In 1970 a Lincoln Rochester Trust Co. advertisement in the Daily Record hailed, “Lincoln Tower… a tangible expression of our belief in the growth of Upstate New York… Through 1970 and beyond.”
The Lincoln First Tower, now called Chase Tower was completed in the summer of 1972 at a cost of $20 million. It is 398 feet tall. It contains about 356,000 square feet of office space. It is a big building. Just like the Xerox Tower, Chase Tower has roots in Seattle. John Graham and Company is an architecture firm based in Seattle…
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…
While visiting Seattle a few years ago something occurred to me. Here I was on the other side of the country in a city I had never been to before in my life, and I was navigating their bus system like seasoned Seattleite. There were no fancy digital real-time signs, I had no smart phone, no GPS anything… I didn’t even have a printed schedule. I didn’t need any of those things because I had this…
A recent story in the City Newspaper, “Glamming Rochester’s Gateways” touched on the idea that filling in part of the Inner Loop would help reconnect certain neighborhoods with downtown and improve Rochester’s eastern gateways. Then came the raging comments from readers who blindly defended the inner loop and its many blessings.
About a year ago I had the awesome pleasure of riding Seattle’s new South Lake Union Streetcar—a 1.3 mile line that opened in December 2007. Peep this video from Streetfilms.org. Seattle’s state-of-the-art streetcar line features real time arrival message boards, solar-powered ticket vending machines, and human-activated doors to save energy while the train is in layover mode. And check this out, you can find out the next arrival time and actually watch the streetcars moving via GPS trackers all from the Seattle Streetcar web site.
But what has this hi-tech investment done for the South Lake Union neighborhood? For one thing, a Whole Foods Market moved in—downtown Seattle’s first full service supermarket in decades. Plus, new condos, mixed-use development, and Amazon.com’s brand new world headquarters. That’s impressive.
Oh and while I was there I made sure to ride the monorail ! You know I love you Rochester, but I had some serious reservations about returning fromthat trip.
America seems to have taken a renewed interest in mobility. Maybe due to President Obama’s recent commitment to high speed rail—or perhaps the positive results seen in towns like Portland and Denver have caught our collective attention. Whatever the reason, from the top down, people are rethinking our automobile-oriented culture—and getting excited about the possibilities.
There’s also good reason to focus on transportation as a way of jump-starting economic development. Industry requires access to people. And people need to have easy access to centers of employment. Continually improving access makes further development possible. Interrupting access will have the opposite effect. Likewise, doing nothing or simply maintaining existing infrastructure for an extended period of time will also hinder development.
For 30+ years Rochester has relied on the infrastructure choices it made in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s. At that time we made development choices that encouraged our population to emigrate from the downtown core. We scrapped our extensive streetcar system, choked off downtown with the construction of the inner-loop, and paved super highways to take us from the city to the NY State Thruway and beyond. Since then that’s exactly where our money, our workforce, and our future have gone—down I-490 and out of state.
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.