Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Urban News Vol. 24

Some local quick hitters today to go along with Friday's preview.

by Diana Palotas, RNews

Article Key Points:
  • Apartment building at Monroe and Goodman has been demolished
  • Site will be occupied by Rite-Aid, currently across the street
  • The Monroe Theatre, currently Show World, will be demolished except for the facade
  • New townhouses will be built at Monroe and Amherst

It would appear that the desire for national retail chains in a familiar suburban form has once again undermined the city fabric and negated two embodied energy investments. I have yet to find any details anywhere on Rite-Aid's plans for the site (whether it respects the public realm of Monroe Avenue or is fronted by its pre-requisite parking lot). Nor have I found any real announcement of a townhouse project, let alone whether these will have appropriate frontage or bow to the almighty garage or worse, an off-street lot. For now I have to call this one a net loss of irreplacable structures regardless of their current paint scheme.

According to the Monroe Village Strategic Plan, prepared for the mentioned Task Force, the intersection of Goodman and Monroe is considered the epicenter of their focus. Buildings on the three corners not currently housing a suburban Rite-Aid are ranked at least neutral in contributing to community character. Unless this new Rite-Aid is flush with the corner and has 4 stories of residential above it, then their own planning doctrine is being discarded (to their credit, they fought for office/residential/retail) in honor of the quick development buck. According to 1180 WHAM news, the old Rite-Aid will remain on the Southwest corner, contributing nothing to the public realm, with a replacement tenant.

RTS to Lower Fares; Contract Looms
by Mary McCombs and Ben Shutts, RNews

Article Key Points:

  • Previously announced RTS fare decreases to take effect in September
  • Drivers and mechanics union to re-enter contract talks with RGRTA next month

I would have liked to come out with more in the bullets, but sometimes these TV segments don't translate well to text. I wonder if these anchors who attach their names to the story do any of the writing or field work. For instance, the article proclaims, "RTS said ridership in Rochester is up three times the national average." I honestly don't know whether that means Rochester's ridership is up and is sitting at three times the national average for bus systems, or that the increase is three times the national increase over some time period that they didn't bother to describe. And I have no idea what the interview is talking about in the last sentence, but I'm on a new self-imposed D&C boycott due to their purely ignorant and hate-filled public commenting system.

I will buy a ridership increase, but the only supporting evidence I have is anecdotal in nature from my personal observations. The fare decrease is excellent news for those who need it the most, the ones who got boned during the 'one-zone' conversion (and elimination of 15 cent transfers) that made it twice as expensive to go from the 19th Ward to the Zoo as it is to go from LYONS to Midtown Plaza. I am excited to see if current route frequency increases at the next rescheduling period coinciding with the start of the school year.

Cobblestone Building Relocated
by Bonyen Lee, RNews

Article Key Points:

  • Oldest building in the Town of Irondequoit moved from Ridge Rd. to Town Hall
  • 1800's Blacksmith building to be restored for educational purposes

While a tremendously sad commentary that the impetus for preservation is the fear of destruction at the hands of a tractor trailer, this careful movement of an entire building is a win for preservationism and for the public realm at least on Titus Avenue. The former site? Not so much. A new Salvatore's Pizza will open on the site (immediately adjacent to a current Salvatore's...).

Council Votes to Fill in Old Subway Bed
by Amy Young, RNews

Article Key Points:

  • Council unanimously votes to fill in northwest section of subway tunnel
  • Will spend $11 million to fill in the section north of Main Street

This is an incredibly short-sighted course of action for the city to take. As the quoted Mr. Burns stated, the city is spending a significant amount of money on feasability studies and public workshops for the entire corridor. It would only make sense to analyze the results of the studies before taking action. This particular action would make extremely difficult, and ultimately wasteful, the subsequent routing of any type of rail system into the Brown Square, Edgerton, Maplewood, and Charlotte neighborhoods.

So much for quick hitting. And again apologies for the snarkiness, but its difficult to watch the same mistakes made over and over again. On Friday I'll take a look at new national development patterns and the slowly changing national attitude toward autombiles and suburbia as well as a prominent renewed interest in funding Amtrak from a national publication. Enjoy the rest of the week!


Anonymous said...

Rite-Aid may not be the way to go, but I drove by that apt. building all the time and it was a total pit.

Maybe they should turned it into some kind of neighborhood green space, like the little park by Writers & Books?

Anonymous said...

Let's see if this fare-reduction ever takes place. Aesch, like the rest of County Republican, is big on public relations but not so good at delivering service. Fuel isn't getting cheaper; there's a contract to be settled; and the school bus income isn't going to be there.

Perhaps the "reduction" was a bullet-point for Aesch's Tampa resume. Too bad HART knows how to Google their job candidates.