– A second footbridge over the Genesee River connecting the University of Rochester and the Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood will open in late June.
The “Rails-to-Trails” bridge is a piece of the old Erie Lackawanna railroad that was built in 1890. It will be part of the Genesee Riverway Trail. Converting it to a pedestrian bridge cost about $1.5 million.
The bridge is opening at a time when U of R-related development on the west side of the river is growing. A big riverfront apartment building will complete Brooks Landing. A few restaurants have opened.
While the U of R is supportive of the bridge, the Campus Times quotes a college official who doesn’t appear to think the bridge will lead to more students living on the west side or going downtown. His comments raise questions about will use the bridge:
“There is very little housing in the immediate vicinity of the west side of the bridge,” (Vice-President Richard Pfifer) said. “Crossing the Ford Street bridge to the north or the pedestrian bridge or Elmwood Bridge to the south offers very direct access to the River Campus and in each case those bridges are in closer proximity to housing that may be available. Accordingly, I doubt that the new bridge will have a significant increase on housing decisions.”
For similar reasons, Pifer added that he does not believe that the bridge will change the number of students who go downtown.
“Whether one crosses the new Rails-to-Trails bridge and uses the path on the west side of the river or uses the path on the east side of the river and crosses the Ford Street bridge, the distance to downtown is the same,” he said.
The article also cited safety concerns, saying the city wouldn’t allow a Blue Light security phone. City engineer Tom Hack told me that’s not true. Hack also said the bridge will be an important connector of the river trail of the east and west sides of the river. He believes people will use the bridge.
Perhaps the way to think about this bridge is as part of a recreation trail, rather than a utilitarian crossing.
– Ecopy Rochester. According to RochesterSubway.com, the city bulldozed a community garden located on a vacant lot. It will be replanted this Sunday and the founder is looking for volunteers.
– Are job fairs worth the effort? The Buffalo News reports…maybe not.
– Poor swans. Someone destroyed the eggs of a Central New York swan family.