‘Traffic needs to slow down’: Longtime business owner’s advice for reformatting Lyndon Corners in I-81 plan

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DEWITT, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Nino Gagliano has seen a lot outside the widows of his Lyndon Corners flower shop, Backyard Garden Florist.

“Motorcycles do wheelies,” he recalls. “I had a car drive right through the bushes up to the curb of the shop.”

An hour after the store closed Thursday, a 15-year-old boy suffered what police describe as “significant injuries” after being hit by a car just outside the gas station on the other side of the intersection.

No tickets have been issued because DeWitt Police haven’t determined if the incident was accidental, avoidable, or can be blamed on the intersection’s format, but officers consider the stretch from Lyndon Corners up toward Wegmans to Erie Boulevard a “hotspot” for crashes.

Gagliano said, “The traffic needs to slow down… These vehicles are not going 40mph. Lyndon Road is 30mph. They’re not going 30mph.”

Proposed changes to the formats of Lyndon Corners and the nearby Exit 3 off of I-481 are the latest updates to the State DOT’s grand plan to tear down the I-81 viaduct in Downtown Syracuse and reroute traffic around to I-481.

Right now, traffic exiting I-481 can chose between Route 5 East/Fayetteville or Route 5 West/DeWitt. The plan calls for only one exit ramp, wider and longer than the current ones, but will allow traffic to turn left or right onto Route 5.

Upgrades to Lyndon Corners centralize on one lane added to Route 5 for traffic heading east into the eastern suburbs of Fayetteville and Manlius.

“I think you’re still going to have the volume,” the florist predicts. “I think you’re going to get more traffic.”

Gagliano worries there’s not enough space to add another lane. His parking lot is right up against the sidewalk, which is right up against the street after he remembers the state extending the road into his property years ago.

Gagliano hopes cameras can be installed to track drivers’ speeds and asks that police write more tickets.

“I’m not sure if the businesses will survive in 5-to-10 years with all the development, without accommodating different types of access to the east side,” he said.

He hopes the DOT can fix the neighborhood’s traffic issues, but hopes engineers can strike a balance with protecting his business.

Public comments for the I-81 grand plan can be submitted by anyone until September 14 at 5pm. Two virtual and two in-person public hearings will be held in August.

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