Route 104’s Potential Makeover Unveiled

Route 104 Complete Street plan unveiled

Route 104 Complete Street plan unveiled

OSWEGO, NY – City, county officials and several others got the first look Monday night at Oswego’s main street’s tentative revival plans.

Kimberly Baptiste, AICP project manager, for Bergmann Associates, the project consultant, presented the firm’s overview of the potential revitalization of the Port City’s main street.

Route 104 Complete Street plan unveiled
Route 104 Complete Streets plan unveiled

“Beautifying our main corridor is a top priority of my administration,” Mayor William Barlow Jr. said.

He called the plan an “exciting first step of initiating the long overdue process of beautifying the Route 104 corridor.”

Planning and Zoning Director Amy Birdsall thanked Governor Andrew Cuomo (Cleaner, Greener Communities Initiative) for awarding Oswego a $225,000 grant through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to prepare the revitalization plan.

“We’re committed to implementing the plan of the community to increase the quality of life in Oswego,” she said. “The 104 streetscape revitalization project is important because 104 is our main street. And, it’s our first impression. We need a main street that is friendly.”

The multi-year project will encourage private investment in homes and businesses; it’ll increase property values and it will increase business, she added.

Andrew Raus, vice president, Bergmann Associates, responds to a question regarding the 104 project. At left is Kimberly Baptiste, AICP project manager, for Bergmann Associates. Seated is Oswego's Planning and Zoning Director Amy Birdsall.
Andrew Raus, vice president, Bergmann Associates, responds to a question regarding the 104 project. At left is Kimberly Baptiste, AICP project manager for Bergmann Associates. Seated is Oswego’s Planning and Zoning Director Amy Birdsall.

Birdsall will be leading the project and working with Bergmann, community residents, business owners and elected officials to develop a plan that will catalyze the revitalization of Oswego’s thoroughfare.

They will bring a myriad experts into play along with the local stakeholders to devise the best possible plan for Oswego, Baptiste said.

A “Complete Streets” project is a roadway planned and designed to consider the safe, convenient access and mobility of all roadway users of all ages and abilities, she explained.

That includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation riders and motorists; including children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Some of the things they will consider going forward with the plan are sidewalks, bike lanes, paved shoulders, bus lanes, pedestrian amenities, traffic calming areas and more.

“A complete street is safe, accessible, and comfortable,” she said. “They help resolve transportation conflicts, contribute to a vibrant economy, improve safety, encourage healthy lifestyles and contribute to an improved environment.”

Increased property values would also result from the project, Baptiste said.

Nationally, the average increase in home value is 11 percent, she said.

“In Oswego, this would equate to $9,000,” she added.

Several other places are doing Complete Streets projects. In New York State, 84 communities have adopted resolutions or policies for Complete Street projects as well as nine counties.

According to Baptiste, the project approach will be:

– Innovative community engagement strategy
– Position the city for funding – implementation oriented
– Achieve stormwater management goals and objectives
– Direct land use policy and site design guidelines
– Help to tell Oswego’s unique story
– Recognition that the corridor must serve a diversity of users – modal shifts, traffic calming

Throughout 2016, plans will be developed to re-imagine the streetscape.

The existing conditions report will be conducted this spring followed by a design alternatives report in late summer.

A preferred concept report will be made during the winter and the Complete Street plan could be started around March 2017.

The final plan would likely include the redesign of sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, light posts, materials, trees, landscaping, and benches, along the entire 3.5-mile stretch of Route 104 through the city, according to Baptiste.

There are a lot of transitions along Route 104, she noted. It includes the college area, downtown, some residential and (big box type) businesses.

Some concerns raised by residents Monday night included were questions regarding snow removal and possible inclusion of rest areas for tractor-trailer drivers.

There are various opportunities and issues that will continue to be addressed as the project unfolds, Baptiste said.

Among the stakeholders offering input are the city and county, SUNY Oswego, Operation Oswego County, the chamber, Oswego Health and NYS DOT as well as others.

There will be several opportunities for community engagement in the design process during the coming months.

The city will contract out for the construction work for what will likely be a multi-million venture.

State and federal grants will be sought to help defray the cost.

The public can follow the progress of the plan on-line (on the city’s website, as the project begins) as well as at future meetings with Bergmann Associates.

For more information, call Birdsall at 342-8154.


  1. you are promising me an 11% property value increase? I call B.S. Due to your continued tax increases and sewer/water increases you have made my home unsellable.

  2. I hear you Richard. I couldn’t sell my house now if the value went up 111%…the water/sewer rate alone would deter even a millionaire from buying here for fear of going broke and/or half starving to death paying for it every quarter. This new mayor is circumventing this major problem in hopes it’ll stop being brought up & all will be forgotten. Well, it won’t, especially when I drain my finances every three months paying for it! I’m working on getting out of here very soon & others like me(private-sector working taxpayers) better follow suit or risk financial annihilation! They’re not going to do right by us….EVER!

  3. New pavement. a fresh coat of paint on the slum houses on West Bridge and better timed lights is all we need.

  4. Ok…let me get this straight…the taxpayers just gave the city of Oswego $225,000 dollars to come up with a dream plan. Now the city is going to apply for more grants(taxpayer money)to make the dream come true(If you build it they will come). If you don’t get enough grants then the local taxpayers will have to pay for it either through bonds or cold hard cash. Oswego doesn’t have the cash so it will be bonds which means the future taxpayers will have to pay or they will raise your taxes to cover the costs to repay the bonds…Sounds like pipe dreams to me.

  5. Gentleman you are all so correct – I can’t sell my house either due to the taxes and water bill….. My next step is to foreclose on it and leave another empty house in the city – no tax revenue there.

  6. How about we fix the roads that are complete crap, potholes everywhere! Or the sidewalks! I can’t stand oswego -_- This place looks hideous and you want to make 104 beautiful. What about the rest of the city that could use work. Im glad this is where money goes when more important things could be done.

  7. Moved to Oswego 2 years ago. Bought a house here ..The water bill is killing are family and if I would have thought that it would just keep going up I would have never bought a house here.. and to try and sell are home is going to be a joke.. stop raising everything

  8. This is a classic case of fiddling while Rome burns. Nobody asked for Rt 104 beautification. We asked for property tax and water/sewer bill relief and for POTHOLES to be fixed. We asked for policies that bring real jobs here – not overpaid government ‘consultants’. If you’re going to beautify and renovate anything for crying out loud focus on the waterfront! We have a real asset there and it’s pathetic that nothing is being done with it.

  9. “HUDswego” is what this city is. Selling your house and moving away? It will be purchased by a landlord and rented to a college group or a welfare family. 615 nuclear jobs are hitting the road in the next 2 years. Won’t there be a bunch of houses for sale in the near future? No. You won’t see a dramatic sale of properties. These people really don’t live downtown. They live in the town, Scriba and as far as Baldwinsville. Downtown is college, elderly and welfare and 1 of the 3 can’t keep up with this game any more. It is a shame.

  10. Heather, you have my condolences. I bought my home here over 11 years ago & honestly, it was really cheap to live here. If you could see my mortgage payment now you’d think I added the Taj Mahal onto my place when in fact I haven’t even sloshed one coat of paint on anything due to not being able to keep my residual-income to do any improvements. This article pretty much is saying all of our assessments are going up once a pothole or two gets filled on 104. Also, I’ve heard from a reliable source that the water/sewer rates are going upwards of $900/qtr. within the next half-decade. Trust me, you’ll fare better letting the bank have their house back & re-establishing your credit down the road(no pun intended) & getting the heck out of here now! Don’t worry, a slumlord or city-official will suck up your house for pennies on the dollar & fill it with government-funded tenants on short order….that’s happened here over & over again, no auction needed either. Good luck to you!

  11. I grew up in Oswego, but have not lived there since 1998. What does a monthly water/sewer bill run in and average size house with let’s say a family of four people?

  12. “Hey, Oswego resident, here is a bag of money. ”
    “Ugh, this is so heavy. Do you have anything lighter?”

  13. I think some of these comments are absolutely ridiculous! Some are direct and to the point! To the person that commented that there are only college kids, elderly and welfare recipients downtown, you ARE wrong! It’s because of people like you that our beautiful town will never be anything more than what it is. I DO agree that there are much wiser things to spend grant money on like, potholes that are unbelievable! If we are going to make 104 “more beautiful” let’s start by making a smooth ride for all our passer-byers. There is also a major need for sidewalk repairs, especially along “the main roads.” Billy Barlow, do what’s right!! Make our city better the right way!
    As far as water bills go, this article says absolutely nothing about water bills or water rates. Therefore, this is not the place to address that concern. I do agree that there is a problem there as well but address the issue correctly. Bring it to a town hall meeting or write a letter to city hall, start a petition, etc. Things do need to change here or we will end up just another slum town on the map of the great state of NY. Let’s just handle each problem correctly and appropriately.

  14. SO this plan seems quite odd. What makes them think the state will allow this stuff to happen. Route 104 is controlled by the state. Another pipe dream and waste of funds. “Hey here is $225K! Get a consultant to fill your head with stuff the State will not allow you to do!” Incredible.

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