The Transportation Dominoes to Fall

As I sit here writing this, the data is October 13, 2019. Our goal is to open a Clean Rapid Transit System in just 1,968 days; on March 3, 2025. As Patrick Seeb joked; we are unsure if this will happen in the morning or the evening. While this seems like a long time, it is an aggressive schedule that will require discipline.

The reality is that many changes need to happen between now and then, starting with leadership on the front end. Here is my take on what needs to happen. The opening of our first mass transit line is a huge deal for Rochester and would be one of the top 10 defining events in our history since 1854. Delays like those on North Broadway are not acceptable and will cause us to fail.

Process for Road Reconstruction:

  1. Formally adopt Transit Village Locations, Broadway / 2nd Street alignment and Clean Rapid Transit mode. (2019)
  2. Prepare and submit a formal application to the Federal Transit Administration. The one thing we don’t entirely control is if we get our grant the first time out. We and our consultants estimate a 75% probability of getting a grant for Clean Rapid Transit vs. about 0% for Street Cars. (2019-2020)
  3. Complete North Broadway Reconstruction. (2020-2021)
  4. Complete 2nd Street Reconstruction between 11th & 16th avenues, and smaller changes from Downtown to the current Mayo West lot. This could include creation of transit only lanes, reduction of left turn conflicts, and a redesigned intersection at 16th Ave. (2021-2022)
  5. Complete South Broadway Reconstruction from 2nd street SW to Graham Park. This would include transit only lanes. This might also be a time to simultaneously look at Broadway from 2nd Street SW to Civic Center Dr as well as Historic 3rd Street. (2023-2024)
  6. Signal technology, policy & implementation of transit service. (2021-2025)

Process for Transit Stations:

When you actually lay out the projects that need to be done it shows how harmful delays on any of these projects may be to the overall schedule.

  1. Formally adopt Transit Village Locations, Broadway / 2nd Street alignment and Clean Rapid Transit mode. (2019)
  2. Formally adopt and plan station locations. I expect 2 Transit Villages, Mayo Downtown, and Mayo St. Marys are given locations. Conceptually I would expect one serving K-Mart, Soldiers Field, & UMR, one at 4th street to serve Government Offices &Discovery Square, one somewhere between Downtown & St. Marys and one or two between St. Marys and the West Village. (2020-2022)
  3. Build Transit stations and surrounding connections. (2023-2025)

In reality to score well we need to limit ourselves to 8 or 9 stations.

Not Directly Related but Simultaneous and Consequential:

  1. Heart of the City Phase I, Discovery Walk, and Heart of the City Phase II.
  2. Riverfront Re-Imagined / New Library.
  3. Increase UMR campus footprint.
  4. Improved Soldiers Field Park.
  5. Policies on Mayo transportation, parking, and co-funding of mass transit route.
  6. Some parts of the City Loop may be constructed.
  7. Substantial changes to Commuter Bus and City Bus routes upon opening of the Clean Rapid Transit line.
  8. All projects will include universal design, public art, pedestrian enhancements & place making.

Wow, having just wrote this we have some work to do!


  1. So, under the “Public art, pedestrian enhancements, and place making” are we going to provide unlimited jaywalking for the pedestrians, and total absolution for bicyclists that refuse to abide by the rules of the road? Let’s not have limits on our progressive mentality and actions, otherwise we will never make any progress in the ultimate goal which is to shut down personal auto/vehicular use in the downtown district.

    1. The Major transit piece is about $100 million and will be funded with Federal Grants & DMC dollars. The other projects will largely be funded with regular maintenance dollars, there are not new taxes proposed for these services, rather a reallocation of existing funding.

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