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– We haven’t heard much about the planned downtown transit center in a while. Don’t think that’s because it’s on the back burner. The Rochester Regional Transportation Authority plans to break ground this spring on the $47 million enclosed bus facility on Mortimer and St. Paul streets.

Mark IV, owner of the high-end apartment building next door, has so far been unsuccessful in its legal attempts to halt the “bus barn.”

Tuesday night, there will be a public meeting to discuss the interior design. Aside from bus bays and bathrooms, what else will there be? There could be room for a police office, light retail and a coffee stand. Perhaps there will be amenities such as outlets for mobile devices.

The transit system carries 50,000 riders a day. Main Street functions as a de facto bus station. There are no bathrooms and riders are exposed to the elements.

Many people are worried the rowdy Liberty Pole youth will make their way to the bus station. The Liberty Pole is an outdoor area with no security. The bus station will be very different. But any discussion of the interior might want to include the atmosphere and enforcement of rules.

The bus station is expected to open in 2014.

– There’s a reason you don’t see our star governor on the Sunday morning talk shows. He has a tightly-controlled media strategy to keep him from committing gaffes and to keep him fresh for the 2016 presidential election.

I imagine every reporter in the state has been frustrated with Andrew Cuomo’s limited media access. He doesn’t come to Rochester often and when he does, television and radio reporters don’t get to ask a ton of questions.

Politico reports:

Cuomo’s media operation is so aggressive and controlling that numerous media sources and political operatives declined to speak on the record about it, suggesting that it would get them in trouble with the governor’s office.

“If anybody even hints at saying something negative about the governor, they will get screamed at as soon as that thing hits the Web, within five minutes,” the former staffer said. “There’s a lot of intimidation.”

That said, few think Cuomo’s strategy is a bad idea.

– It seems Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse traded a decent number of residents between 2004 and 2010, as a migration map from the Urban Land Institute shows.

– Kodak wants to cut retiree health insurance for those over 65. This fact sheet from MVP compares Medicare plans and Kodak’s plan.

8 Responses to Transit Center Time

  1. His father would barely leave Albany. Strategy can only last so long and it could backfire on him. He shouts at people and bullies but doesn’t appear to hear and listen. Not so good.

  2. February 27, 2012 at 11:49 pm Carlos Mercado responds:

    The most quoted rationale for the Transit Center is to “get the buses off Main St.” as if that were a good idea. The problem is the buses will still be on Main St. except for the one block between Clinton & St. Paul. And people who now get their bus in front of the Convention Center, Chase Tower, or Sibley’s will now have to walk an extra one to tow blocks to look for their buse in a big barn-like structure. Even a longer walk for those who now get a northbound bus at Clinton & Main, and a slightly longer walk for southbound bus riders on St. Paul. It may be the worse $50 million ever spent on a transit project anywhere.

  3. In my estimation, the bus station will prove to be a waste of money. With better planning, perhaps it would have been possible to link bus, train and airline service via a convenient multi-service hub, as can be found in most major U.S. cities and abroad.

  4. Ray,

    It will only be a waste of money if you look at it from the perspective of taxpayers, downtown development, or transit customers. You have to look at it from the perspective of RGRTA and the county. They get big contracts to hand out to Maggie’s supporters, a big building in the center of downtown to control, and the bigots can no longer blame them for Main Street’s problems. If they built a multimodal hub like Syracuse they would have to compromise and give up some power and influence. And that’s a price they’re not willing to pay for things like being able to afford adequate maintenance and a bigger customer base that can actually support the retail/food service component.

  5. Isn’t this going to kill Main Street even more? Once the buses are gone, you are going to see almost zero foot traffic.

  6. The thinking is the wall of buses on Main Street blocks first-floor retail.

  7. What nonsense. First floor retail succeeded for decades with the busses going through. And it succeeds on streets around the world that are much more densely trafficed, with the lanes closest to the sidewalk packed with buses, commercial vehicles, etc. On the other hand, I am not aware of a successful urban retail district anywhere without foot traffic.

    If they are planning on putting in street parking in the current bus lanes I can see that maybe having a positive effect on downtown business, although all those buses sharing the same lane as cars would create congestion. If they aren’t the suburbanites will be scared that the area is empty and desolate instead of offended by the sight of poor and minority people waiting for the bus and nothing will change except we’ll have another overpriced failed project in our urban core.

  8. March 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm Ben C. responds:

    I miss the Wig Shop at Clinton and E. Main.

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