A FOCUS walk audit on Syracuse’s West Side with neighbors and planners.
Making neighborhoods pedestrian friendly was one of the goals set by the thousands of community members participating in FOCUS visioning sessions in 1998. Progress has been made, but there’s a lot left to do.
Onondaga County in 1998 and again in 2010 issued a Settlement Plan that described the methods of growth in the county. “While the neighborhood model— represented by the county’s villages, hamlets, and urban neighborhoods—is associated with the high quality of life which many residents enjoy, suburban sprawl is associated with an erosion of that quality of life, best represented by increased traffic, decreased environmental quality, excess taxation for infrastructure, and inner-city deterioration.”
FOCUS has convened at least seven public forums on transportation, trails, and walkable communities. FOCUS’s Age-Friendly Strategic Work Group has organized van tours and walk audits to evaluate neighborhood walkability, bringing together neighborhood residents and planning officials.
The City of Syracuse Comprehensive Plan from 2013 includes Complete Streets guidelines for new projects beginning on Page 31. In August 2018 AARP and Health Foundation of Western & Central New York brought a statewide summit – Leading on Livable Communities – to Syracuse.
In 2012 New York State put into effect Complete Streets legislation that requires any New York State Department of Transportation project to take into consideration design elements to make the project suitable for all who use the streets. That may include sidewalks, bicycle lanes, crosswalks, signals, bus pull outs, curb cuts, ramps and traffic calming measures.
Progress in walkability is just one of the 20 highlights of t87 goals set in 1998. See what can be done and has been done, not necessarily by FOCUS, but by Forging Our Community’s United Strength. To learn more about the 87 Goals and the 20 highlighted go to www.focussyracuse.org.