Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rochester Stories

The Atlantic Cities has some fun with the past, present, and future of urban planning in Rochester, New York.  Rochester has certainly had some tough times.  The demolition of the Midtown Plaza, discussed and shown in the posting, is no doubt a sad reminder of the drastic shrinkage of downtown retail.  However, I think it looks so bad in Rochester only because it went downhill from what I’m told was a pretty successful and high-quality urban development.  And that was only after the two anchor department store were shuttered, a story played out in most downtowns.
And now, of course, Kodak is on the bubble, although that was not a surprise, and the company’s local workforce has been shrinking for a long time.
The good news is that Rochester is still one of the most successful cities in New York state, with a low unemployment rate and an economy rebuilding around “eds and meds.”
My friends in the city tell me that the next big step under consideration is decommissioning the grade-separated Inner Loop expressway and replacing it with an at-grade urban boulevard.  Looks like a perfect place for that application!
Why not plan some streetcars?!

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