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Utica Councilmen Start Petition Against Proposed Downtown Utica Plan

Utica, NY (WIBX) – Mayor Robert Palmieri’s proposed downtown Utica plan is facing stiff opposition from two of the City’s most outspoken councilmen.

Jim Zecca and Frank Vescera say the plan has not been thought out, and will choke the downtown area, both physically and economically.

“Nobody is saying that we don’t need to do something to downtown, I think we all agree,” Zecca said. “But, there’s a proper way to do it, and we feel that this is not the proper way to follow through with this.”

Palmieri has proposed turning Genesee Street into a two lane road with a median, but Councilmen Jim Zecca and Frank Vescera say the layout will cause more harm than good.

“I just don’t think it was well thought out,” Vescera said. “Or if it was thought out, it wasn’t thought out with a business person in mind… or the property owner in mind that needs the commerce.”

But, businesses aren’t the only ones possibly affected by the transformation.

Vescera says by removing the second lane from each direction, traffic will be slowed down, hurting downtown businesses.

The 1st Ward councilman also says a proposed median, combined with diagonal parking spaces, would cause problems for snowplows during the winter. Plows would create wakes as they clear the roads, blocking in vehicles that may be parked at downtown shops. In addition, cars would have to wait for passing traffic or cause others to stop in order to leave a parking space.

The councilmen have established a petition to avoid the changes, giving the City time to discuss a possible outcome. They are also urging residents to attend a special meeting on January 30th at the Holy Trinity School on Lincoln Ave., starting at 7 p.m., to voice their concerns with the proposal.

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