Every forum and debate has touched on transportation. Overwhelmingly, people are asking candidates, “how are you going to do it?”
I think people deserve to see an actual proposal highlighting some real improvements that can be considered.
To add context, Rochester’s transit plan currently involves a number of “nodes” in key areas for bus routes to be centered around. This concept will definitely be beneficial in increasing efficiency. What it doesn’t address, is the increased congestion we are already seeing throughout critical areas. This plan is meant to address much of that increased congestion being seen, not only downtown, but also on Civic Center Dr, 12th Street SW/SE, and 2nd St SW., and 6th St SW.
The map focuses on a route that attempts to bypass traffic patterns. On Civic Center Drive, there is quite a bit of frontage road already existing between Hwy 52 and 3rd Avenue SW that would be incorporated/improved. The route would then turn to 3rd Avenue NW. Third Avenue is currently a northbound one-way street from Civic Center Dr to 6th St SW, with two lanes of traffic (three for a couple blocks), and parking on both sides. A few blocks of that parking is now used for commuter buses. The route would steal about 40 parking spots and the bus parking, but could feasibly add a ramp and proper bus depot on 6th St SW at a current parking lot/gas station (coincidentally, the gas station is our current “bus depot” for Jefferson Lines). The route would turn around there to go back to the highway.
The route from the south would start at Apache Mall. An untapped resource: accessible from multiple exits and highways and could be a mutually beneficial public/private partnership. It would travel along Memorial Parkway and skirt the edge of Soldiers Field until reaching George Gibbs Dr (currently restricted, and not a through-street anyway). Once past Soldiers Field, it continues on 3rd Avenue until turning around at the Charleton Building roundabout.
An added bonus with this concept is that, because of the overlap, a single round-trip from each station results in four passes through downtown. The bus depot could be incorporated with the current design of 2nd Avenue (which is slated to be a pedestrian greenway), and the plan as a whole would highlight a great local resource that could be tapped into for more year-round use: Soldiers Field. It should also be noted that the construction of these routes could be done in phases that have little impact on current traffic, and the concept could be implemented with buses at first.
Ultimately, though, the idea would be to transition to streetcars. Streetcars are small light-rail cars connected to the electrical grid (think: renewable energy goals). They roll on tracks within the road surface, so there can always be cars or buses on those same roads.
The options for expansion of the network would be vast, but as noted on the map, I think a practical second phase would be creating a loop from Center Street to RCTC and back along 12th St (Hwy 14).
Overall, the concept is meant to:
-Catch more commuters and offer more options at the highway to reduce downtown traffic
-Significantly improve current congested areas
-Bring more people where they are already going
I look forward to discussing more details as we progress. Thank-you for taking an interest