With the latest wave of federal stimulus , suddenly a storm of ideas and proposals are pouring down on downtown. In one corner, Governor David Paterson and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter are reigniting a movement in support of a new high-speed rail line from Niagara Falls to New York City. Slaughter wants to see Renaissance Square funds reallocated toward building a new train/bus station built where the old Amtrak station is now on Central Avenue . In the opposite corner, County Exec Maggie Brooks and Senator Charles Schumer are pushing ahead with demolition plans in preparation for Ren Square. Poor Mayor Duffy doesn’t know whether to take sides or run for cover.*
But with $8 billion in stimulus money on the table for high speed rail, I’m with Slaughter. Building an intermodal train and bus station at Central Avenue makes way more sense than building a new bus lot at Main and Clinton (part of the Ren Square plan). I know Maggie Brooks has her reasons for defending Ren Square, but hanging a “coming soon” sign isn’t going to hide the glaring defects of this plan.
Here’s why Renaissance Square should be stopped
dead in its tracks (pun intended):
- A new intermodal facility at the perimeter of downtown would allow travelers one-stop access to Amtrak, RTS buses, Trailways/Greyhound buses, AND leaves open the possibility of one day connecting these services to the Rochester Airport via light rail.
- Amtrak, RTS, Trailways, Greyhound, taxi services, and other retail entities would benefit from being in such close proximity to each other.
- The proposed Ren Square bus lot in my opinion is unattractive and still leaves idling buses too close to Main Street. The heart of downtown is no place for a giant parking lot for buses.
- After 10-15 years of effort, the Ren Square money is still not there. Maybe the lack of funds is reflective of a lack of public support?
- The Renaissance Square location (Main and Clinton) has far too much potential than to be subsidized by government. Private interest has already expressed interest in developing this parcel.
- Fear of losing federal money is not a good reason to rush ahead with a half-baked plan. We have options now. We need to stop and think.
- I could go on but I feel like I’m beating a horse.
*UPDATE: Mayor Duffy recently spoke out and says we should reassess the County’s Ren Square plan.
Tags: Amtrak, bus, Central Avenue, Clinton Avenue, County Executive Maggie Brooks, downtown Rochester, federal stimulus money, Governor Paterson, Greyhound, high speed rail, intermodal, Main Street, Mayor Patrick Duffy, New York, NY, Renaissance Square, Rep. Louise Slaughter, RTS, Sen. Charles Schumer, taxi, Trailways
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 at 11:17 pm and is filed under Opinion, Rochester News, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.