Preface: I am a total geek and I have stopped caring who knows it. With that out of the way, one of my favorite things in the world to do is study old maps. And my favorite part of old maps are the titles! I told you, total… geek.
I’ve always been amazed at how much attention used to go into the details of these hand-drawn works of art. These days all we do is send a satellite up into space, or someone out to drive around and snap pictures of our streets – and don’t get me wrong, that’s pretty neat for other reasons. But Google streetview ain’t got nuthin on this. Go ahead, geek out…
If you’ve been following along, you know how we’ve been trying to apply a little design for the betterment of our transit system. First we took a shot at designing a better bus stop sign for Rochester. RGRTA is currently studying that concept in anticipation of one day replacing their existing signs. Next we designed a better bus pass for which RGRTA gave a nod of approval. The new passes will be rolled out very soon!
But wait, there’s more! RGRTA has now asked for help redesigning one of the most important transit tools of all; their big, bad, bus schedules…
WHOA! Not so fast.
It appears RocSubway jumped the gun and accidentally published some information that wasn’t ready for primetime. New bus schedule designs are being worked on, but it will be some time before they are finalized and ready to be shared. If you caught the sneak peek, congrats. And thanks for providing your feedback!
Can you believe it’s been two years since I tried to redesign Rochester’s bus stop signs? Everyone seemed to agree that a makeover was in order – even the folks at RTS who were nice enough to meet with me. But a year later there had been no serious progress on that front. At which point I turned my attention to something else I thought I could improve on; the fare cards. This time I was able to make some real progress…
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…
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…
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.