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The City of Rochester Bureau of Planning and Zoning is in the process of updating Center City Master Plan. From the City’s website, “The intent is for this document to be a strategic plan [to] help the city measure and celebrate downtown progress, prioritize further research and analysis, prioritize projects, and help secure funding.”
A draft plan can be viewed online , and in a series of open houses the City is now gathering public input on that draft. The last open house is this Wednesday evening (details at the end of this story).
I had a chance to catch up with Jason Haremza, senior planner with the City of Rochester, to ask a few questions about the update…
This former department store (Sibley, Lindsay & Curr Company) is truly massive. Rochester’s Sibley Building weighs in at over 1.1 million square feet (23 acres of floorspace) – easily the largest building in Monroe County.
WinnCompanies out of Boston now owns the property and plans to spend up to $200 Million over the next five years to bring it back to life as mixed-use space. Holy smokes, do these guys have their work cut out for them. You may have noticed new windows and awnings along Main Street? Some 2,000 windows have yet to be replaced.
Last week the UofR Urban Explorers Club went on a tour through the maze of hallways and spaces, from the dark sub-basement all the way up to the two massive water tanks on the tower rooftop…
Recent commentary from the Green Party candidate for mayor made me realize that for many, there are simplistic black and white arguments regarding the value of investing in downtown versus investment in education and poverty alleviation.
The Green Party outrage over the sale of Midtown to Buckingham/Morgan developers for $2.00 is one example. I’d like to talk about how the economics work, and why I think there’s a bigger picture being overlooked…
Rochester is a city with a rich history that has experienced a steady decline in population, quality of life, and reputation. Despite this the city has many proud residents who are not satisfied with the status quo. Due to repeated failures we’re skeptical of large projects. This environment of pride mixed with skepticism has produced a generation of Rochester supporters who embrace progressive ideas, respect history, and proceed with caution. My personal contribution is a plan to establish a large State University in Downtown Rochester. We’ll call it SUNY Rochester.
This final part serves to tie up some loose ends, and to showcase additional trail options and connections in the region. Here, we will go on an alternative route North to the lake, this time on the east side of the river gorge, and check out the parkway and Route 390 trails, which provide us with additional connections. [View this route in Google Earth using this .KMZ file]
The fourth part of the Bike Rochester Series differs quite a bit from the previous ones. We will be venturing on old railroad rights of way (train tracks converted to trails via Rails to Trails Programs). The biggest difference here is that these trails are not paved; they are packed dirt/grass and crushed stone (similar to parts of the unpaved canal trail). So a road bike is not recommended, however a hybrid bike will be more than comfortable and safe. This is the perfect ride to do during the Fall!
I often get asked if there are tours of the Rochester subway. The short answer is no. The longer answer is while there is no official tour of the “subway,” every October there is usually a tour of the “historic Erie Canal aqueduct.” And it’s coming up this weekend…
In this third piece exhibiting Rochester’s bicycle trails, we will be returning to the Erie Canal Heritage Trail. Click HERE and HERE to see parts one and two, respectively. This time, we will be heading westbound towards Brockport. Although there is not much of a net elevation change between downtown and Brockport, it feels a bit more hilly than the eastbound trail. As we will see, the towns and hamlets we will encounter on this western route have a different character to them than the ones on the eastern trail…
Last week a reader, Michael Krauklis, sent me this picture and asked two perplexing questions. Michael said, “I’ve worked downtown just next to the Broad Street bridge for 11 years now, and the entire time there has been a strange feature in the river just south of the bridge . Upon first glance it appears to be a spring, in the middle of the river, but with further inspection one can see the carcass of an old abandoned structure surrounding it… What was the original purpose of this and where is the water is coming from?”
I have seen these strange concrete triangles in the river myself, and I know there are more than one of them. But I had never noticed the spring water bubbling up! In either case, I had no good answer for Michael. So, I started digging. Here’s what I found out…
Rochester’s old subway tunnel hasn’t seen a passenger car come through here in nearly sixty years. But lately, redevelopment ideas are arriving with unbelievable frequency. A few weeks ago we were talking about the ROC Low Line; an underground park designed by a team of RIT students. This week, another local group has come forward with a different plan. And these guys want to take theirs beyond just an academic study. Stand clear of the yellow line folks – here comes the “Broad Street Underground” concept…
The second part of The Biking in Rochester Series showcases the route from downtown to Lake Ontario, following the Genesee River Trail. It is 20 miles, roundtrip, from downtown to the end of the pier at Lake Ontario Beach Park and back. Actually, I’ll take us a bit further and ride along the lake shore, east to Sea Breeze – adding another 8 miles to the trip.
Although this route is not as consistently scenic as the first one, it has much better rewards, and you get more of a workout. We’ll pass by 3 waterfalls, 3 beaches, 3 lighthouses, and two piers out onto the big lake. The western portion of this route is on the Genesee Riverway trail, a mostly completely dedicated bike path such as the one on the canal. The eastern portion is on King’s highway/Goodman street…
Welcome readers. I’m going on a slight deviation from my usual “Filling In” article to talk about the mean streets of Rochester. Let’s take a look at, eh, Main St. Yeah, Main St. What’s that looks like? Ok, well, there’s some tall(ish) buildings built to the street. There’s sidewalk, theoretically two driving lanes in each direction, and (supposedly) some street trees. If I were to give this street a grade, it would get an “in-complete.”
Oy, how I wish I could reconfigure things! Just pick stuff up and move it around. Maybe add a cycle track or a tree-lined median. Heh heh… can you say, STREET REMIX?!
This is the first in a series of photo tours aimed at encouraging people in the Rochester area—regardless of cycling ability—to get out and enjoy the plethora of trails we have. It is written as an introduction, although most people around here are probably already familiar with some of the trails. Disclaimer: I am not a local… and no where near a veteran cyclist!
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 open to the public. Others would like to turn back the hands of time even further, converting the tunnel back into a water canal – 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…
Wow it’s been a while! This week, Let us take a look at Rochester’s best shot at an iconic piece of post-modern architecture downtown. No, not Midtown Tower. I’m talking about Midtown Plaza’s undeveloped “site 6″. As a quick refresher, here are the current plans:
The shuttered National Clothing building on East Main and Stone Streets will soon be seeing new life as a Hilton Garden Inn. After reading the original post here I wanted to take an opportunity to expand on the history of the building and offer a more in-depth idea of what the rehabilitation entails. The $16 million project is being completed by DHD Ventures and is utilizing historic tax credits. The RBA Group of North Carolina is the project architect and Preservation Studios is providing all services relating to the historic tax credit program.
The photo above was taken in January, 2011. Late last year we looked at the plans for the new public spaces at Midtown Plaza. Work on the site is now progressing quickly – and those plan drawings are becoming reality. The old Midtown buildings are gone. The new Windstream building is mostly complete. And this week, the first street curbs have been installed giving shape to the new Cortland Street. Here’s a birds-eye view of the past 30 months progress…
Ever notice how the Xerox Tower looks like one of the original World Trade Center towers? Did you know that the Xerox Tower was completed five years before the World Trade Center towers? Hmmm, so maybe the Xerox Tower inspired the design of the World Trade Center Towers? This would make Xerox Tower an extremely important building in the history of architecture. I had to do some research…
I haven’t been able to find anyone who knows exactly when this mural was painted, but it’s been a fixture in Manhattan Square Park for at least 30 years, says Charles Moreland, Executive Director of Rochester Parkour . The outdoor venue has been mostly abandoned for the past 10 years, but its concrete walls and irregular geometry make it ideal for practicing the fine art of Parkour. Charles’ group can often be found moving throughout the park. Yesterday Charles noticed the mural had been covered with a fresh coat of gray paint…
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.
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