Friday, July 23, 2010

Urban News Vol. 68b

An addendum and a retraction.

To further my answer to City Engineer Jim McIntosh's open question regarding which connections to the neighborhood should be made, I decided to develop a series of drawings illustrating my Union Street plan.

To begin, the talk has been of removing the inner loop as far north as Charlotte Street. As shown in the previous post, I am inclined to agree with the idea in the 2007 RRCDC Downtown Charrette Report of using the existing earthen ramps where they converge at East Main. This will have the added DOT benefit of taking one more bridge, and a wide one at that, off the maintenance rolls.

The image below shows my partial vision for the Union Street advanced corridor. This drawing reflects buildings that are currently extant (even an empty suburban throw-away Kentucky Fried Chicken).

It is pretty apparent where the Inner Loop runs and how much developable land it swallows up. One of the big connectivity features is an emphasis on making sure each alley runs to Union, even it it means breaking up the tree-lined median. I'm not sure Rochester has ever fully appreciated the role of alleys in good urbanism. They allow for more orderly street life by placing utilities, garbage collection, deliveries, and car storage in the rear of buildings, out of the way of the public realm. Just today while riding a bus on Park Avenue, a restaurant's delivery truck was double parked, causing great congestion and noise on the corridor. This is an originally well programmed part of town and should retain that quality.

For comparison to a place that REALLY loves their alleys, this is a neighborhood on the south side of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Streets run northwest to southeast. Avenues southwest to northeast. Courts and Places are alleys. All of this alley grandeur was accomplished despite the land generally sloping upward to the southeast at a fairly significant grade. Alleys are connecting other alleys here so that those who live on 'streets' instead of avenues also get alley access for garages, outbuldings, whatever.

My new Union Street has two 11 foot wide travel lanes, two 10 foot wide parking lanes, and an 8 foot wide tree planted median. Some effort was made to illustrate turning lanes in instances where new major intersections have been created. My next task will be to update the drawing with potential development forms and I will post it when complete.

Finally, I'd like to post something I've read which would cause me to soften my stance on the Winfield Grill's parking plans. I'd be very interesting in seeing those original plans. From
As (Chris DiMascio) stated he is not typically in favor of removing houses in the city, as is typically the guy renovating properties, but his first option was not going to be allowed by the city. His primary plan included parking to the rear of the library, Winfield, across Mayfield and over to E Main. Seeing the plans, they were fantastic. Not only parking but a bike and walking friendly path to make for a village environment. For reasons that he chose not to share there was push back on the plans.


Man About Town said...

I look forward to seeing more of your ideas on this cool project. From what I understand though, the City wanted to raise the Inner Loop all the way to East Main but couldn't make it work from a traffic standpoint. Thus the decision to transition back to an expressway north of Charlotte Street. I just hope the City can raise the funding to get this done soon; it doesn't sound like the State has any interest in helping share the cost.

tom sheepandgoats said...

Odd you should mention Pennsylvania in connection with alleys. My wife and I recently vacations in that state, and spent our days exploring the Poconos. We were struck with how frequently the grid pattern of streets is employed, even when the mountainous terrain would seem to discourage it. Seen in such samll towns as Summit Point (touched upon in the linked article) and Jim Thorpe. (seen in another part of the town, across the Lehigh, not the part I mention) Neither town is too far from Scranton.

We've exchanged posts before, in connection with a discussion about MidTown Plaza. May I say that each time I visit your blog, I am impressed with its lucidity, its advocacy, and its general layout.