Connective Corridor

Connective Corridor receives award for collaborative efforts

The Connective Corridor was given the 2012 Transportation Project of the Year award for its complexity and high level of cooperation among many different groups.

The award, given each year by The Institution of Transportation Engineers New York Upstate Section, recognizes projects with “outstanding planning, engineering, technology and public cooperation and coordination,” according to the Connective Corridor website.

Linda Dickerson Hartsock, director of Syracuse University’s Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development, said the award was a great honor, as the Connective Corridor was chosen from a large number of projects submitted from all over Upstate New York.

The award panel was made up of professional engineers, meaning it was essentially a “peer review,” Hartsock said.

One reason the Connective Corridor was selected was because of the high level of cooperation among SU, the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County. This level of cooperation is “very unusual” for a project of this scale. Not many within the university are aware of the collaboration, Hartsock said.

“They think it’s a university-led project, but in reality it’s the city, county and university working together,” she said.

Syracuse engineering firm Barton & Loguidice, and Upstate — an interdisciplinary center for design, research and real estate, run through SU’s School of Architecture — are also heavily involved in the Connective Corridor, Hartsock said.

Kevin Quinn, senior vice president for public affairs, also stressed that the award didn’t come because of any one entity.

“We believe that this award is emblematic of the partnerships forged around the Corridor,” he said in an email. “While collaboration is often hard at the start, the Corridor is a shining example of the success it can bring.”

The award was presented at the ITE annual meeting in October, which was held in Syracuse and included a tour of the Connective Corridor. The engineers who took the tour were especially impressed with the project’s complexity, streetscapes and use of green infrastructure and technology, Hartsock said.

The bike lanes — or “hybrid two-way cycle tracks,” as they are technically called — were also a talking point, Hartsock said.

“We had many engineers tell us that they didn’t know of any other infrastructure like that between New York and Montreal,” she said.

But while those associated with the Connective Corridor are proud of the award, the project, which is divided into three phases, has just begun.

Hartsock said she expects the first phase of the Connective Corridor, which includes East Genesee Street from Forman Park to University Avenue, and University Avenue between East Genesee Street and Waverly Avenue, to be finished by Nov. 9.

The second phase of construction, which will stretch from Thornden Park to The Warehouse, will not start for some time, Hartsock said. The Federal Highway Administration, which supplies the funding, is currently reviewing the plans, and this usually takes at least a year, she said.

But for now, Hartsock said she hopes the Connective Corridor can be an example for institutions that may want to pursue similar projects, even on a smaller scale.

Said Hartsock: “We are pleased it was recognized and hope it can be used as a model for others.”

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