Remixing Main Street

Remixing Main Street

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 September 05, 2013 and can be found here.

The current view looking west down Main Street, Rochester. Blah. If only we could rearrange things. [IMAGE: Google Streetview]

     The following is a guest post submitted by       Matthew Denker      .
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Welcome readers. I'm going on a slight deviation from my usual "Filling In" article to talk about the mean streets of Rochester. Let's take a look at, eh, Main St. Yeah, Main St. What's that looks like? Ok, well, there's some tall(ish) buildings built to the street. There's sidewalk, theoretically two driving lanes in each direction, and (supposedly) some street trees. If I were to give this street a grade, it would get an "in-complete."

Oy, how I wish I could reconfigure things! Just pick stuff up and move it around. Maybe add a cycle track or a tree-lined median. Heh heh... can you say, STREET REMIX?!

A pretty nifty online tool called Streetmix lets us reconfigure any street we wish. Let's try Main Street, Rochester. [IMAGE:]

   Let's take a look at our Main Street using a nifty new street diagramming tool that let's you build your street (precisely to spec), rearrange it, add to it, modify it, and then share your new design with a friend - or your city planner. It's called     Streetmix

external link

. And here it is...

So there it is, Main St. Rochester. Booya. [IMAGE:]

   Main St. Rochester. Booya! But as I said, this street is a little boring. The good news is that there are already nice, wide sidewalks on Main St. The bad news is that all four vehicular lanes are jammed together into a single 40' crossing.

Additionally, the wide, somewhat underused sidewalks, come at the expense of bike infrastructure. Now I must admit, I was tempted to slap a water feature and horse path in here, but I don't think Main St. needs anything so crazy. Here's my idea for a Streetmix...

Main Street; Remixed. [IMAGE:]

We've kept the same four driving lanes, although we've reduced them to 9-foot lanes, to reduce speeding. We've also added buffered bike lanes in each direction. Finally, with a 6' planted median and bike lanes with pedestrian refuges, the crossing has been reduced to 18' from 40'. For an idea of how this might look in action (or half of it since it's on a one-way street), we need look no further than the 9th Ave bike lane in New York City...

Looking down 9th Avenue in NYC for inspiration. [IMAGE: Google Streetview]

Now, here's another version that REALLY amps things up a notch and adds a two-way street car line ( made me do it). In this plan, they would run in traffic with boarding platforms in the median. As you can see, there's a TON of space in a 90' wide right of way. Let's use it all more efficiently...

Main Street; Remixed, with a modern streetcar. [IMAGE:]

In the comments I'll post one of the streets in Rochester I would most like to see get a remix (Spoiler alert, it's in Corn Hill).

Remix YOUR street...

I'd like to invite all of you to remix some of Rochester's streets. You can build your own street diagrams at

external link

If available, give us a link to how the street looks now (either Google Streetview or your own photo), and then how you'd like the street to look. I can't wait to see what we come up with, and don't be afraid to go large.

Chris Gemignani

Chris Gemignani

Rochester, NY, USA