I was happy to see County Executive McMahon discuss the next step in the conversation on the future of I-81 (Ryan McMahon an I-81 Tunnel Fan Prepares for a grid reality in Syracuse) because I do agree that we need to start thinking about how the project will be implemented, and what effect it will have on our region. Although I am a strong community grid advocate, I agree with Mr. McMahon that whatever decision is made, we need to work to mitigate the disruption the project will have on our community.
I do, however believe it is of the utmost importance that our leaders, including the County Executive focus first and foremost on the intense disruption this redevelopment construction will have on the lives of the people who live in the footprint of I81. All discussion around mitigation plans needs to be done with our neighbors near the viaduct in mind. A tremendous injustice occurred when the highway was built, and a separate discussion needs to be had as to how to properly mitigate that injustice. In the meantime, we must acknowledge and remediate this disruption for the people who are living in the 15th Ward right now.
During an estimated 10 YEARS, the children attending Dr. King Elementary School will have to adjust their walking route every day. Residents of pioneer homes will have to endure the constant construction noise outside of their windows. From the heavy equipment, noise and vibrations to the changing sidewalk patterns, this project will significantly upend life for the residents living closest to it. I urge County Executive McMahon to give this the weight it deserves at the same time he is working to help those in the suburban areas.
An equitable society is one where everyone receives what they need. If we are serious about curing the injustices of our past, we will start by ensuring our actions in the present are equitable and will work towards a better future for our region.