Last week members of City Council voted 8 to 1 in favor of a resolution supporting a new RGRTA bus station on Mortimer Street. The single vote against the plan came from Councilmember Carolee Conklin, who said the plan is “a 19th Century solution to a 21st Century problem.” RochesterSubway.com has obtained the following memo from Conklin to Mayor Duffy. In it she explains in detail why she is opposed to RGRTA’s proposal…
To: Robert J. Duffy, Mayor & City Council
From: Carolee Conklin, Councilmember
Date: May 11, 2010
Subject: Intro. 198 Resolution in support of a transit center
I support the concept of a transit center and the need for an intermodal center to meet the needs of the City of Rochester for the next 50 years.
I do not support the proposed transit center on Mortimer St. for the following reasons:
- “Getting the buses off Main St.” The proposed legislation does not get the buses off Main St., It puts them in a different lane, creates traffic and pedestrian problems by left turn lanes, and creates traffic congestion on St. Paul and Clinton Avenue.
- Condemnation of 58 St. Paul St., 62 St. Paul St., 58 Mortimer St., and 65-71 North Clinton Ave. The first three properties are owned by H.H. Warner, LLC. This is a subsidiary of Mark IV, which, in the last twenty years, has built or rehabilitated over 500 units in the Center City. This action will effectively destroy their housing plans for the St. Paul corridor. The proposed rendering shows a four story “bus barn” abutting the Warner Building, and, through condemnation, taking all their parking with the exception of a small lot.
- The developer of the Cox Building required 74 parking spaces. These will also be eliminated.
- Security issues: The RGRTA is the only transportation agency that I know of that does not plan on having their own security force in the proposed transit center. I do not see how the City of Rochester (facing a 40 million budget gap this year alone) can afford to subsidize security for RGRTA. RGRTA is operating with a surplus, which is also taxpayer money. A twenty hour a day operation should be secured and patrolled by RGRTA, not sworn officers of the Rochester Police Department. I do not believe that the majority of City taxpayers want to subsidize police service for a transit center, effectively taking officers away from other duties.
- Mortimer St. was the agreed location by the City, County and RGRTA in 2000. That was 10 years ago. Since that time the changes have been significant. The original agreement called for Stone St. being “punched through” to Mortimer St. and included a performing arts center, the MCC campus, and the transit center built underground. There are not any parts of the 2000 agreement in the current plan for a bus barn on Mortimer St.
- RGRTA continues to use an outmoded “hub and spoke” system that most cities have dropped in favor of a “grid system” that employs smaller transit centers and circulator routes. The “hub and spoke” worked will when Main and Clinton was the true center of Monroe County, with thousands of people coming every day to Main and Clinton to work and shop. When Sibley’s, B. Foreman’s, McCurdy’s, McFarlin’s and The National left, the hub and spoke should have followed.
- “We’ll lose 52 million if we don’t pass Mortimer St.” I don’t believe, with the recent emphasis of the federal government on rail service and intermodal services, that if RGRTA, the Mayor, City Council and our Federal representatives went to the FTA and requested that the monies be diverted to an intermodal center we would lose any of the 52 million.
To summarize, I can support a transit center that incorporates rail, intra- and inter-city buses, taxis, and bikes. I cannot support the proposed bus barn on Mortimer St. and what it will do to our center city now and in the foreseeable future.
It’s important to note that even though there were 8 votes to support the transit center, at least 3 of those councilmembers said they have concerns on issues like parking, emissions, and the design. Matt Haag, Jackie Ortiz, and Adam McFadden said they reserve the right to change their vote in June, when the legislation to abandon Mortimer is supposed to come before Council, if their concerns aren’t adequately addressed.
Tags: Adam McFadden, bus terminal, Carolee Conklin, city council, Clinton Avenue, hub-and-spoke system, Jackie Ortiz, Main Street, Matt Haag, Mortimer Street, Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA)
This entry was posted on Sunday, May 16th, 2010 at 12:45 am and is filed under Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.