Driscoll, who founded the “Community for the Grid” campaign and drove passage of a new city lead enforcement law, says the 81 position is a “calling”
Syracuse, N.Y – Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh appointed Joe Driscoll, a strong advocate for the Community Grid and three-term Common Councilor, to become Interstate 81 City Project Director for the City of Syracuse. Driscoll will be the City’s primary liaison with the New York State Department of Transportation regarding the replacement of the Interstate 81 viaduct. He will also work closely with departments across city government to manage the impact of the massive construction project on residents and city infrastructure. Driscoll will leave his position on the Common Council to take on the new role.
“Joe Driscoll knows how to get things done. He’s been a constructive voice regarding the Community Grid who helped make sure the facts about the alternatives reached more people. He is deeply knowledgeable about the 81 project and is respected across the city for his integrity. Joe is a true public servant who understands city government and our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Walsh. “By listening, building consensus and working tirelessly, he has helped Syracuse make progress on critical community issues. His leadership role in passing the historic lead ordinance demonstrates his resolve to protect the health of children and families in Syracuse. We need his approach now on the 81 project.”
Driscoll was elected 5th District Syracuse Common Councilor in 2018 representing Eastwood and a large section of the east side of the city. He is the Council Majority Whip and currently chairs the Public Works Committee, which oversees city departments and services including water, roads, street lighting, sewers and sanitation. He previously chaired the Council’s Transportation Committee. He recently worked closely with the Department of Parks Recreation and Youth Programs to gather community input and plan three major parks investments – basketball courts, a baseball themed splash pad facility and a new playground – in Eastwood.
In 2018, Driscoll formed the “Community for the Grid” public information and advocacy program to address misinformation about the alternatives for the Interstate 81 viaduct project. In 2021, he worked with community stakeholders to present a recommendation to the City to hire its own urban planner and landscape design project to develop a vision master plan and advise the City as the project is implemented. He served on the RFP committee which recommended the hiring of Dover Kohl & Partners, a nationally renowned urban planning firm that has begun working with the City.
“This job is a calling for me. I feel like all of my experiences have led to this moment. I believe passionately in the potential of the Community Grid to positively transform Syracuse, to advance equity and make people’s lives better,” said Driscoll. “This will likely be the most transformative project to happen in Syracuse during our lifetimes, and I plan to continue on with my work as an advocate, keeping the needs and health of city residents foremost, and working to make positive changes that will improve the quality of life for all the people in our community, hopefully for generations to come. Serving as the 5th District Councilor has been one of the greatest honors of my life, and I want to express my deep gratitude to the people of Syracuse for electing me to represent them.”
In 2020, Driscoll worked closely with Council President Helen Hudson and the Walsh Administration to draft and pass legislation that gives city code inspectors broader authority to test for lead in rental properties in areas of the city with higher incidences of lead poisoning. Driscoll also played a critical role in creating and implementing the city’s first Tick and Deer Management Program after years of unsuccessful attempts to address the overpopulation of deer in the city.
In addition to his work with NYSDOT and City departments, Driscoll will be responsible for the city’s community engagement regarding the 81 project. He will also manage the work of Dover Kohl & Partners, the urban planning firm, as it interacts with neighborhood partners and NYSDOT and its contractors.