What would make Erie Boulevard friendlier? A contest will pay you for the best idea

SYRACUSE.COM

More than a century ago, the Erie Canal welcomed travelers to Syracuse.

Today, the historic pathway -- now Erie Boulevard -- is anything but welcoming.

The commercial six-lane thoroughfare is jammed with strip centers, stores, gas stations and restaurants. It's not a place where people go to walk, jog, or bike and it's certainly not known for its attractiveness.

Planners want to change that, and they are running a contest to engage the public and experts in submitting their ideas.

The idea is to solicit proposals for transforming the four-mile section of Erie Boulevard that runs through DeWitt and Syracuse into a revitalized, reborn corridor that people want to use and appreciate. At the same time, the improvements would honor the historical importance of the Erie Canal in Syracuse and DeWitt.