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23 Responses to “Remixing Main Street”

  1. Rob says:

    Even after the city added all of those great bike lanes hundreds of people are still riding on the sidewalks, a shared bike/bus lane (as seen in many major cities) would cover those two uses and if drivers were reduced to one lane that covers that speeding concern.

    In addition, because we won’t have a bus terminal for another two years the majority of the right lanes are essentially bus lanes as it is.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I agree with Rob…even with the added bike lanes on Monroe Ave, there are still a good amount of bikes on the sidewalks (I nearly got hit by a bike one time). Secondly, drivers are not very respectful of the bike lanes-either using it as a defacto right hand turning lane (think Goodman St) and the parking signs were never removed from in front of the Rite Aid store and cars still park there even though they are parking over the bike lane and into the driving lane. I am not saying this to complain, as I like the changes made and I think its a very nice improvement. I guess it’s going to take time for people to change their driving behavior in response to the changes. If the bikes start utilizing the lanes more, perhaps drivers will start respecting them more and staying out of them.

  3. Martin Edic says:

    He is talking buffered bike lanes- these have physical barriers protecting them from car traffic so I think they’d get used. But the plans for Main that I’ve seen show diagonal pull-in parking slots on both sides replacing the bus lanes. The idea is that more on street parking creates a livelier retail/street scene.
    We are going to get to do this stuff on the street replacing the Inner Loop section being filled in.
    The problem with all the bike lanes like Monroe is parked cars- bad combo.

  4. Kyle Fecik says:

    Where have you seen these plans for Main Street?

    And I think it would be cool if you could create an entire street from a birds-eye view and even travel down the road like in google maps. Just a thought for a future update 🙂

  5. Martin Edic says:

    There were drawings done for a Rochester Downtown Development Corp event a few years ago but a lot of things have changed since then with Sibley’s the new Midtown site, the new Hilton, etc., and the changing of Clinton and South/St. Paul to two way streets. These are huge in progress changes we’ll see in the next year that completely revitalize downtown.
    So Matt is right to play this game- with bus line-ups off of Main St., we have a much bigger canvas to play with. I’ve been watching this for a long time and we are at the tipping point after many disappointments.

  6. Kyle Fecik says:

    I hope so.

    I’m most excited about the east inner loop project. I think this is going to be huge for downtown. All the new mixed use space on a really inviting street scape in a great part of the city. This project has so much going for it I just really hope that the city doesn’t mess this up.

  7. Kyle Fecik says:

    I just created Westfall as it is now and then with the CityGate plans (the pre-CostCo plas) and it looks great! I really wish Rochester wasn’t going through with it.

  8. Peter says:

    The problem with the Monroe bike lanes is that they are only northwest of Goodman. The spots in front of Rite-Aid are still parking spots. My solution is to just ride down Harvard or Pearl St, which run parallel but with no traffic (a de facto “bike boulevard”).

  9. Elizabeth says:

    @Peter…I don’t think the narrow lane that matches the width of the bike lane in front of Rite Aid is parking spots. A car cannot fit in that and goes into the driving lane. If the turning lane (heading west on Monroe and turning South) is backed up to turn left onto Goodman St, cars heading East on Monroe won’t be able to get around cars parked in front of Rite Aid. Personally, I feel the signs need to be taken down. Or at least a no parking zone during certain hours needs to be enforced. I have already seen some tight fits btwn cars heading east and cars in the turning lane due to this issue.

  10. Irene says:

    Current Midtown plans, including Main St are at http://www.cityofrochester.gov/article.aspx?id=8589944373
    I was over there a few days ago, till security politely told me to leave the work area, and it is really starting to look like something. Also, I saw that the whole Midtown site is just under 9 acres – that’s about the same as what the Inner Loop project will free up for development.

  11. Peter says:

    @Elizabeth – Maybe they aren’t parking spots, but the bike lane does end right there. I am with you on those parking spots, I’m not sure why people need to park there instead of the large and easy to access parking lot which is well-placed behind Rite-Aid.

  12. Matthew Denker says:

    So a few things:

    1.) Thank you all for the great response! I am hoping to do a longer form post about the current Inner Loop plans. It’s exciting news even if it’s not done perfectly.

    2.) Interesting to note that the WTC is only 16 acres, and it’s getting a memorial, 4 (nearly) thousand foot towers, and a transportation center. Just throwing it out there. Not advocating for supertalls in Rochester, just saying how low the bar is set.

    3.) My street! So near and dear to my heart (and apparently important to many of the people of Corn Hill), the massively over wide and boring South Fitzhugh St. A street that causes intense speeding because of it’s shear, eh, clarity. Here it is now: http://streetmix.net/-/48196. Here it is how I’d like to see it: http://streetmix.net/-/48199. This would remove the current alternate side parking in favor of one side of parking protecting a bikelane. The other side is given vehicular exclusion domes (AKA zebras).

    4.) From my last visit to Rochester, I am mesmerized at how the bike network is being built out incredibly piecemeal. I think this is fine, but it means we need to stay the course. There won’t be an explosion of use until the network happens, and that could take years. In some ways it’s like the way the road network was built. Unfortunately, despite being much cheaper than the roads, I worry that the political gumption to keep going might be lacking. I guess bike manufactures don’t spend money to lobby in the way GM did.

  13. jimmy says:

    I would like to see all bus stops be taken out on main street once the terminal is ready. simply push some of the stops one block north or south. I think the car lanes should stay at 10 feet wide. Ideally the goal for Main Street is for the sidewalks to be packed with pedestrians, so therefore people will not be riding bikes on the sidewalk. I disagree with having medians on Main Street. Except I really would like to see Street cars. Streets don’t need medians to make pedestrians happy. Just look at the coolest streets in NYC.

  14. Matthew Denker says:

    Eh? I mean, NY is a tough case. Park Ave does have medians (as does Broadway north of Columbus Circle and West St south of the highway), and it’s great. Any avenues with protected bike lanes and pedestrian islands are better for pedestrians than avenues without them. Many of the best spots that are the most crowded now have street closures. Times Square is just crazy now that Broadway is closed to vehicular traffic, and the same happens at Herald Square.

    Note that I don’t advocate for street closures. In general, they’re not good. But 40ft of unbroken street crossing is just too much for all but the fastest pedestrians, and lengthening light cycles is rarely a good answer either. The idea is for building nice pedestrian refuges to simplify crossing and slow traffic some.

  15. Jason Haremza says:

    One question I have: the streetcars would have the boarding on the left? Does this limit their transferability to streets that may not have medians? Are there examples in the right-driving world with streetcars that board on the left?

  16. Matthew Denker says:

    I know it’s not a streetcar, but Cleveland’s Health Line BRT (down Euclid) uses buses with doors on both sides so that it has and can use both island and side platform stations to board from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HealthLine). Off the top of my head, I cannot think of any US streetcars that do, but vehicles with doors on both sides are not particularly challenging either.

  17. I’m pretty sure most modern streetcars have doors on both sides. From what I remember of my last trip to Seattle, the south lake union streetcar did.

  18. Jason Haremza says:

    Another thing to keep in mind is that one of the priorities for Main Street is to re-introduce on-street parking to help support retail.

  19. Martin Edic says:

    You might want to keep your ears open regarding a rumor that the Midtown developers are talking to Trader Joe’s. With 160 units there and another 140 in the Morgan project next to Dinosaur two blocks away, the numbers are starting to add up. But I’ve heard they need surface parking which is a huge roadblock (how do you keep office workers from parking there instead of paid lots?). But they don’t have that in other cities so…
    Maybe receipts validate for a paid lot.

  20. Jason Haremza says:

    The surface lot would be small and easily monitored. It would be in the best interest of Trader Joe’s (or whoever is there) to watch that lot like a hawk. Nathaniel’s in Corn Hill does it. Somehow the Strong Museum does it with their huge surface lot.

  21. kmannkoopa says:

    @ all the bike lane comments:

    The bike lanes were all just painted this seasosn, and I think they are something will just needs time to catch on. One place I hardly ever see bicycles on the sidewalk is South Ave through the South Wedge.

    The City Code would need to be ammended to ban bicycles on the sidewalk (Ch 34-6.C.):

    Children under 12 years of age shall ride bicycles, velocipedes or tricycles only on the sidewalk and must walk bicycles, velocipedes or tricycles across all streets. All persons over 12 years of age may ride bicycles upon any sidewalk except in the Central Traffic District

    Editor’s Note: For definition of “Central Traffic District,” see § 111-2.
    but may not ride bicycles on any plot in the roadway planted with grass, flowers or shrubs or on any ornamental parkway in any roadway. The prohibition against riding bicycles upon sidewalks in the Central Traffic District shall not apply to police officers in the performance of their duties.

    For Main St. (the original focus of the post), you can’t be in the sidewalk. However, the comments devolved to Monroe Ave, where riding on the sidewalk is at least passively encouraged by the city code. Riding in the road can only be ecnouraged, not enforced until we change the code.

  22. Matthew Denker says:

    I remain skeptical but hopeful for something like Trader Joe’s. The average grocery store in the US serves about 8,000 people (of course the average grocery store in the US loses money too, but that’s a different issue). The population in the inner loop, even with these projects, will only be about 3/4ths of that. I think more likely is the Tops urban experiment they rolled (are rolling?) out in Buffalo (http://www.buffalonews.com/20130406/orchard_fresh_is_an_upscale_fresh_market_concept_that_tops_markets_is_bringing_to_orchard_park_testing_the_upper_limits_of_taste.html).

  23. Jason Haremza says:

    To date, Tops high end experiment is anything but urban. Affluent auto-based suburbia (Orchard Park, Amherst, Clarence) is more like it.

    There’s the 6,000 downtown residents. But also the 50,000 or so downtown workers. I would think this would be a good market segment for a place to stop on the way home for a prepared dinner or grocery staples. Plus downtown adjacent residents (Marketview Heights, Susan B. Anthony, Corn Hill, Wadsworth Square, inner Park Avenue, etc.) who might be willing to come downtown for groceries if the product mix and quality were there, instead of East Avenue Wegmans or Upper Falls or Lake Avenue Tops.

    I know Abundance Co-op is there and they’re trying. But their current location was a poor choice, invisible from any major street. They also suffer from an unattractive interior and some merchandising and display issues. Lexington Co-op in Buffalo blows them away.


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