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– What makes a successful urban stadium? Walkability, according to The Atlantic. The magazine said Super Bowl visitors were floored by the Indianapolis stadium’s close distance to everything. Some people said they didn’t need their cars all weekend:

It’s a six or seven block walk from Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, the symbolic center of the city. Most of the city’s big hotels and restaurants are also nearby. Not that Indy isn’t also plagued by sprawl and disinvested neighborhoods, by the way, but its relatively compact, walkable downtown is loaded with convenience compared to the locations of most NFL football facilities.

One of Rochester’s stadiums does not have walkability. The other one sort of has it.

Frontier Field is walkable from High Falls, the St. Paul Quarter and downtown hotels. But the area is awash in amenities for visitors. There’s no real critical mass of restaurants and retail within walking distance. The East End is too far.

As for the Sahlen’s Stadium, you drive in and drive out. Aside from a couple bars, there aren’t places to get a bite to eat. The area also suffers from a perception of being unsafe, though there have been precious few incidents related to games.

But all of this can change! I’ve long thought the city needs to make better connections between Frontier and Sahlen’s, whether it’s through walking paths or shops. It’s possible State St. and Main St. could gain more businesses in the coming years, helping the stadiums.

One thing is clear. Building standalone stadiums in the suburbs doesn’t foster economic development, either.

– There was a time when 110 million people rode Rochester buses. The buses were so crowded, people cussed a lot.

– Rochester has the dubious honor of leading the annual snowfall race, otherwise known as the Golden Snowball.

– First the bees died. Then the bats. Now turtles?

3 Responses to Learn From the Super Bowl

  1. I recall walking one Thursday afternoon in the middle of the winter, headed from my job on North Union St to the temp agency I worked for in Corn Hill Commons. As I crossed the mountain of snow build up on the Inner Loop overpass on Main St, a guy in his fifties was trying to take the same route downtown and was forced to walk in the street.

    He looked at me and asked, “Is this the way it is all the time, here?” I was forced to answer that yes, that pretty much was my walk to the temp agency every week.

    Perhaps rather than worrying about casinos or “Italian themed marketplaces” or whatever other crap, the city aught to focus more of its energy on making downtown – or really, any place other than East or Park Avenues – accessible.

  2. February 13, 2012 at 8:39 am PJ Birkman responds:

    Winning the snowfall race this year is sort of like winning the AFC West or getting Donald Trump’s presidential endorsement. Meaningless and unimpressive, but someone has to do it.

  3. February 13, 2012 at 9:09 am Carlos Mercado responds:

    The pedestrian is king in the city and the auto is king in ths suburbs. Cities are all about “walkability” and suburbs are all about “driveability.”

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