Update: 4 Lanes Return To Genesee Street This Week, City Officials Say
Downtown Utica's four-lane traffic pattern on Genesee Street is expected to return before the end of the week.
City officials who spoke to WIBX 950 said work to re-paint the four-lane pattern could get be done as soon as Tuesday, with work to grind down and prepare the road slated for Monday night - weather permitting, the officials said.
Two mayoral candidates, Republican Michael Galime and Democrat Celeste Friend, each said they had been made aware of the impending change and believed the work would be completed this week.
For now, the remarking of four lanes and the elimination of a center turn lane with bicycle lanes on either side of the road, may end debate on a plan designed to make the city's downtown more biker and walker friendly.
After Mayor Robert Palmieri implemented two, 90-day trial periods last fall and winter, and a traffic study from Syracuse firm, Democrats on the city council were unable to finalized legislation to make the 'new' traffic pattern - often referred to by city officials as 'complete streets', permanent.
The plan faced backlash from residents and business owners who said the city didn't properly inform drivers or the business community of the change. There were also complaints from drivers who felt an abrupt lane merger for three blocks of the downtown area made things too congested and sometimes slowed traffic to a snail's pace.
After falling one vote shy of making 'complete streets' permanent, the nine-member council narrowly passed a measure to keep three lanes instead of four, but to eliminate the bike lanes.
Then, late last month, the council voted 6-2 to return to the four-lane traffic pattern.
Since the vote, opponents of the plan questioned how the long city administration would wait before changing the pattern back.