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Every city along the Thruway now wants to tear down a highway.

In Albany, Interstate 787 separates the city from the Hudson River. Planners want to raze it to develop the waterfront. There’s no money in the pipeline, so the city’s been advised to “work around it.”

In Syracuse, the state is considering options for rehabbing the elevated Interstate 81, which dissects the city. One of the options is to tear it down and build an at-grade boulevard. None of the options are cheap, starting at a half billion dollars.

In Rochester, the city is waiting for federal funding to fill in the sunken Inner Loop. The city calls it a noose around the neck of downtown, cutting off neighborhoods. The Inner Loop isn’t well-traveled. The cost of the project is around $20 million.

In Buffalo, Rep. Brian Higgins wants to tear down the Skyway, which runs along the Outer Harbor. He says it’s a barrier to waterfront development. The state says it’s not a priority. The project would cost at least $100 million, but Higgins points out much of that money would be funneled into repairs of the current structure.

Links of the Day:

– New York State wants a bite of Apple. Industrial sites everywhere are salivating over the prospect of a chip manufacturing plant.

– Superintendent Bolgen Vargas wants to make schools more middle class. He asks how schools can put on a play with no music classes.

There are more women cops in the Rochester area.

– Feeling yucky? Consider letting the University of Rochester study your germs.

Ever drive along on Mt. Read Blvd. and wonder why it exists?

Mt. Read, at least in its current form, has always felt overbuilt and unnecessary. It’s also fairly unattractive. Interstate 390 was built after Mt. Read, which makes the road feel rather redundant.

“It’s more like an expressway. Does it need to be that?” said Eric Frisch, transportation specialist for the City of Rochester.

The city is now studying the future of Mt. Read. City Council will vote on an $85,000 contract with Bergmann to come up with a vision plan for a 4-mile stretch of the corridor, running from Stone Rd. to Buffalo Rd. The project is in partnership with the state, which owns the road.

About 18,000 cars use Mt. Read a day. The boulevardĀ is not only showing its age, it’s got functional issues. There are a number of factories along the boulevard, including Eastman Business Park. Trucks use service roads along Mt. Read. There are issues with signals and safety and there’s congestion at Lyell Ave. It’s a brutal area for bicycles and pedestrians. There are also some brownfields, which the city has been cleaning up.

Let’s not forget Mt. Read cuts through residential neighborhoods, too. There are 15,000 people who live in streets off the road.

I’m eager to see the vision plan.

Mt. Read Blvd., sometimes between 1903-1936. Mother of Sorrows steeple in background.


Intersection of Mt. Read Blvd. and W. Ridge Road around 1950


Links of the Day:

– If you build more highways and keep adding lanes, you make more traffic. Louisville is struggling with what to do about its downtown expressways. Think about Rochester when you read this.

– Rochester used to have a Main Streetwith people.

– The gutting of Kodak continues with the announcement the company will stop making consumer ink jet printers.

– The Supreme Court may limit the use of race in college admissions.

– A scathing state report about the Aqueduct race track blames horse deaths on track officials.