Syracuse Creekwalk

The Syracuse Creekwalk is a 2.2-mile long urban trail within the City of Syracuse along Onondaga Creek from Armory Square at the city’s core to a natural setting at its terminus at Onondaga Lake. This portion of the creekwalk will form the spine of an interconnected network of trails, including the canal trail (proposed) and “Loop the Lake” (proposed). For many years, the creek and surrounding areas were underused and inaccessible to most residents and visitors. This project gives people the opportunity to experience nature within the heart of the city. The trail offers views of historic buildings in Armory Square, repurposed industrial sites in Franklin Square, a marina and park at the Inner Harbor, and a nature preserve type-setting at the lakeshore. Due to the project’s linear nature, length, and diversity of land uses along the route, ROW coordination and acquisition was a major challenge, involving the city, Onondaga County, NYSDOT, the Canal Corporation, businesses, private landowners, and two other major construction projects. Since portions of the path fall within the floodway of Onondaga Creek, permits were required from the US Army Corps of Engineers and NYSDEC. Because some construction is within the oldest part of the city, a phase 1A archaeological assessment was conducted during design. Negotiations with SHPO resulted in significant project cost savings by securing permission to conduct the phase 1B assessment during construction. Public involvement was critical to the success of the project with periodic presentations and updates to involved parties, including the client, businesses, and city residents. To accommodate a variety of terrain conditions and elevation changes, the following structural elements were incorporated in the project:

  • Two soldier pile and lagging walls
  • One segmental block retaining wall
  • Five MSE retaining walls
  • One stone gabion wall
  • A fiber reinforced polymer pedestrian bridge
  • A 10-span, pile-supported bridge structure over a natural gully

In keeping with the natural theme of the project, several green features were integrated into the design, including rain gardens, permeable soils, porous concrete and asphalt pavement surfaces, and vegetated swales, all for the purpose of rainwater detention and reduction of runoff.