NY High Speed Rail... I'm With Slaughter!

NY High Speed Rail... I'm With Slaughter!

This article was scraped from Rochester Subway. This is a blog about Rochester history and urbanism has not been published since 2017. The current owners are now publishing link spam which made me want to preserve this history.. The original article was published March 10, 2009 and can be found here.

Amtrak's Acela high-speed train which operates between Washington DC and Boston.

With the latest wave of     federal stimulus    , suddenly a storm of ideas and proposals are pouring down on downtown. In one corner, Governor David Paterson and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter are reigniting a movement in support of a new high-speed rail line from Niagara Falls to New York City. Slaughter wants to see Renaissance Square funds reallocated toward building a new train/bus station built where the     old Amtrak station is now on Central Avenue    . In the opposite corner, County Exec Maggie Brooks and Senator Charles Schumer are pushing ahead with demolition plans in preparation for Ren Square. Poor Mayor Duffy doesn't know whether to take sides or run for cover.*

But with     $8 billion    in stimulus money on the table for high speed rail, I'm with Slaughter. Building an intermodal train and bus station at Central Avenue makes way more sense than building a new bus lot at Main and Clinton (part of the Ren Square plan). I know Maggie Brooks has her reasons for defending Ren Square, but hanging a     "coming soon" sign

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isn't going to hide the glaring defects of this plan.

Here's why Renaissance Square should be stopped
    dead in its tracks (pun intended):

  1. A new intermodal facility at the perimeter of downtown would allow travelers one-stop access to Amtrak, RTS buses, Trailways/Greyhound buses, AND leaves open the possibility of one day connecting these services to the Rochester Airport via light rail.
  2. Amtrak, RTS, Trailways, Greyhound, taxi services, and other retail entities would benefit from being in such close proximity to each other.
  3. The proposed Ren Square bus lot in my opinion is unattractive and still leaves idling buses too close to Main Street. The heart of downtown is no place for a giant parking lot for buses.
  4. After 10-15 years of effort, the Ren Square money is still not there. Maybe the lack of funds is reflective of a lack of public support?
  5. The Renaissance Square location (Main and Clinton) has far too much potential than to be subsidized by government. Private interest has already expressed interest in developing this parcel.
  6. Fear of losing federal money is not a good reason to rush ahead with a half-baked plan. We have options now. We need to stop and think.
  7. I could go on but I feel like I'm beating a horse.

*UPDATE: Mayor Duffy recently     spoke out    and says we should reassess the County's Ren Square plan.

Chris Gemignani

Chris Gemignani

Rochester, NY, USA