Rochester is trying again to get federal highway funding to fill in the eastern portion of the Inner Loop. The city’s first application needed to show more progress on design work.
The city is seeking $15 million to cover the total project cost of $20 million.
Rochester sees the Inner Loop as an outdated, underutilized noose around the neck of downtown. The Inner Loop costs more money to maintain than fill in. It slices the East End in half. Raising the Inner Loop would make land available for development, creating a boulevard lined with housing and retail instead of the parking lots and the backs of buildings.
The Inner Loop recently landed on the Freeways Without Futures list put together by the Congress for New Urbanism. Buffalo’s Route 5/Skyway and Syracuse’s I-81 are also on the list.
I often wonder what Corn Hill would be like had the city not taken a wrecking ball to a swath of the neighborhood to create Route 490. Urban planners now realize building highways straight through downtowns has consequences.