Katie Aiello went back and forth on the Keeler Show. See below:
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