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Inner Loop Officially ‘Dead Man Walking’

September 9th, 2011

An aerial view of Rochester on April 25, 1963. On the right is the cleared right-of-way for the final segment of the Inner Loop. [PHOTO: Local History Division, Central Library of Rochester.]
It’s no secret that I am wholeheartedly in favor of removing Rochester’s Inner Loop roadway which encircles downtown and chokes it off from the surrounding neighborhoods like an ever tightening nooseexternal link. What we didn’t know until today was that City Council and Mayor Tom Richards feel the same…

According to a D&C articleexternal link published this morning, a City Council committee has authorized the city to spend $5 million on the project and apply for a $15 million federal Department of Transportation grant to cover the bulk of the $22 million in anticipated costs.

Councilmembers Carla Palumbo and Carolee Conklin publicly spoke in favor of the plan; and while I’m not always in alignment with Council, today I commended them in this WXXI piece by Zack Sewardexternal link where I tried to sum up my position in a short soundbyte. Check it out.

Thanks to Zack for the interviewexternal link. And thank you City Council for seeing the big picture and voting to reconnect Rochester.

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This entry was posted on Friday, September 9th, 2011 at 7:31 pm 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.

5 Responses to “Inner Loop Officially ‘Dead Man Walking’”

  1. Alex Kone says:

    I was thrilled to read the news myself. I think that the City of Rochester is putting together a fantastic project in a number of ways. Obviously, it will remove a major tear in the urban fabric and reinvigorate the neighborhoods around it but Mr. Frisch and other project leaders have not gotten enough credit yet for how this project will actually sync with capital schedules and actually reduce overall costs. The USDOT TIGER grant, for which the City is seeking funding, has looked quite favorably to over 10 Complete Streets projects. The last round of TIGER grants including funding for a very similar project in New Haven where a freeway was replaced with a surface-level boulevard. I am looking forward to seeing how their application comes together.

  2. Matt says:

    As good as it is that this piece of highway will be filled in, I fear that the plan they go forward with will be the ridiculous meandering boulevard as opposed to the restoration of the full street grid as should happen. Additionally, this is the most useful part of the right of way for functioning mass transit to later be decked over, so that’s unfortunate as well. I’m not sure something is better than nothing in this case. If what we get out of this is a 2 lane, level urban highway, we’re actually in worse shape than the sunken, but bridged one we have now.

  3. Rich Rolwing says:

    Of course I am all for some major
    reconfiguration of the Inner Loop but I just thought I would take the opportunity this wonderful and historically significant (note the still structure-encrusted Main Street Bridge anchoring the doomed Front and North Water Streets) photo provides to point out an interesting streetscape fact that I just recently discovered:

    The street emerging from the bottom of the photo about 1/3 of the way from the right corner and running diagonally to the left is Monroe Avenue. If one looks closely it comes to light that at this time in 1963 this now “quaint” thoroughfare ran all the way to Clinton Avenue at Washington Square Park! (Clinton of course is the long avenue that just about divides the photo in half and W.S.Park is identifiable by the vague “X” formed by its pathways with the round shape of the monument in the middle).
    It must have made for an impressive vista (something the Rochester of today is sadly lacking–but then I like a nice vista) to stand at the southeast corner of the park and look up the then lengthy boulevard. Does anyone remember if the destruction of this stretch of Monroe (from the Inner Loop to Clinton) coincided with it’s rerouting to run into Chestnut or whether the latter was a later development? (as I seem to remember the rerouting into Chestnut was something that happened in the mid-seventies at the earliest.)

    Just to conclude, in addition to a nice vista or two Rochester could use another nice square or two.

  4. @Rich, that is a very sharp observation! Monroe Ave. did run all the way to Washington Square. And kiddie-corner from the square was Riley Triangle – the sliver of land where Monroe and Clinton met. Take a look…

    There’s a GREAT article about this intersection here. Enjoy.

  5. Rich Rolwing says:

    What a great photograph–I’m psyched to read the article! Thanks.


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