Connective Corridor project receives $10 million in federal funding from U.S. Department of Transportation

December 12, 2011

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded the City of Syracuse a $10 million grant to pay for the next two phases of the Connective Corridor, a project linking downtown Syracuse and the Syracuse University area with a pedestrian-and bike-friendly streetscape to provide positive economic, social and environmental benefits for the region.

Syracuse is receiving this funding through the DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, program. The TIGER Discretionary Grant programs provide a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives, and that have a significant impact on the nation, a region or a metropolitan area. Of the 55 funding applications submitted from New York state for TIGER III, only two were funded, including the Connective Corridor proposal. The University’s Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement co-wrote the application with the City of Syracuse.

“This U.S. Department of Transportation grant represents renewed recognition of the critical role that the Connective Corridor can play both in Syracuse’s revitalization and as a model for older industrial cities,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “The Corridor builds on successful strategies not only to connect neighborhoods, but to catalyze cultural and economic rejuvenation. The cross-sector collaboration between the City of Syracuse and Syracuse University absolutely wouldn’t be possible without the vision and strong, bipartisan support of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Representative Buerkle.”

The federal money will go toward a $17.2 million project to build new sidewalks, benches, energy-efficient lighting and bicycle lanes to limit the distance pedestrians must travel to cross between streets as they travel the Corridor. Matching funds, totaling $7.2 million, for the TIGER grant are New York state grants previously secured for the Corridor by Assemblyman William Magnarelli, and monies from the the Onondaga County Green Infrastructure Fund.

The Connective Corridor is emerging as a signature strip of cutting-edge cultural development connecting the University Hill with downtown Syracuse. A free bus service, provided by Centro and SU, already conveniently connects downtown with the University. Corridor construction is currently underway on University Avenue, the Syracuse Stage pedestrian plaza, Foreman Park and the park in front of Syracuse University’s Warehouse, connecting Armory Square with Syracuse’s Near Westside.

The Connective Corridor is making investments in these key locations to support historic landmarks, cultural institutions and private development. These areas include the emerging arts districts along East Genesee Street Firefighters Park, Columbus Circle, Armory Square and the “Civic Strip,” where the Oncenter complex and the Everson Museum tie into the center of downtown. In addition to its focus on culture, the Connective Corridor plan features creative lighting, sustainable transportation options, green infrastructure, technological hot spots and more.