The East Main Arts & Market Initiative is a visioning project to transform a half-square mile study area close to Downtown Rochester. The project centers around East Main Street, which in many ways acts as a barrier rather than as the main connector that its name implies.
The project looked at how the diverse surrounding neighborhoods’ strengths can catalyze revitalization and mixed-use development. Arts & cultural institutions and the Rochester Public Market are integral to the turnaround, from fresh produce to visiting Broadway shows.
Of interest to New Urbanists were the Initiative’s Charrette-like public open houses, with residents giving input via collaborative mapping, interactive street cross-sections, etc. At the foot of the site is the infamous Inner Loop (I-490), which is now a leading teardown in CNU’s Highways to Boulevards campaign.
The project seeks to reactivate what had historically been neighborhood retail corridors and hubs along key streets and intersections and to foster infill development affordable to current & new residents (including live/work space for creative professionals).
Below are “before” and “after” images (Source: EDR) of what the final plan envisions.
The East Main Arts & Market Initiative began in 2015 with the City of Rochester and community residents & businesses, and includes New York’s own transportation planning firm of Sam Schwartz. Other firms on the team are Interface Studio, EDR and H2. The project demonstrates collaborative placemaking and revitalization within an economic core of Upstate New York. Read more at www.facebook.com/EastMainStreetRochester.
Multi-modal transportation is central to the effort, with safety, accessibility and comfort in mind for walkers, bicyclists & transit users. East Main Street would see widened sidewalks, center medians, upgraded bus stops and separated bike lanes, to name a few.