New system could help ease traffic in Syracuse

It's a frustration that comes with driving in the city. You wait for a traffic light to go green and then stop a few feet later when the next light goes red. Now planners with the Syracuse DPW want some of those lights to be computer controlled and work in sequence.

Crews have been installing an interconnect that will have lights on major routes working together and improve traffic flow. Transportation planner Paul Mercurio from the Syracuse DPW said it should also reduce the frustrating stops and starts that many city commuters know so well. Parts of West Genesee street on Syracuse's west side have already had the new technology installed. Sections of North Salina street will be next.

"For this piece it's actual corridors. and it's a lot easier to optimize a corridor than it is to optimize a whole grid. So I think for travelers on West Genesee and Geddes, they'll be able to see improvements on the signal timing very clearly," said Mercurio.

The new system would also give pedestrians more time at some problematic crosswalks. The DPW wants to expand the interconnect project to other high traffic roads in the city. The total cost for construction, design, software and engineering would be almost 9 million dollars but 95% of that would come from state and federal grants. The other five percent would come from taxpayers.

"I think it's a great idea," said Neil Gold after driving into downtown Syracuse from Manlius. "It will improve traffic it will improve the flow, it will improve people's tempers!"

Mercurio said some high traffic routes on Syracuse's south and east side might have to wait until 2017 for the interconnect upgrade.