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The city has posted the results of its online survey about downtown Rochester. The survey will be used to update the Center City Master Plan. Almost all of the respondents to the unscientific poll were white.

The results were not surprising. People want a reason to come downtown. They want retail, restaurants and entertainment. Let’s take them one by one:

Retail: There’s clearly limited retail downtown. I forgot to buy a lime at Wegmans and had to go all the way back to East Ave. Wegmans from Corn Hill because I couldn’t think of a closer place that was guaranteed to have a lime. Retail follows rooftops, and as the downtown population grows, we will see more stores crop up.

Restaurants: This was in curious to me. I don’t need to travel far to find great restaurants downtown. Corn Hill Landing and the East End are filled with great places to eat. Just outside of downtown, there’s Village Gate, University Ave. and Monroe Avenue. Don’t forget Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Tapas! If you want national chain restaurants, stay in the ‘burbs.

Entertainment: We have a lot of entertainment downtown. Party in the Park, noontime concert series, Eastman Theater, Blue Cross Arena, Hochstein, Red Wings, Knighthawks, Razorsharks and Amerks. If the city was serious about increasing entertainment options, it would look closely at putting a performing arts center at Midtown. (RBTL has its sights on Medley Centre, which would be a huge loss for the city.)

New banners are up on Main Street.

The second biggest reason people don’t come downtown is they feel unsafe. That’s a hugely disappointing, but not unexpected response. Downtown is one of the safest places in the city. Unfortunately, the nonsense at the Liberty Pole and Monroe Community College’s whining hurt. The police department is right to bring back the downtown substation, which is going in the Sibley Building. I suspect as more people and businesses move into downtown, it will feel safer. Right now, it can feel very lonely and empty on a weeknight or Sunday afternoon.

The third biggest reason people don’t come downtown is it isn’t aesthetically pleasing. The city does a great job keeping downtown clean. The only part of downtown that’s ugly is Main and Clinton. Huge parts of Main Street are under construction or vacant. That contributes to people feeling unsafe and it’s not a pleasant walk.

The fourth biggest reason people don’t come downtown is lack of close parking. That’s nonsense. If you have to walk a block or two, it’s no different than parking in a mall lot to get to a store. Seriously, think about how much walking you do at Eastview Mall. Downtown Rochester doesn’t have a parking problem. It has a walking problem.

Survey respondents said the city’s biggest downtown priority should be Midtown. I agree. The tower project will be tremendous for the site and all of downtown. But I’ve been extremely disappointed in the city’s deliberately slow approach to recruiting other developers to fill up the remaining parcels. The mayor has said it will take 10 years. That’s unacceptable.


Links of the Day: 


– Onondaga County spent $4,000 apiece on “smart trash cans.”

– Rep. Tom Reed could find himself in a fight for his seat in 2014.

– The state Department of Education should let this Western New York boy with disabilities stay on his school track team.

– The state ordered a food truck called “Wandering Dago” out of the Saratoga Race Course.

– David Carr writes brilliantly on the outrage over the Rolling Stone cover. “The misery of some should not determine the value to the whole.”

– Are you a fan of HBO’s “The Newsroom?” Even if you are not, you might enjoy this takedown of the show – and the TV news industry.

– Here’s why we should be concerned about the rise of the warrior cop and the militarization of our police departments.

People wait hours to buy cronuts.

34 Responses to Downtown Survey Revealed

  1. July 21, 2013 at 9:05 pm Patrick C. responds:

    ‘Sharks are leaving. And they’re a smaller draw than the soccer teams (Rhinos, Flash and Lancers) that you neglected to mention.

  2. July 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm Patrick C. responds:

    South Wedge has lots of dining as well, and it’s as “downtown” as Village Gate.

  3. I think the biggest thing leading to the perceived lack of entertainment options/shopping/dining options is the lack of connectedness between neighborhoods of downtown, especially when you consider the perceived lack of safety by many. The East End by Eastman especially is great, but the walk even to east and alexander can feel very sketchy (thanks inner loop), and to walk there to the blue cross arena would be equally disconcerting, let alone getting to village gate or high falls or anywhere else really without a car. I don’t know how you’d fix that (other than filling in the Inner Loop, which seems at the very least to be a long way off), but I think figuring out a way to connect all these great pockets the city has would be a huge first step in pulling people in from the suburbs.

  4. July 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm RaChaCha responds:

    First of all, this must be like the 15th DT survey, study, or plan that I personally remember. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — as long as something comes of it.

    But what really got me thinking was the perception of safety vs the reality. And something occurred to me that I’m surprised hadn’t before. I don’t recall many experiences of either being or feeling in physical danger in DT Rochester, but then I have a lot of urban experience and have developed good “urban armor” that helps me ignore or fend off a lot of the annoyances that come with being in a DT. In Rochester I was shot once, mugged at knifepoint once, fended off another mugging, and chased down a guy who had robbed the Parkleigh — amid other “adventures.” But none of that happened DT. So, yeah, DT has never felt unsafe to me — even when heading home from an evening meeting after dark.

    So why the impression–? What occurred to me is that a lot of that may have to do with the panhandling and other “street drama” that folks like me have learned to fend off or have blinders to if it doesn’t directly involve us. But a lot of people aren’t, in fact, used to that, or experienced fending it off. People who want to come DT and go about their business unhassled find they can’t do that. Others want to walk down the street with their friends and family without being bothered. Frankly, DT Rochester may be the only place in the region where people are regularly accosted, approached, aggressively panhandled, and confronted with street drama. Not that those things never happen in the suburbs, or never happen in city neighborhoods — they do. And not that these things don’t happen in DTs of other cities — they do. Some things are especially prevalent and pervasive DT, for a variety of reasons. And I suspect that plays a large role in the perception that is out of synch with the reality.

    Perhaps everything I just said there is so obvious on the face of it as to be laughable, but I’m saying it because I never really thought of it in just that way before reading this. So there you go.

  5. July 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm Sarah J responds:

    Mis En Place in the South Wedge has limes. Lots of other good stuff too.

  6. I guess the bottom line is that the city needs to do better PR. Like you said, most of the stuff on this list is either nonsense or comes from ignorance. The only things I agree with are the lack of retail and restaurants. While there are certainly many restaurants near downtown, most of the ones actually located downtown – outside the East End and St. Paul Quarter – are only open for breakfast and lunch.

  7. July 22, 2013 at 12:43 am lellingw responds:

    The biggest thing keeping people from Downtown are jobs downtown. Downtown thrived when people worked Downtown and walked during the lunch hours and just after work. There was a reason to park in garages because you were going to be down there more than a couple of hours. Evening might have taken up by Eastman concerts or entertainment such as plays but I’m sure most people were there during the day. As for retail, there is plenty of retail in the suburbs, including the dead mall in Irondequoit. Downtown won’t attract people with retail without working offices nearby. We suburbanites travel the same distance give or take a few feet as you do to East Ave Wegmans. This is not a big deal to most of us but most would forget the lime if we forgot it the first time and deal. The suburbs don’t always have chains but yes we have those too. When I eat in the city it is usually on Park Ave. Everyone loves to eat at Jines and I can’t keep away too long. The restaurants except Dinosaur Barbecue are more for people who are doing business and the parking doesn’t exist. For nighttime in the city, my preference is The Little Theatre and the Dryden, we don’t have anything like that in the suburbs. Monroe Community College didn’t invent the unsafe situation Downtown. That is partly a result of the poverty of people who live in the city and an illegal deal with RTS and RCSD to use RTS buses to transport high school students who began to congregate downtown after school. Texting and the attraction of starting fights made downtown an unsafe place. MCC needs a place that allows the Downtown campus to have access to many benefits the Brighton campus has, like athletic equipment, study rooms, etc. They pay the same tuition that Brighton campus students have and get little for it. The reason Downtown isn’t pleasing is because of empty buildings which has been there for years and that there are few people there enjoying themselves and looking happy. The area needs jobs and people who work there more than thousand dollar lofts. Parking is a problem and not a problem in the suburbs. I experienced how the city treats people who are ignorant of using their parking meters and 42 Court Street is basically a way to scam people out of money by parking tickets and red light tickets. They unfortunately trap more poor people who lose money they can’t afford to lose and often their cars but people who can avoid the city will do so. It’s a very unpleasant experience. The survey in my opinion is accurate to what people would say in a poll but the truth is that lack of jobs and employment is the reason the city is having so much trouble. It is occurring all over the country and is hitting the suburbs and rural areas too. Rural poverty is scary because it is hidden. If you don’t like what suburbanites say, we don’t have to visit the city at all. Well there are some things that can’t keep me away.

  8. July 22, 2013 at 8:30 am Lee Drake responds:

    For downtown to be successful you need mixed use. You need smart relatively well off people living in the city core. You need businesses, you need retail, you need service organizations. You need free parking after hours, and cheap parking during the day. Look to Village Gate for an example of successful urban renewal, then replicate that across the city core.

  9. July 22, 2013 at 8:37 am Lee Drake responds:

    And if you think downtown is so safe, then you are sadly mistaken. Most of the retailers I know who moved out of the city moved not because they PERCEIVED it wasn’t safe but because it WASNT’T safe, and their customers also didn’t think it was safe, in addition to the lack of evening hours (if no one lives downtown there’s no reason to keep the store open after 5), and the lack of clientele (empty buildings = that many less shoppers).

    Having a full sized Wegmans with free parking downtown would go a long ways towards revitalizing the core. But if Wegmans ever did try that you would scream bloody murder if they gave them tax breaks to do so.

  10. July 22, 2013 at 8:43 am Jeff C. responds:

    Thank you for sharing this list, the data is not too surprising.

    Your quick comments on parking need to be corrected. Parking in the city and at a mall are extremely different experiences.

    My wife and I live in the suburbs but we go into the city way more often than we go to a mall. At a mall you generally can look for a parking space by driving around slowly in an open area until you find one. City parking is a chaotic quest unless you successfully find your way in (and out)of a public parking garage.

    Parking on a city street involves not only looking for a space but having to be aware of Rochester’s wealth of one way streets, no left turns, and alternate side parking based on day/time. City folk are used to it, but any suburbanites who rarely venture into the city are easily confused or intimated by the process. Throw in the random hit and miss geography of the “safe” city neighborhoods and it is a mix that will keep many people away.

    • July 22, 2013 at 7:09 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

      You perfectly describe the difference between an urban and suburban experience.

      For those of us who value the urban experience and energy over suburban blandness, parking a garage or on the street is not a hassle at all. Driving all the way to the mall…is.

  11. I don’t understand this issue of GETTING people to go downtown. People will go where they have a reason to go there. It is NOT rocket science. I go downtown to attend Amerk games or Red Wing games. That is about it. If I shop, it is at a mall close to my home in Perinton. When I eat out, there are many places near where I live. I don’t want to go downtown. The reason, yes I will say it, is because of the culture that roams the streets. The pan handlers, the mouthy young punks that enjoy scaring the “outsiders”, this is why I don’t come downtown. For the people that regularly go or live downtown, they are used to it and have learned to deal with it. For me, who rarely goes downtown, it is not comfortable. I would like to point out that I grew up in the city and graduated from a city high school. It USED to be a decent place. Take off your rosé colored glasses and actually look at what it has become. I don’t even think Rachael would walk down St Paul past the clubs on a Friday or Saturday night. Just my thoughts.

  12. The parking issue isn’t necessarily that there is no close parking. It is that there is no close FREE parking.

    People from the burbs don’t know where to park downtown or even how to use the new parking meters.

    To shop at Midtown, you could use the Midtown garage (easy to use and the name helped you find it). Ask someone where the Sister Cities garage is and see who knows. (a need for better marketing)

    I know during the day, at least one ramp garage is “full” by 9:00 unless you have a monthly pass.

    At night, street parking opens up a bit, but people who have a fear of downtown are not crazy about walking alone through a ramp garage. Visible security would help.

    A few places offer valet parking at night, but not during the day for lunch patrons. Maybe that could help someone on a short time schedule go downtown and not worry about spending 15 minutes finding a parking space and walking to and from the car.

    I think downtown is great, but it has to sell itself better to folks in the burbs. Once they come down for something, they lose some of the apprehension. We just have to make it easy and painless for them to start.

  13. July 22, 2013 at 10:41 am John Kennedy responds:

    An interesting thing to note: 85% of respondents to this survey were white in a city that is only 43% white. Downtown only feels empty during the day if you are exclusively looking for white people.

    Also, why on earth should we have to sell ourselves better to the suburbs? The only way for Rochester to succeed is by making it attractive to people who want to live in cities. Parking lots help no one.

  14. Also, why on earth should we have to sell ourselves better to the suburbs? The only way for Rochester to succeed is by making it attractive to people who want to live in cities. Parking lots help no one.


    Trying to be more car-friendly and attractive to people from the suburbs is what damaged Rochester in the first place. That’s the reason we made the colossal mistake of building that Inner Loop that destroyed neighborhoods and historical landmarks and is now nothing but a noose around downtown’s neck.

    Urban revival is about mixed-use development and bringing full-time residents back. The data out there is clear: Millennials are driving less than any other recent generation and are saying that they want walkable neighborhoods. Older people are living longer and healthier and finding they have lots of free time and no longer care about big yards, big houses, school districts, and having to shuttle large numbers of children around. More people are putting off childbearing or remaining child-free altogether. The reality is, the traditional suburban subdivision is becoming less attractive to large numbers of people.

    I fail to see why I should have to make the place I live more attractive to people who have chosen not to live here. I moved to the city for a reason. If I wanted the suburban lifestyle, I would move to the suburbs.

    • First of all, the Inner Loop was for transit, not parking. I think the area needs to be more parking friendly.

      Walkable neighborhoods are GREAT, however, downtown will need more than the residents of Corn Hill and the East End to survive. You won’t find a grocery store that will consistently have a `good lime’ or other desirable perishable foods at competitive prices if they depend on only foot and bicycle traffic to deliver their customers.

      Take a poll of the businesses in the City that you frequent.

      Ask them if they want to sell to people only from the City or if they want do sell to people from the `outside’ as well.

      Attracting people from the outside is what will make City businesses succeed and that success will lure more to open.

      Rochester is home to one of the greatest Jazz Fests in the country. The reason it is ranked so highly is not because of the neighborhood, but because of the quality of the performances and the strong attendance that allows that to happen.

      If you like Downtown as it is, then keep it that way. If you want it to prosper, foster the notion that `outsiders’ will help it happen. Downtown is a neighborhood, but it cannot survive if it is only used by those who live there.

      (Has anyone heard how Detroit is doing today? I think they may welcome some outside visitors.)

  15. “Almost all of the respondents to the unscientific poll were white.” Communist ideal of ‘fix blame on one race to encourage division’. Is it ‘whites’ fault other groups failed to respond?
    “If you want national chain restaurants, stay in the ‘burbs.” The City should be clamoring for chains! The average Applebees makes more than any ‘local’ restaurant does. More Commie dribble meant to divide under the hipster guise of ‘chains are evil, unless it’s a chain I like’.
    “Party in the Park, noontime concert series, Eastman Theater, Blue Cross Arena, Hochstein, Red Wings, Knighthawks, Razorsharks and Amerks.” So pro sports and music…. is that all that counts as ‘entertainment?’ Or is it another way to pigeonhole and define for others what is/isn’t entertainment for ‘everyone’? No Comrade, THAT doesn’t count. Hmmmmmm.
    “If the city was serious about increasing entertainment options, it would look closely at putting a performing arts center at Midtown.” Of course, allow The Party to take other’s money and use it to develop, because ‘natural’ development just ‘can’t’ occur without gov’t. Straight outta the Commie playbook of gov’t and on;y gov’t knows best.
    ” the nonsense at the Liberty Pole and Monroe Community College’s whining hurt.” Contrary to what The Party Chairmen want America to believe, perception IS reality. To call what happens at the Liberty Pole ‘nonsense’ instead of violent criminality is more Communist inspired deflection, meant to convince us that gov’t is the solution instead of personal responsibility.
    “downtown is it isn’t aesthetically pleasing.” Again, perception is reality. Why don’t some of the do-gooder’s donate all of their cash to ‘beautify’ downtown? Why put it on taxpayers? Because gov’t is the ONLY solution to our problems, now go join the Collective.
    ” lack of close parking. That’s nonsense. If you have to walk a block or two, it’s no different than parking in a mall lot to get to a store.” I doubt people walk in fear (again, perception is reality) at mall parking lots, but thanks for telling everyone how to think. Is there a poster of that propagandistic view I can hang, illegally, on someone else’s property to reinforce that point? Preferably a poster using lots of RED?

    Step back, re-read and think about it. The Communist’s have won. Their ideas and ideals are mainstream. This piece is another example of that. There are 210,000 residents in the City. If they, and only they, aren’t willing to work to transform their downtown than why should anyone else be forced to pay for it or get involved? Oh, ‘we are all in this together’, right? Read The Naked Communist, read the 45 Goals for a Communist America, then re-read this again. Then cry for our nation and pray that we will banish these hacks from public office and return to America, not Amerika.

  16. I am not responding to an insane rant full of outdated Cold War nonsense about “commies.”

    @Tom – What I’m complaining about is making Rochester more car-friendly for suburbanites at the expense of people who actually live in the city. Admittedly, I didn’t make that clear. When we talk about parking, we’re talking about car-friendliness, and that’s exactly what led to disasters like the Inner Loop. You try getting to the train station or post office downtown by foot or bicycle. It’s incredibly difficult due to how much the Inner Loop slices and dices the place. That should not be happening in a downtown area. To get to the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood just taking West Main you have to go through a terrifying intersection.

    Interesting you bring up Detroit. The Detroit Metropolitan Area gets over 15.9 million visitors annually. Detroit itself saw a 10% increase in hotel occupancy in 2011. The City of Detroit has also seen a 59% increase in the number of young, college-educated residents. Again, people visiting will not revive a struggling city. You need people to actually LIVE there.

    • You can call it outdated nonsense and I will say that is because you either agree with it or are willingly ignorant.
      From the stated goals of the COmmunist Party, as read into the Congressional Record in 1963, here are a few:
      16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
      17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
      20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policy-making positions.
      21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
      24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
      25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
      29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
      30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”
      32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture–education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
      38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].
      40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
      41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
      42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use [“]united force[“] to solve economic, political or social problems.

      Keep ignoring reality. Keep falling for the lies. Keep believing that there is nothing wrong. Go ahead, break out the playbook and attack me personally as is the norm. Belittle what I say. Mock my views. Disengage from the conversation. ‘They’ have you so wrapped up in their web that you think ‘they’ are non-existant and ‘they’ are so warped in their own views that they fail to recognize what ‘they’ have become. Progressive=Communist. The facts of history speak for themselves and Communism is the greatest mass murder system the Earth has ever seen, slaughtering millions upon millions under the guise of ‘conformity’ and ‘working for the greater good’. Communism in all of it’s forms is evil and it is kicking ass in Amerikka right now.

    • @ ELF – interesting stories about Detroit. I like the way they are trying to lure the young (25-25) back. Thanks for putting up the links.

      I look and see how the South Wedge has grown and Corn Hill as well. They were areas that were down on their luck earlier, but they came back.

      I can think of a few differences. First of all, they have an active neighborhood association. Secondly, they have families and parents CARE about how and where their children grow up. Thirdly, there is a lot of housing and it is mainly houses – some single fam and some multi., but with a resident owner.

      Downtown, as far as I know, doesn’t have a neighborhood ass’n. Most of the housing is in condos and lofts which require a LOT of money to rehab and that usually means a corporate developer as opposed to a resident owner. Third, very few families live downtown; it is mostly singles and young couples.

      Could the structure of the area (large commercial buildings) be a hindrance? Could the fact that there are still office towers there limit the space for a true neighborhood?

      I guess the question is, “Can Downtown be both a business area and a neighborhood?”

      (talk amongst yourselves)

  17. July 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm Orielly responds:

    Yes a lot of this is actually pretty funny.

    “perception is reality.” Exactly.. And Reality is Reality as well. A few posters hit it on the head.

    Downtown is safe? Really? Compared to what? Compared to other parts of the city? Great comparison. I have been pan handled all over downtown never ever in the burbs. But I don’t have a thick enough skin? Maybe I just don’t want to have to deal with it. Don’t want people I care about having to confront it on a dark night alone either.

    The Parking issue as has been posted, is FREE parking and hassle free parking, easy to find parking. Park in the east end garage takes far longer in time and walking to get to the heart of the east end than parking and walking into any part of Eastview even during Holiday season. And of course they charge for parking now at all times.

    Live downtown? Its never going to happen in droves. Seniors living downtown vs in the village of Pittsford or Spencerport. City loses every time for most. Where would you walk your dog? DINKs live DT sure, get married and want a family.. going to send them to city schools? NO, who would do that? Your moving..

    Are there spots for some who want to live DT sure. Droves of Seniors or middle class families going to live there? ..never.

    Things are as they appear they are.

  18. July 22, 2013 at 7:25 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    It’s not just Main and Clinton that needs to be fixed up. It’s also Major Charles Carroll Plaza and Cornerstone Park as well.

    Also, the Lancers, unfortunately, are also likely relocating to Henrietta as well and the new arena football team, the ROC City Thunder, will likely stay there as well.

  19. July 22, 2013 at 7:54 pm Kevin Smith responds:

    Here’s some thoughts.

    1.) Bringing Start Up Activity Downtown – Rochester is generating entrepreneurs at RIT and it’s local colleges, however if you talk to these people they want to go west to silicon valley because that’s where all the excitement is. Instead of building another empty office building in the city, the city of Rochester could partner up with the local entrepreneur community and retrofit one of the area’s vacant office towers into a large scale state of the art community innovation center. Like the one in Cambridge (http://www.cic.us). Creating a world class entrepreneurship center where people from across the community can all work under one roof will boost excitement and accelerate entrepreneurial activity, which will result in high paying jobs and new home grown companies.

    Smoke stack chasing is costly and usually attracts large corporations that end up downsizing because they are at the end of their life cycle (http://www.rightstartconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/Company-Lifecycle.png) .

    2.) Mass Transit to College Campuses – Mass Transit is a touchy subject, however building some kind of 24/7 constantly running light rail, fast bus, subway system from RIT > Airport > U of R > Times Square > Kodak/MCC could actually make economic sense. We have plenty of buildings downtown that could be retrofitted into college apartments to fill the needs of a growing college population downtown. It’s become extremely difficult and costly to park at RIT and the U of R. And finally by connecting our area’s colleges to Downtown Rochester through transportation we are making cutting edge co-op/internship talent more accessible to a business community of more than 50,000 that work within the inner loop, which would help our local businesses grow.

    3.) Empowering Distressed Urban Communities – Crime is a large problem in this community, but putting more police on the street will not solve the overall problem. Providing opportunities and access to capital to turn a hustler into a small retail business owner (RIT’s urban entrepreneurship center) or providing a city student with more after school extra curricular opportunities could make a big impact in getting these students off the streets and out of trouble. Thus bringing down the crime rate.

    4.) Have a Vision – We need community leaders that have a vision or at least speak like they have a vision to make their city not just a place with a vibrant downtown, but an economic leader in the world.

    We all know Rochester was prosperous years ago, and we could talk about building cool theaters, getting a new sports teams, and retail all we want. But if you want to have nice things you need to have a population and economy that’s growing more than than 1% per year to regain that past glory. Then we can have the discussion on how to build the cool stuff.

  20. July 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm Dwight E Wascom responds:

    Rochester needs a town square: a place people can gather, vendors can set up little booths, events can happen. The Taste of Rochester years ago on the street was soooo cramped people left in a hurry. So where do the events happen, Highland Park, Park Ave., Corn Hill, Charlotte Beach all outside DT. exception maybe the Jazz Festival. And the city has regulated the East End ƒestival almost out of existence. Manhattan Sq. was suppose to offer a place, but its dead mostly. So the Main Streets are at the Malls now for the “burgs.” Bring back the old idea of a town square.

  21. Yeah, just a guy says “‘You call this outdated nonsense'”… then proceeds to provide examples from a Congressional Record report from 50 years ago! Brilliant. Not like that’s outdated AT ALL. Do you know we actually ‘won’ the Cold War, right? That the Soviet Union dissolved 22 years ago? Brilliant.

  22. We won the Cold War………..
    We DID? Did anyone tell the rest of the World? China? (still Commie) Russia? (reverting back to Commie ways daily). Vietnam? (Commie) N. Korea. (Commie) Most of Central and South America is run by Commies. Hell, Germany, which is far closer to Communism than American an style Constitutional Republic runs Europe…. just like Hitler planned. But it did it under the guise of ‘unity’ via a common currancy and open borders…… until things hit the skids and it was up to????? Germany! to save Europe. Do as ‘we’ say Greece, Ireland, Spain, etc. or we will……? What?

    You can call them Socialists, Marxists, ultra-left…. whatever you want but it is all Communism as the end result of total Socialism is Communism. Do you even know what Communism is?

    Do you know what a ‘proxy war’ is? Pay attention to Syria, where Russia has made no bones about it that it is a US vs Russia war being fought at the higher levels, just like so many wars when I was in the Marines from 88-94. Won the Cold War my ass.

    Go read up on Alinsky, Marx, Lenin, etc. Examine the people who pushed their agendas in the 30’s-70’s and look into their backgrounds where you will see, just like with our current President, loads of extremely close associations with known and influential Communists. Go learn something instead of buying the bullshit fed to you daily by the media, who were educated by these openly commie scum journalism professors.

    Progressivism is the ‘cool’ name for Communism. Social Justice the tag for ‘we will take from you to give to them to make everyone equal’. Equal at the lowest common denominator of course. ‘Fundamentally Transforming America’ as Comrade Obama says daily is as Commie as it gets, as it means ‘we the gov’t know best and if you dare question us we will destroy you….. using said gov’t. of course’.

    You might be a fool. I don’t know, as I don’t know you, but I am not. Keep following along with the other sheep and when it is your neighborhood that isn’t ‘xyz’ enough you can congratulate the thugs who arrive to make it ‘correct’ and when you complain you can shake hands with the protestors who arrive (with US Justice Dept. support as proven with the Zimmerman rallies) to destroy you for daring to think for yourself and make decisions based on your own best interest and views instead of ‘the greater good’. Wake up.

  23. Pingback: City survey, Detroit bankruptcy underscore importance of diverse representation | Editorial | Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  24. This country was far more “communist” in the 1950s than today, if by “communist” you mean that government performed its role of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of its people. Right wing nut jobs won’t be satisfied until there is no more government and we are all completely controlled by a private corporation. Although they continue their efforts to destroy American democracy by trying to scare White America, they will fail because, as we all know, evil is dumb.

    But getting back on topic… suburbanites aren’t stupid. They know how to use pay stations, they know how to navigate our little city, and a handful of rowdy teens or panhandlers is not enough to keep them away. These folks spend time in Toronto – a city where you cannot go one block without encountering a homeless teen begging for spare change. They choose not to come downtown because it is unattractive and thus disinvested which in turn leads to perceptions that it is unsafe. The City needs to invest in its downtown streetscapes, incentivize retail to fill empty storefronts, improve opportunities to walk, bike, or take public transit, and make parking smarter (not free). We also need downtown stakeholders to take a greater role in the future of downtown. There needs to be a strong BID that oversees trash pickup, sweeping, landscaping, plowing, etc. There needs to be a downtown transit circulator that provides fast and frequent service. There has to be positive street activity – food trucks, vendors, buskers, etc to outweigh the negative activity that is found in every urban center in the world.

    We have spent the better part of 70 years trying to make downtown hospitable to mythical suburbanites and their cars and all we’ve done is make it less attractive for everyone. Is it possible that suburbanites and city residents want the same thing for downtown? That is to say, we all want downtown to be unique – a high quality urban experience not found anywhere else in our region. We are not providing that and so they do not come.

    There are signs that we are changing attitudes. The City has been narrowing streets for decades now, the City is adding bike infrastructure, one-way streets are going to two-way, more and more small businesses are opening and more and more of them are working together to beautify their commercial districts. Home prices in the city are up, crime is down, more people are walking and biking, and more private money is being invested in the city. There is something good going on in the ROC and it feels great to be a part of it.

  25. The parking issue is a joke. People complain of parking downtown, but will walk further through the parking lot in Eastview and not bat an eye. I will concede that the city parking bureau’s enforcement tactics downtown leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. Such as checking streets right before they turn into free parking and ticketing people for the 10-20 minutes if their meter expired. That just makes people mad.

    Downtown looks scary because we’ve leveled it. Andrews street looks like a bomb went off, that area of downtown is destroyed.

    Kennedy is right, if we try to compete with the suburbs we’ll lose. The city needs to stay urban, if I wanted a suburban life style I’d move there.

  26. August 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm Dwight E Wascom responds:

    Gertrude Stein has the familiar quote: “There’s no there there.” That’s true of DT. DT is designed to get in, do your business, get out. How? The buses change routes. Little bench seating is not toward each other but rather towards the streets. No town square to gather, Festivals have cramped small spaces to contend with. New PO closes after hours. Many restaurants DT are closed for dinner. Manhattan SQ. rarely used. Few parquets are for walking threw. And the city has new rules for charging admission on the streets, wiping out some gathering events. Rochester’s DT design is to go threw and leave, not to gather and stay.

  27. Dwight, I think that the idea is to make Downtown a hybrid. Yes, there are businesses there now in the `skyscraper’ buildings (if there is a very low sky), but there is also a re-birth so to speak of lofts and condos springing up. The housing is a mix of upscale and subsidized housing. There are students from Eastman living in apartments and multi-family homes.

    It’s difficult to define Downtown as a neighborhood because of the mix.

    I think the discussion here is how to make Downtown a more desirable place and a destination rather than a place to just go through. In fact, many people would rather go around it than go through it.

    Like every neighborhood, it has it’s gems. But are those gems easy to discover and are they worth the hassle of discovering them.

    Since many cities are identified by their Downtown (Baltimore, San Antonio, Cincinnati, etc.) we want to see how to enhance our image to outsiders to attract them here. It’s also important to stop the exodus of folks from here. Both are necessary for our economic survival.

    As people leave an area, there are fewer to pay into the coffers to keep services available for those who remain. Nice parks, clean streets, adequate police protection and regular maintenance are all dependent on municipal dollars. We can’t expect the City to be able to afford all these services if they have a dwindling tax base.

    The proper mix of residents, small and large businesses, attractions and safety are the key. How it is achieved is the puzzle.

    • August 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm Dwight E Wascom responds:

      We can begin to ask the question: Where can people gather? large areas, medium size space. Then do some zoning. Place benches toward each other & sidewalk, not the street. Have tables in parquets. DESIGN gathering spaces. Don’t pass rules preventing gathering events. Quality of life in DT is important.

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