Rochester Subway
Subscribe for Email UpdatesBecome a Facebook FanFollow Us on TwitterRSS Feed Rochester History + New Ideas. Fresh from the Rochester Subway.

Topics


Rochester Subway Gift Shop


¤ Visit the Gift Shop
¤ See Combo Deals & Offers


Modern Rochester Subway Map


Modern Rochester Subway Map

¤ View Details
¤ Buy at Reconnect Rochester


Modern Rochester Subway Map


City of Rochester, New York

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Neighborhoods Map

Rochester Neighborhoods Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway Map, 1928


1928 Rochester Subway Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway DVD

The End of the Line - Rochester’s Subway (DVD)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Landmarks Poster

Rochester Landmarks Poster

¤ View Details

 | 

SOLD OUT


Work in Rochester

Work in Rochester

¤ View Details
¤ Buy from Amazon


Original Streetart by SPACEMAN

Original Streetart by SPACEMAN

¤ View All Spaceman Art


Old Rochester Photos<br>and Historical Views

Old Rochester Photos
and Historical Views

(Framed Reprints Available)

¤ View All Rochester Photos


Rochester Subway Cap

Embroidered Subway Cap

¤ View Details


Rochester Subway T-Shirt

Rochester Subway T-Shirt

¤ View Details


Rochester Subway Token T-Shirt

RTC Token T-Shirt

¤ View Details


Rochester RTC Token

RTC Token (1948)

¤ View Details

 | 

SOLD OUT


Roch. & Brighton Token

Roch. & Brighton Token
(1887-90)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Railway Co. Token

Rochester Railway Co. Token (1900-09)

¤ View Details

 | 

SOLD OUT


Rochester School Fare Token

School Fare Token (1948)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester NYS Railways Token

NYS Railways Token (1909-38)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway Poster + DVD Combo

Rochester Subway
Poster + DVD Combo

¤ 

Add To Cart

 (Save 10%)


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1941),
Rochester Rail Equipment

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1938),
Subway & Broad Street

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1942),
Rochester City Hall & Subway

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1912),
Rochester’s Four Corners

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1905),
Erie Canal Aqueduct

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1928),
South Entrance to Subway

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway + Trolley Transit Passes

Original Subway, Trolley,
and Bus Weekly Transit Passes

¤ View All Transit Passes





ROC Low Line: A (new) Proposal for Rochester’s Abandoned Subway

August 12th, 2013

Nine RIT students collaborated to design a subterranean urban park inside the old Rochester subway called the ROC Low Line. [RENDERING: RocLowLine.com]
Over the years there have been many proposals for the reuse of Rochester’s abandoned subway tunnel. Some would like to see the tunnel preserved and turned into a living museum external link open to the public. Others would like to turn back the hands of time even further, converting the tunnel back into a water canal external link – as it was part of the Erie Canal pre-1920s.

Even today as the City continues to take steps towards the latter option, new ideas continue to surface. The most recent concept comes from RIT’s architectural program, and a very interesting student project being called the ROC Low Line…

The students made every effort to come up with a plan for the old subway tunnel that would be considerate of various stakeholders. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
Nine students, each with different areas of focus, collaborated to design a subterranean urban park called the ROC Low Line external link – named after a similar proposal external link in NYC. One of the students, Priyanka Sondhi, reached out to RocSubway early on in the project to learn about the history of the site, as well as what it means to Rochesterians today, so that any proposal would be respectful of community perspectives.

The students analyzed current land uses around the site to try and maximize the potential benefits of the project. [RENDERING: RocLowLine.com]
The students also analyzed current land uses around the site – vacant land, parking facilities, transit stops, commercial and residential spaces, etc. to try and maximize the potential benefits of the project. “We tried to explore the actual needs of the community, while identifying the stakeholders in a project such as this,” said Priyanka. “We were looking to design the subway site as a public park (for lack of a better word), but we were also aiming to redefine the space so as to optimize public participation. And perhaps facilitate urban revitalization in the downtown area.”

Green space is essential component to the Roc Low Line. [RENDERING: RocLowLine.com]
Green space is essential component to the Roc Low Line. Community gardens would be located in outdoor spaces such as the subway’s east entrance at Erie Harbor Park, next to the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

“Once the visitors pass under the former Lehigh Valley Station (now Dinosaur Bar-B-Que) they’d pass through wetland gardens, perfectly situated adjacent to the existing raceway where the soil is already ideally damp. This garden ecosystem absorbs and filters surface runoff, while also buffering the noise from the street above.”

Inside the tunnel the park design includes several water features for visitors to enjoy. [RENDERING: RocLowLine.com]
Inside the tunnel the park design includes several water features. Streaming arches of water would shoot over guests’ heads. Vertical fountains would pulse upward and waterfalls would flow down the tunnel’s walls. Reflecting pools in the floor would be surrounded by lush green plantings and plenty of spaces to sit and enjoy. “Dipping hands and feet in the pools, fountains, and waterfalls is not only okay; it is encouraged.”

To sustain plantings, existing natural light would be maximized, and additional light would brought in by creating openings in the road above. Artificial lighting (LED) would also be used to illuminate the overall space and to highlight specific functions and installations. Throughout the park there are several water features. Each is the focal point of the space, appealing to the senses and drawing people in.

Three different mechanisms for bringing in natural light are used: solar tubes, glass road inserts, and skylights. [RENDERING: RocLowLine.com]Three different mechanisms for bringing in natural light are used: Solar tubes at the east end near the Rundel Library, and near the highway at the west end. Glass road inserts along Broad Street (thick glass set directly into the road). And skylights such as these large box-shaped ones. These would be built into the Broad Street median and extending up to nine feet above the road. All of the openings for natural lighting would have artificial lighting components built in so the park could be lit at night, and to decorate the streetscape above.

LED lights would change color to coincide with the seasonal holidays and special events. Micro-hydropower generators would be installed in the raceways to generate the power for the lights. [RENDERING: RocLowLine.com]
The color of the LED lights would change to coincide with the seasonal holidays and special event (such as Amerks games or festivals). To offset the cost of running these lights, the students propose micro-hydropower generators to be installed in the existing raceways along the river and I-490 dam.

Over the length of the tunnel, the greenery evolves and transforms into various gardens representing different ecosystems... wetlands, forests, mountains, etc. [RENDERING: RocLowLine.com]
Over the length of the tunnel, the greenery evolves and transforms into various gardens representing different ecosystems… wetlands, forests, mountains… various plants would create “a rich subterranean paradise.”

The forest is a 1/4 mile promenade lined with sprouting columns. Upon exiting the forest, visitors encounter mossy boulders and elevated grassy patches where they can relax and take in the scenery. [RENDERING: RocLowLine.com]
The “forest” is a ¼ mile promenade lined with sprouting columns. Upon exiting the forest, visitors encounter mossy boulders and elevated grassy patches where they can relax and take in the scenery.

Benches and seating areas are located throughout the length of the park where visitors may sit and enjoy their surroundings. [RENDERING: RocLowLine.com]
Benches and seating areas are located throughout the length of the park “where visitors may sit and enjoy their surroundings – the soothing sound of moving water, the rustling of leaves, and the artwork painted on the walls.”

There are even trash receptacles built into the benches. Garbage would be collected and send out of the of the park by way of a pneumatic tube system at speeds up to 70 miles an hour!

Paths running through the tunnel offer chances to run and bike, while pull-off areas provide a variety of playful spaces. [RENDERING: RocLowLine.com]
“The paths running through the tunnel offer chances to run and bike, while pull-off areas provide a variety of playful spaces… The old subway car parking area at the east end of the tunnel near the library is transformed into a children’s playground for running, jumping, climbing and sliding.” Other play areas include basketball courts, soccer and hockey facilities, and water features for kids to play in. “These play areas create epicenters along the tunnel where visitors can stop and spend some time, playing and enjoying the fun atmosphere. They are cross-generational spaces where people of all ages can let loose, relax, and have fun.”

Maybe our grandkids will one day play in the ROC Low Line! [RENDERING: RocLowLine.com]
Be sure to check out the students’ project web site external link and let us know what you think about their idea in the comments below.

Who knows? If city planners are paying attention to this, they may decide to include some of these ideas in their grand “master plan.” And maybe our grandkids will one day play in the ROC Low Line!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Monday, August 12th, 2013 at 8:03 am and is filed under Rochester Destinations, Rochester Subway, Rochester Subway Stories, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

17 Responses to “ROC Low Line: A (new) Proposal for Rochester’s Abandoned Subway”

  1. John says:

    Better idea than rewatering the old canal bed. I always thought it would be cool to make it a bike/pedestrian area. These ideas are a little grandiose, but it could be cool. Even small retail spaces inside the tunnel would be a good idea. Some rotating, some open for longer term leases. It would give a good spot for small start ups and help bring people into the tunnel.

  2. Sam says:

    Love the plan, my only question its how do we keep out the undesirables? I’d hate to walk down there and see a trail of dime bags etc.

    I hope whatever plan is created includes efforts to prevent that type of misuse.

  3. ELF says:

    Very cool, but where would the money come from? Who would be responsible for maintaining this?

  4. nanci a steeb says:

    Very much like this concept! Have always thought it was an event waiting to happen!
    The RIT students should be applauded!!

  5. Carlos M says:

    This concept rocks. Wow, we’ve got some real talent our at RIT. I have long wanted to see the tunnel used for light rail or a combination canal, subway museum, but this makes me think we can do much, much more.

  6. Carl says:

    Very good idea. Unfortunately, if it ever did get built it would last about two years, and then start becoming a run-down mess due to no funding for maintenance (in typical Rochester fashion).

  7. Ben says:

    Very good ideas out of RIT as usual. But also as usual nothing will ever come of it. The city and the area has no leadership capable of selling sound ideas or attracting the kind of support to improve things. The city has been on track for sustained futility for 20 years now, and it’s not going to change anytime soon.

  8. Darlene says:

    Fantastic idea! Let’s hope the city follows through on such a great concept. This city never seems to do anything right anymore. It was such a great city, let’s bring it back to what it once was!

  9. Jason Haremza says:

    It’s an incredible concept. I give a lot of credit to the students for their very thorough analysis and professional presentation.

    I know that all great ideas start somewhere, and I know it’s important to have dreams and visions of a better place. And I know that academia is meant to be a place where unconventional ideas are explored and nurtured. However, I’m a practicing planner approaching the age where my youthful idealism and vision is tempered by the weariness of grand ideas raising public expectations without addressing financial, operational, and political realities of such a project.

    But I love the idea. I would love for there to be a follow up study, perhaps by business students, on how an entity might be set up to build, operate, and maintain a space like this. The level of detail is so high, and the constrained underground space is so unique, that I don’t think it can be successful as a relatively unsupervised public space like a city park. The High Line works in NYC because of the incredible population density surrounding it.

  10. Kyle Fecik says:

    Awesome idea… If only people would actually use it… You need to BRING people downtown. I don’t believe people will come downtown just for this park. The city needs to keep bringing people downtown to LIVE and THEN build this. If it’s built now then it will be called a failure and forgotten forever. Wait until the city has more residents. I would start construction on this as soon as Midtown Tower is done since that will have a ton of new space for apartments and hopefully by the time that this is done, Midtown will have hundreds of new residents!

    Oh and these students should speak to the powers at RIT about bringing a campus downtown. Maybe at one of the new vacant lots at Midtown. It seems like these kids are definitely headed in the right direction and I wish them luck. Rochester will have you to thank when this does happen. And I would love to get in contact and help with these efforts if possible!

    I am a student at Binghamton University but I grew up in Henrietta and graduated from MCC. I am going to Binghamton for Urban & Regional Planning. I do find it quite ironic that Rochester doesn’t have a single school that has Urban Planning as a major. Actually.. The only SUNY schools that have it as a major are Buff State and Binghamton. I just find it ironic given the current state of our “Urban” spaces. I love the city and I would love to be given the opportunity to improve the city in any way possible.

  11. Kyle Fecik says:

    And I believe that with proper patrolling and a gate that is shut at around midnight this place would keep out the undesirables. The concepts look very bright in some areas so that people will not try and dwell down there. I think that if we could bring some commercial space down here it would be awesome although I’m not sure how we would go about doing that.

  12. Jason Haremza says:

    Technically, the only accredited planning programs in Upstate New York are at UB, UAlbany, and Cornell.

  13. ivan says:

    there’s a little city-owned park between stone street and the south avenue garage, across from the mega public library downtown… that little park gets zero attention from the city. the proposed idea for a subterranean park sounds nice, but i doubt city hall would take care of it once it’s built.

  14. Brian M. says:

    A nice concept, but realistic? I don’t think so. I teach freshmen at RIT. I played a trick on them by telling them that Rochester did have a subway, which they didn’t know after two weeks of being students at RIT. I showed them RochesterSubway.com’s contrived subway map. They were ecstatic about the city apparently having a subway, because they then didn’t have to rely on a car and be stuck in Henrietta!

    Then I revealed the truth, and boy, were they upset that there were NO subway system, and that the subway was abandoned.

    Honestly – why not just re-install a subway? It would go a FAR, FAR way in revitalizing the city. It would prove for a better use of fed/local funding than a, uh, park. Our up-and-coming generations are not exactly fans of the automobile. They would rather use efficient mass transit.

    Bring back the subway. THAT is a real use of money and resources.

  15. Wow am I late for this discussion!
    I am an architecture student at RIT and a part of the team that designed this project.
    Yes this project does look a little too much and unrealistic in its feasibility. But so did most of the projects (High Line NY)that brought about big changes.
    There are so many aspects to a project such as this, as is being pointed out. We looked at a development pattern that could be executed in phases (between entrance and exit points within the underground park). That in itself allows for an opportunity to fine-tune design and construction execution accordingly. It is also realistic financially as it’ll be completed piecemeal as funds become available. The materials used are vandalism-proof. Mechanical aspects are designed to be inaccessible to public in general (eg. high lights, concealed ventilation systems, concealed waste disposal, water features with concealed on unreachable faucets etc.). Regarding keeping the undesirables out, as Kyle pointed out, the commercial nature will in itself act as a deterrent, but also adding retail space to the city downtown could increase area usability thereby leading to more populated neighborhoods. This is one of the best methods of keeping areas “safe”. This project could have the snowball effect that is needed to “revitalize” the city center.
    This is just an idea we put together after taking inputs from the public, the city (they were unsure too yet very supportive) and other awesome sources like this blog (Thanks Mike!). This “park” is also an opportunity to bring more and safe commuting options such as biking and walking for people who wish to live in the downtown area, especially in winters. This could be a lunch hangout place for people in offices around downtown. The possibilities are endless. This space is designed to be flexible and take a form conducive to its functional requirements- over time.

    Thanks for the interest everyone. It is nice to see such faith in students’ abilities. Perhaps by keeping this dialogue going we can attract more people and generate interest in such ideas to come up with a plan from within the community.

  16. Nate says:

    Looks like an amazing idea. It also looks like a horrifying enclosed space to get stabbed, murdered, raped, buy drugs, etc.

  17. Ana says:

    This reminds me of what Toronto and Montreal have going on with their underground retail areas…of course, they also have subway systems which complements this idea. It would be a nice option for our winter months.


Post a Comment...



  Most Popular...
  1. Pot Holds Bowie in Rochester
    (views: 33,499)
  2. Inside Rochester’s Terrence Tower
    (views: 33,292)
  3. Inside Abandoned Medley Centre (a.k.a Irondequoit Mall)
    (views: 23,918)
  4. University of Rochester’s Lost Swimming Pool
    (views: 19,443)
  5. Inside Rochester’s Abandoned Walters Psychiatric Building
    (views: 15,551)
  6. Deep Inside Rochester’s Big Old Sibley Building
    (views: 15,451)
  7. Abandoned Glass House
    (views: 14,043)
  8. History of Seabreeze Amusement Park
    (views: 12,813)
  9. Abandoned Girl Scout Camp Beech-Wood
    (views: 12,388)
  10. The Best Holiday Light Displays in Rochester v1.0
    (views: 12,366)
  11. Durand Eastman Park and the Lady In White
    (views: 9,891)
  12. The Old Barber House
    (views: 9,551)
  13. Exploring the Caves of Rochester, NY
    (views: 9,014)
  14. Inside the Abandoned Camp Haccamo, Penfield
    (views: 8,999)
  15. Abandoned Theme Park: Frontier Town
    (views: 8,583)
  16. Inside the Abandoned Vacuum Oil Refinery
    (views: 8,324)
  17. Rochester Mafia, the Banana King, and the Infamous “Barrel Murder”
    (views: 8,210)
  18. Inside 65-67 Chestnut St. – Old Hotel Richford
    (views: 5,976)
  19. Inside RG&E Beebee Power Plant – Just Before (and during) Demolition
    (views: 5,784)
  20. Inside the Abandoned Sykes Datatronics Building
    (views: 5,179)

Topics

  • Architecture (63)
  • Art + Culture (117)
  • Events (99)
  • Freebies (9)
  • Interviews (32)
  • Opinion (107)
  • Other (1)
  • Reader Submitted Stories (126)
  • Rochester Apartments (4)
  • Rochester Destinations (97)
  • Rochester Gifts (18)
  • Rochester History (199)
  • Rochester Homes for Sale (6)
  • Rochester Images (207)
  • Rochester News (334)
  • Rochester Subway (51)
  • Rochester Subway Stories (17)
  • Subways Around the Globe (11)
  • Train/Railroad Stuff (47)
  • Transit + Infrastructure (200)
  • Uncategorized (15)
  • Urban Development (258)
  • Urban Exploration (60)

  • Rochester Subway Information

    Get Email Updates...
    Stay up-to-date on Rochester-related stories, artifacts, and ideas that you won't find in the mainstream news. Totally free, never spammy, and you can unsubscribe at any time.


    ¤ See Past Issues
    ¤ Our Privacy Policy

    Links

    Get Involved...

    ¤ Reconnect Rochester

    Related Blogs...

    ¤ A Town Square
    ¤ Moderate Urban Champ
    ¤ Our Tiny Earth
    ¤ The Rochesterian
    ¤ RocVille
    ¤ Rust Wire

    Resources...

    ¤ RochesterDowntown.com
    ¤ Rochester's Public Library
    ¤ ROCwiki



    Want to Advertise
    on RocSubway?
    Drop us a line.


    Other ways to follow RochesterSubway.com...

    Subscribe for Email Updates

    Email

    Become a Facebook Fan

    Facebook

    Follow Us on Twitter

    Twitter

    RSS Feed

    RSS

    Questions + Comments

    For questions about the Rochester Subway Poster or about your order, please email info@rochestersubway.com.

    Want to SAVE Shipping Costs?
    Buy the Subway Posters at these local shops...

    About the Rochester Subway Poster...

    ¤ Parkleigh [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Poster Art [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Rochester Public Library Store [ ...map it ]

    ¤ Rochester Subway Poster Press Release
    ¤ Article by Otto M. Vondrak
    ¤ Design by Mike Governale

    More About The Rochester Subway

    Help Support...

    ¤ Rochester Subway (Wikipedia)
    ¤ The End of the Line - Rochester's Subway, DVD
    ¤ Abandoned Subway Photos (Opacity.us)
    ¤ Walking the Rails (YouTube Video)

    ¤ Friends of RochesterSubway.com