I live in the Westcott Nation, next door to Thornden Park in the city
of Syracuse. A couple of weeks ago I rode my bicycle out to Liverpool
to visit family. It was not a pleasant trip. The roads were dangerous
and frequently narrow, the shoulders full of broken glass. On Memorial
Day, I decided to try to find an alternative route, one that was safe
and convenient, and failed. There is no safe way to ride a bicycle from
the Syracuse University area to Liverpool.
On the east side of Interstate 81, your only two choices to get under
the expressway are Park Street and Seventh North Street. The roadways
in both areas are full of holes, full of commercial traffic and lacking
any shoulder when you ride under the railway. At Seventh North, you also
have to contend with an expressway interchange that is frequently used
by tractor-trailers. There is a “bike path” that connects the Regional
Market area with Onondaga Lake Parkway. It requires that you dismount
and run across a busy interchange ramp at a blind corner, only to
discover that the path ends in a swampy section of grass at a water
pumping station. The last time that I took the path, it was full of
broken glass and construction debris. I got two flat tires on my bike.
The other option is to ride up the west side of the lake and
backtrack south into Liverpool. You can no longer cross over Interstate
690 and access the Onondaga Lake Park trail because the footbridge is
still missing. If you take this route, you are forced to negotiate the
area that includes Walters Road, Van Buren Road, Jones Road and John
Glenn Boulevard, none of which are bike friendly.
The answer? More bike lanes, sweeping the shoulders of the roads a
little more frequently; completion of a paved path all of the way around
Onondaga Lake; improvement and maintenance of the existing bike path
near the Regional Market; and the repair of the footbridge over 690. If
Syracuse is to become the bike-friendly city that I saw in the paper,
these should be some of the first steps taken to achieve that ideal.
There is more to biking in the Greater Syracuse area than a couple of
bike lanes near Syracuse University.
—Jim Spencer, Syracuse
Molly English-Bowers’ May 12 article “Spin City,” about how Syracuse
appears on the brink of becoming a bicycle-friendly place, failed to
mention the most important bicycle improvement in Syracuse: the Syracuse
Creekwalk Phase I Project, a 2.2 mile bicycle-pedestrian path currently
under construction by the city of Syracuse.
The Creekwalk will start in Armory Square behind the Museum of
Science and Technology and head north, connecting to the existing
Franklin Square Creekwalk and connecting that to the existing Inner
Harbor Trail, and extending the Inner Harbor Trail all the way to the
south shore of Onondaga Lake, just west of Carousel Center. The
Creekwalk will be there to meet up with the County’s Loop the Lake
Trail, which was supposed to connect the Creekwalk Trail to the existing
trail in Liverpool. However, it is my understanding that this portion
of the county’s Loop the Lake Trail is on hold.
The Syracuse Creekwalk will allow pedestrians and bicyclists alike to
travel safely from Downtown Syracuse (Armory Square) to Onondaga Lake
on one continuous trail. Future phases of the Creekwalk are planned to
extend the Syracuse Creekwalk south to Colvin Street (Kirk Park) and
then Dorwin Avenue (the southern border of the City) in Phases II and
III, respectively, as funding is available.
—Steven Nann, Syracuse