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You may have noticed more roundabouts, curb bump outs, bike lanes and raised crosswalks around the city.

Rochester is trying to calm traffic along many streets. The efforts go way beyond speed bumps.

The streets of the future look like East Ave., St. Paul St. and Mt. Hope Ave. (near downtown). Dewey Ave. has now joined the club. The streets went from four lanes to two lanes. They now have features making it easier for bicyclists and pedestrians. They also have parking lanes in some places.

Drivers, of course, grit their teeth at some of these changes. I spent the morning on Dewey Ave. and heard mixed reviews. Everyone agrees the street is more attractive. But some drivers said at peak times, traffic is at a standstill. Other motorists were confused by the bike lanes.

The changes force us to think about streets differently. They’re not just a way for drivers to get from Point A to Point B in a hurry. They’re also where people live, work, shop, walk, bike and wait for the bus. The mayor explained the rationale this way in a story I did for 13WHAM:

“Dewey Avenue has always been and continues to be a commercial strip, so it provides opportunities for parking. It provides opportunities for people on bicycles. But it also slows down the traffic,” said Mayor Tom Richards. “We don’t want that to be a major thoroughfare. We don’t want expressway going through there.”

These new streets will take some adjustment. But we will have to get used to them. They’re coming to a neighborhood near you.

Links of the Day:

– Rep. Tom Reed backs away from pledge against raising taxes.

– Imagine if Mt. Hope Cemetery got battered by a hurricane. That’s what happened to a historic cemetery in Brooklyn.

– The company owned by the father of Medley Centre owner Scott Congel bought up houses near an Albany area mall and evicted the tenants. The remaining neighbors resent living next to empty houses and say their property values have taken a dive.

– Let’s face it. Mother-in-law jokes are sexist.

– Photo of the iceberg that sank the Titanic is for sale.

10 Responses to Calm Down

  1. November 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm L.William responds:

    sounds like all he more reason to not go into the city. they say they want to beautify downtown but all they want to do is put up more buildings and no green spaces and parks . hard to enjoy a lunch when you have to smell fumes from autos and trash.

  2. These kind of streets are also required to be considered on projects funded by the state or federal government in New York State (http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/08152011CompleteStreetsLegislation)

  3. L. William, Sounds like all the more reason to avoid the suburbs (a vast wasteland of parking lots and un-livable 6-lane roads, where I get fast-food thrown at me for trying to ride my bike).

    I’ll stick to the city.

  4. November 26, 2012 at 10:38 pm RaChaCha responds:

    Don’t forget we started it in the Neighborhood of the Arts with the original ARTWalk project — an adjunct to a University Avenue reconstruction project. The City’s original plan was to do the usual street widening/lane widening to improve traffic flow. When we told the City that, in fact, we wanted the road narrowed, you can imagine their reaction. But we convinced the City that it was more important to improve the neighborhood than traffic flow.

  5. I moved from Greece three years ago. I lived in Greece and Charlotte my whole life prior to moving. Being a baseball fan, I would drive from Greece to Frontier Field. I liked to avoid the expressway, so I would drive through the city. The route would be Ridgeway, up Dewey, across Driving Park, and up Lake to State. This would be in the summertime around 6 PM, before game time. EVERY trip was an adventure. People were waking in the street and crossing whenever they wanted. It was a nightmare. The point being…these bike lanes and single lane streets are great ideas, but they will only work where people have a respect for the law and a respect for other people. I don’t see it working on Dewey. I do see it working on Park Ave. I don’t see it working on Thurston, Jefferson, Goodman, Clinton, Portland, Clifford, Hudson, to name a few. Just my thoughts…

  6. These are awesome moves, and I support the Mayor 100%

    The research is really clear, when you make the roads thinner, people drive more slowly, there are less accidents and people enjoy the street (i.e., bikers, walkers and children aren’t scared). It’s been implemented all over the country for the last 15 years – nice to see little Rochester catching up to the rest of the walkable nation movement.

    Research also shows that younger people, the very ones Rochester has had a hard time retaining as citizens, prefer walkable communities. Mid-sized cities such as Pittsburgh, PA have figured this out – which is why their population is growing for the first time in 30 years. Again, nice to see Rochester finally catching on and making forward progress on these fronts.

  7. November 27, 2012 at 11:45 am theodore kumlander responds:

    Tom Reed will do anything to get reelected. He is a good foot solider in the Republican party. he reoersents himself not his constituitants.

  8. I’m all for calming traffic and making it safe for bikers and pedestrians. Part of the reason for jaywalking on Dewey, there are barely any cross walks. I just don’t like the medians, don’t see the point. Unless its going to be a beautiful boulevard like Oxford St it seems useless and a hinderance to plows and emergency vehicles. They want to make the streets walkable, how bout reworkig our zonig laws so the neighborhood is too.

    L William, its downtown what do you expect? There are several parks downtown already. It’s like going to Wayne county and complainig there are no high rises

  9. You understand Traffic Calming and its importance to urban development in the 21st Century. When we thought the most important thing was speeding through the city, we created the expressways that have done so much damage to its fabric and its economics. We now must realize that Thruway speeds are not appropriate on City streets and 35mph does the job quite well. Excellent article!

  10. December 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm BullsLawDan responds:

    More “traffic calming”?

    You know what “calms” me in traffic? Being able to get where I am going quickly and efficiently, with as few stops as possible. Supposed traffic “calming” measures are usually a recipe for rage in my book.

    Traffic “calming” is just a euphamism for traffic “bottlenecking.”

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