About Our Organization

YESeleven is a group of local citizens who organized in 2011 over concerns that highway transportation needs in northern New York State were not being met and priorities were badly misplaced. We believe that US Route 11, which is the primary east-west highway across our region, is in critical need of improvements to make it safer and more efficient and to improve the communities within its corridor. We further believe that a new interstate highway across our region, which had been aggressively promoted by some local politicians and lobbyists, is not an economically viable or environmentally sound idea. Our beliefs have been influenced by past highway transportation studies conducted by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), and by the shared observations of people who live and work within our region.

A lot has happened in the past four years that gives us increasing confidence that priorities are being realigned and needs in the Route 11 corridor will be getting the attention they deserve. For example, a groundswell of local support emerged that favors the upgrade and improvement of Route 11 and rejects the interstate highway concept. Also, the NYSDOT remained professional and diligently pursued sensible highway planning. In January 2014 Governor Cuomo announced in his State of the State speech that a Route 11 Corridor Study would be undertaken and that it would focus on the Canton-Potsdam area, which is considered the area of greatest need. That study got underway in fall 2014 (see story below). And finally, in the November 2014 elections in St. Lawrence County, powerful and vocal political proponents of the interstate highway concept were defeated at the polls. These developments have ushered in a new era of highway transportation planning in the region.

A great amount of local work lies ahead, however, to make sure Route 11 upgrades and improvements are a good fit for the community, enhance the local business climate, and respect the land and all it supports. In addition, local planning and zoning will need to be reconsidered to ensure that land use decisions protect traffic safety and efficiency and promote patterns of development and open space that create healthy, attractive and sustainable communities.