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Would you want to cross this street? (Google Street View)

Would you want to cross this street? (Google Street View)


The Democrat and Chronicle asks if High Falls could be bolstered if and when Monroe Community College moves into Kodak’s State St. complex:

A real estate boon could follow.

“The idea that you would be able to park your car where you live and walk across the street to take a class and come back, we think it would probably influence the demand for housing,” said Carolyn Vitale, vice president of the Urban League of Rochester Economic Development.


(Warren) Sackler says that the neighborhood’s virtual invisibility from State Street has always been an issue. When he was a partner at the Triphammer, he’d occasionally get Kodak employees who worked a block away, calling him to ask him where the restaurant was.

“Even to this day, people don’t know what’s back there,” said Sackler. “It’s difficult because today, there’s no bar or eatery on the corner (along State Street). If that were still a restaurant, at least people would come over to that corner.”

I agree with Sackler.

There are other issues preventing MCC students and staff from venturing to High Falls. State St. is not pedestrian-friendly or easy to cross. MCC would be surrounded by parking lots, which serve as a physical and psychological barrier. Drive in and drive out.

Perhaps the best evidence MCC won’t do much for High Falls is Frontier Field. The ballpark is a failure in terms of spurring development downtown.


Links of the Day:


– Henrietta residents don’t want RIT students living in their neighborhood, even if they’ll be in a gated apartment complex.

– Rochester’s police chief wrote an editorial about four babies dying last month in unsafe sleep conditions, such as cosleeping. I did a story on these silent deaths back in 2007. Nothing has changed, and little public money is devoted to prevention.

Gabrielle Giffords wrote a powerful editorial about the gun control bill’s failure.

– Rochester still ranks 5th in the country in per capita patents.

The cupcake fad is waning!

A Brookings study looked at job sprawl. Nearly one-third of Rochester jobs are near the central business district:

Job Sprawl chart

10 Responses to Getting Them to Cross Street

  1. One of the failures of our city, and of many American cities, is to realize the power of beauty. We don’t “get it” that trees, flowers, attractive storefronts, warmth, ambience and other positive architectural, community, design and personal aspects bring a good feeling and desirability to an area. We are fond of asphalt and cement, served up starkly. Water is sexy, any developer will tell you that. Somehow, we’ve managed to make much of our water as sexy as the Dome Arena. Paying attention to the overall vibe, to details, taking the time to develop it properly… it’d be a beautiful thing if we could figure out how to do it more often.

  2. April 18, 2013 at 8:53 am DominionROC responds:

    Acccept the fact that there will be very little economic impact of the downtown campus…no matter where it is placed.

    Poor two year college students do not have much disposable income to rent downtown apartments or time/money to stroll across the street to eat and be entertained! Its just NOT going to happen. And the proof of this assertion is the economic impact of the Damon Center in the middle of downtown Rochester for the last 10-15 years. The presence of this Campus chased away businesses…not attract new businesses.

    When the Damon Center first open..there were several businesses…restaurants…shops…a couple national retail stores…bank branches…etc. that was established to take “advantage” of the new campus. And within 5 years just about EVERYONE of these businesses had to close up. Again…poor two year college students do not have the time or money to spur any economic activity….its a fact!

  3. April 18, 2013 at 9:15 am David. Kassnoff. responds:

    I disagree. High Falls failed due to the absence of a marketing strategy that involves eclectic retail and dining. Crossing State Street is not a barrier, physically or metaphorically. Restaurants succeed when there’s attractive retail nearby, and a marketing impetus to get people to come by. See my Facebook post on this topic.

  4. April 18, 2013 at 9:17 am Benny C. responds:

    High Falls is not downtown.

    Downtown is not downtown.

    Aside from the fact that there is an overhead X-way and RR track that isolates High Falls from downtown, there are no disposable income markets on either side of High Falls to support sustainable retail economic activity.

    You can ring the bridge with hanging plants and it will not ameliorate the fact that it is a wind tunnel surrounded by less than spectacular industrial buildings and dark pedestrian right-of-ways.

    It is what it is. Getting weepy about it won’t change that.

  5. April 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm Cary Barnhart responds:

    For over one hundred years Kodak’s State Street complex didn’t spur any development other than it’s own…which like MCC will, keeps all people indoors in a pretty much self-sufficient environment.

  6. I said the same things a few weeks ago. That area of state st acts like a wall and does nothing to invite people in.

  7. April 19, 2013 at 1:52 am John Smith responds:

    The East Side of the Kodak Parking lot should be sold off to a private developer and turned into mixed use development. The parking lot is poorly maintained and probably won’t be until Kodak’s financially healthy years from now.

    Additionally it might also take the east side of the high falls gorge (on st. paul street) to really be cleaned up for high falls to really become a destination.

  8. April 19, 2013 at 6:18 pm Orielly responds:

    A DEM Mayor choose to put Frontier Field where it is, a far smarter move would have been to put it behind Sibleys… if you wanted to use it to bring downtown back.

    The DEMS blew it on REN they played politics on it and the block on main still sits with nothing there but downtown RATs. We will spend twice as much to do the same thing spread out over downtown. Remember the DEMS were concerned about wasting taxable land?

    The DEMs spent 250+M on High Falls, thats now an outright failure.

    THe DEMs wanted MCC DT in Sibleys originally in the early 90s and want it to stay there. Two Failures. MCC never help bring that area back in fact it likely hurt it. Only Wilmot the major DEM backer made money on that.

    Big announcements on Paetec moving downtown and DEMS bought it hook line and tax incentives. The 37 story building is now three floors.

    The DEMS torn down MidTown and—there it sits now over a year rusting away.

    Gee I don’t know … pick up any theme here?

    DEM– City of Rochester planning and development is now on a 20+yr losing streak and their “mistakes” have cost area taxpayers and land owners BILLIONS!

  9. April 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm Bruce Smith responds:

    Haven’t been at State St. In years,but I remember even then it was not easy to cross.Can’t imagine what it’s like today.

  10. May 1, 2013 at 6:27 am Van68 responds:

    It depends on what kind of development we’re looking for at High Falls. Cheap eats (Subway, a bagel shop, an Abbott’s) would flourish in that district with the MCC crowd across the street. And handled right, that would have the potential to turn High Falls into a kind of boardwalk for after-hours nightlife — not necessarily classy, but active. But the development history in that area, to date, has precluded that kind of activity.

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