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New map shows condition of Syracuse streets

Ellen Abbott
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh looks at an interactive map of road ratings throughout the city

Officials in the city of Syracuse hope a new online, interactive road rating map will more clearly show conditions of streets across the city.

Mayor Ben Walsh said before this map, DPW crews would go out and assess roads when they had time, which didn’t offer a very reliable snapshot of the state of the infrastructure. Walsh said this new map is data driven. The Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council rated every road segment on a scale of 1-10 based on the frequency and severity of pavement surface cracking. And it’s color coded so anyone can see what’s going on.

"You see red, you see pink, you know that’s bad and you can really zoom in. And also in most cases, not only zoom in on that particular section of the road, but be able to click on that road see a real time picture," Walsh said.

So far results show half the city roads are in excellent condition. 26% are rated fair and 23% rated poor.  The city’s chief operating officer, Corey Driscoll Dunham, said this allows the city to better see where to put DPW dollars, and help convince state lawmakers to supplement the city’s road repair budget.

"Because we can demonstrate to our state delegation that an independent agency identified that these are the roads that really need attention immediately," she said.

Walsh said the city’s road reconstruction budget was up last year and the DPW paved 67% more roads this year than last year. This new data driven map will allow the city to be more transparent to the public when making road repair decisions.

"This gives us a baseline to say regardless whether you want to say it’s good or bad, this is where we are," Walsh said. "And five years from now, ten years from now, we can look back and say 'have we made improvements?'"

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.