On Monday evening, June 8, 2009, the Rochester Regional Community Design Center will go before Rochester’s City Planning Commission and appeal the decision to allow a Fastrac gas station to be built on Main Street next to the Main/University Inner Loop on-ramp. Roger Brown, Creative Consultant at RRCDC explains, “Though we don’t agree with the Zoning Board’s decision to allow a gas station at that site … much of our case will be about the urban design of the building and how it needs to be designed according to the Center City Design Standards for Main Street.”
I’ll talk more about those “urban design standards” and how you can help. But first, there’s a virus spreading across America…
The intersection at State and Main Streets in downtown Rochester, known as the Four Corners, was once the epicenter of the city. I’m going to let these two photos do most of the talking for me in this article. The photo below is of the Four Corners, looking north toward State Street.
The postcard I’m holding in my hand is from the early 1900’s (maybe 1912-ish). Holding it up in front of the same location in 2009, it becomes a tiny window onto the past.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being introduced to the Rochester Regional Community Design Center . The RRCDC is a group of design professionals, planners, and citizens who donate their time to the purpose of designing Rochester’s public spaces. They offer their design guidance and recommendations to the city through public lectures, design charrettes , and an open-to-the-public design gallery/resource library at their studio on East Main Street. For anyone remotely interested in how cities are planned or issues surrounding urban renewal as they apply to the city of Rochester, the RRCDC is a must-see.
Okay, I haven’t put the time or effort into crafting my own vision for the old Midtown Tower, so Im not going to be overly critical here. But Im going to show you two concepts for Midtown that were sent to the city this week for review (and 1 wildcard concept). The first drawing (shown on the left) is from local developers Patrick Dutton and Shane Bartholf. It includes 158 for-sale condominiums with large window openings, common or public use of the former restaurant space on the 14th floor, and mixed-use office and retail on the first three floors. As you can see they’ve also added some shiny (albeit blurry) people to their drawing, as well as a lovely solar-flare effect to make the building look extra shiny…
Last week, Senator Chuck Schumer and County Exec. Maggie Brooks announced that the Renaissance Square project will be moving ahead, with or without the performing arts center. $45 million would still need to be raised to build the theater, and at this point it looks like that money would need to be raised entirely with private donations — HIGHLY unlikely. So what exactly are we building? A new bus station (essentially a covered parking lot for buses). New classrooms for Monroe Community College. Oh, and a big grassy area where the performing arts center would have been.
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.