Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Urban News Vol. 57

I was unable to attend a meeting last Thursday held by the Upper Mt. Hope Neighbors regarding redevelopment of the corridor. As it turns out, the discussion was solely about roadway changes. While that usually puts me off, these changes all appear to be designed to improve pedestrian safety as well as lay the groundwork for future development.

Left turns by motor vehicles would largely be eliminated between Crittenden Boulevard and Elmwood Avenue due to the presence of a tree-lined median according to the city's project manager (RNews). As far as I can tell from the rendering, motor traffic to existing suburban-style businesses would be routed behind them via an access road as is done on stretches on Monroe Avenue in Pittsford.

A stated goal is the widening of the road, which is troublesome. Some of that width will be put to reasonable use through the inclusion of curb bump-outs to facilitate on-street parking (D&C). While not a natural barrier, on-street parking would serve to tame traffic and provide an additional pedestrian buffer.

I touched very briefly on a potential starter streetcar line two posts ago. Based on an ongoing discussion I'm having with Mike of RochesterSubway.com, I decided it might be useful to plot an integration of the bus system into the streetcar line with Google Maps. The embedded map below shows the spoked routes, but is limited to showing the first 7 pairs of routes. Click on the link below the map to get 2-page functionality for routes 8-11, 18-19, and 24 as well as additional description of my proposal.

View Rochester Starter Streetcar Proposal in a larger map

As I alluded to in the margin of my Google plot, there are 14 mandatory streetcar stops along the line. There would likely be more, but these currently line up as bus launching points. I've ranked them based on a connectivity score that reveals which intersections would house the most significant bus-streetcar interchanges if buses no longer plied Main Street.
  1. Main and St. Paul (4)
  2. Main and Chestnut (4)
  3. Main and Clinton (3)
  4. Main and State/Exchange (2)
  5. Main and Genesee (2)
  6. Main and Plymouth (2)
  7. Main and Broad/Ford (2)
  8. Genesee and McCree (2)
  9. Goodman and Webster (2)
  10. Main and Goodman (1)
  11. Central Park and Union/Niagara [Public Market] (1)
  12. Main and University (1)
  13. Goodman and Central Park (1)
  14. Jefferson and McCree (1)

Where connectivity scores were tied, these were ranked in order of subjective importance (attractions if any, which bus routes, etc). The idea behind this is that the resources dedicated to supporting infrastructure would be greatest at locales at the top of the list. In general, stops not on Main Street, such as 8, 9, 11, 13, and 14 would be curbside stops functioning the same as our current bus stops.

Some other notes:

  • The proximity of stops 9 and 10 to each other potentially implies a more important combined stop, a potential 'level 3' transit node that might be implemented at the Goodman-Webster-Garson 'Wedge.'
  • The Public Market stop likely would not be at the corner listed as people have proven themselves so lazy as to require a shuttle between the market and their cars across Union Street
  • Nathaniel Rottenchester asked in a comment on a previous post about fitting the streetcar on Union Street. My answer to this is that the streetcar would only be running one-way (north) on Union as it has then entered a large turnaround loop.


Phill said...

Are you and Rochester Subway collaborating with The Rochester Rail Transit Committee, Inc.?
And how receptive to the idea?

Phill said...

*how receptive is RRTC to the idea ?

Rottenchester said...

What's your take on the closing of Broad Street for the canal study? I was hoping that idiotic project was dead already.

Bob and Tia said...


I personally have not been in contact with Dewain (RRTC) in some time.

While I've been big on thought exercises lately to envision how RGRTA could operate an integrated streetcar/bus network (a likely operations scenario), it appears that Mike is looking at the much bigger picture with respect to making this a reality.

He has sounded the conch with his latest entry to call a community group to arms and I am throwing my support behind his efforts at this point.

I will send RRTC an E-mail today with links to the posts here and at RS.com. Hopefully they'll embrace the starter concept.

Bob and Tia said...


Oh boy, where to begin? :)

I was opposed to the canal during the session that masqueraded as public input and nothing has changed for me.

I wrote in a comment over on RS.com regarding "the insanity that is taking place on Broad Street regarding creating a 1-mile canal that isn’t connected to anything, will be empty/frozen five months of the year, and will cost an absolute fortune to maintain."

Unfortunately they timed this during a lower traffic time so they could get figures that support their misguided case. The cynic in me says they'd mold them however they want to anyway.

I still don't understand where funding is coming from for the canal project or how it can be justified as a transportation project. The starter streetcar is a much better investment in my estimation.

I've backed off completely on the topic of light rail for now, but I don't think any shortsighted decisions should be made, when energy scarcity looms, that compromises the long-term ability to offer multi-layered mass transit systems.


Phill said...


Regarding the Broad St Canal funding I believe as of Jan 01, 2010 NYS has implemented their own historic tax credit system, which basically parallels the federal version with a few modifications and can work in conjunction with federal historic tax credits. So, I would assume that the city is trying to take advantage of both these tax credits. However, I might be mistaken but I believe the NYS historic tax credit don't work in conjunction as nicely as one would hope. I think they can't be bifurcated, and capped at $5 million of credits.
I don't think the canal is a great idea but if it does turn out to be easier to get historical tax credits from the fed and state gov't to fund it and will foster investment in the western portion of downtown, then I don't think its the worst idea (certainly not a fast ferry).
Multi-layered mass transit, probably is a better investment, but is it a priority in the City and County administrations?
Isn't this Maggie Brooks' last term? We could try and sway the next Republican County Executive to support multi-layered mass transit and hopefully Duffy will jump on board.