Syracuse's battle against litter on the interstates - One year later

One year after launching an initiative to clear litter from the interstates around Syracuse, have you noticed a difference?

On July 19, 2012, state, county and Syracuse city leaders gathered along Route 690 to announce a coordinated effort to clean up state highways of litter. At the time, they showed off 3 tons of trash which crews had picked up from a 4 mile stretch of 690.

Today, one year later, unsightly litter continues line the main highways which serve as gateways into the city. The trash often becomes a visitor's first impression of Syracuse.

Greg Pacicca of Solvay often travels Route 81 and Route 690 through Syracuse. "They're doing a pretty good job, but I think more can be done. It's peoples responsibility you know. I don't know why they throw trash out to begin with," Pacicca told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon.

The agreement the city and county reached with the New York State Transportation Department last year is still in place. Whenever the DOT begins work on a state highway, it will notify Onondaga County or the City of Syracuse so local DPW crews can safely pick up the roadside trash. But usually within a couple of months, the litter has returned.

As Director of Mayoral Initiatives, Tim Carroll says it's a frustrating neverending battle. "Who are the people who just continue to throw anything out the window. It's sad the people of our community don't have more pride in themselves, because a lot of people are working hard to try to stay ahead of this," says Carroll.

Carroll says next week when state DOT shuts down portions of Route 81 for construction southward from the center of Syracuse, city crews will be back to clean up the interstate. He says last week Mayor Stephanie Miner contacted State Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald who promised to clear the litter from the highways in time for the opening of the New York State Fair in August.

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