SCHUMER ANNOUNCES, AFTER HIS PUSH, ROCHESTER & WEBSTER TO RECEIVE $2.3 MILLION IN FED FUNDING FOR TRANSFORMATIVE TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS – ROCHESTER TO RECEIVE $1.5 MILLION FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF NEW ON-STREET PARKING & PEDESTRIAN IMPROVEMENTS ALONG EAST MAIN STREET; WEBSTER TO RECEIVE MORE THAN $800K FOR NEW SIDEWALKS, BIKE LANES ALONG NORTH AVENUE
Schumer Launched Push In June To Secure Funding For Rochester & Webster – Funding Will Help Transform Rochester’s Main St. By Adding Much-Needed Parking, Improving Sidewalks and Beautifying Landscape; Will Bring People to the Area and Stimulate Local Businesses
Main Street Rochester Has Been A Bus Transfer Mall For Decades, Stifling Retail Growth Downtown; But New Schumer-Secured Indoor Bus Station Is Finally Moving Bus Traffic Off Main Street, Creating Opportunity for Revitalization
Schumer Says Webster Project Will Breathe New Life Into Village Center, Something Webster Officials Have Been Working On For Years – North Avenue Upgrades Will Attract Shoppers, Residents, Visitors & New Retail
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that, following his push, Rochester and the Village of Webster will receive a combined $2.3 million in funding from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) for two important transportation and streetscape projects. In June, Schumer stood along East Main Street to announce his push to secure this TAP funding and wrote a letter to the FHWA Administrator and the New York State Department of Transportation encouraging them to select Rochester’s and Webster’s applications. Schumer announced today that $1,551,000 of this funding will be going to Rochester to fund a significant portion of a $2.4 million project creating 50 new on-street parking spaces along East Main Street in Downtown Rochester, and $811,580 will be going to the Village of Webster to construct new bike lanes, pedestrian sidewalks and a center median extension along North Avenue in the Village Center. Schumer said both projects will create opportunities for increased foot traffic, which will help attract retail and stimulate the economy.
Main Street Rochester
“Clearing idling buses off of Main Street has given us a real opportunity to transform this thoroughfare into one that is more pedestrian-friendly and more hospitable to retail,” said Schumer. “This funding will go a long way in re-making East Main Street so it is a place where new stores and restaurants will want to locate and where residents and tourists will want to visit. This funding is just the beginning in helping Main Street go from a ‘bus transfer mall’ to a gorgeous place to shop, open a business and explore.”
Schumer explained that, with a new indoor RTS bus station set to open on St. Paul Street downtown in November, thanks to funding Schumer secured over the past decade, bus traffic will no longer cause congestion along Main Street and block off customer access to storefronts, which has created a unique opportunity to revitalize the area. Schumer said this TAP grant will help overhaul Main Street from the Liberty Pole to the Genesee River by adding 50 new on-street parking spaces that are estimated to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of new retail sales opportunities for Main Street businesses, support development of the existing sites now under renovation like the Sibley Building and Midtown site, and help attract new retail and commercial activity to Main Street.
In addition to these new recessed parking areas, the funding will also support new sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, bike racks, and a new system of pedestrian wayfinding signs and kiosks to enable the hundreds of thousands of visitors to experience downtown Rochester. The City expects to complete final design next year and begin construction by 2016.
Redoing East Main builds on the other federal investments that Schumer has secured to redevelop downtown Rochester, including the $10 million he secured for the RTS bus station, $4.3 million for new infrastructure, roads, and businesses at the Midtown site, $500,000 to convert the St. Paul St. and Clinton Ave intersection to a 2-way traffic zone, and $1.5 million for the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to renovate and create a new business incubator in the historic Rochester Savings Bank building.
Village of Webster
“For years, Webster officials have been trying to find ways to breathe new life into the Village Center and this funding is a key piece of the puzzle,” said Schumer. “New sidewalks and bike lanes will bring more people to North Avenue and help support existing retail, as well as encourage new stores and residents to move in.”
This proposed project will strengthen Webster’s village center by constructing new sidewalks, bike lanes, and a center median extension along North Avenue. Schumer explained that if this project is funded, the Village of Webster would be better positioned to attract shoppers, residents, visitors, and new retail.
The Village of Webster has been working for years to make improvements to their village center. Schumer explained that the more than $800,000 in funds from the TAP program will allow the Village to construct new sidewalks, bike lanes, and a center median extension along North Avenue and leverage a new 70-unit apartment complex planned for construction on North Avenue. The Village anticipates beginning construction in the summer of 2015 to coincide with a planned repavement of North Avenue and route 404 in the Village next year.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s initial letter to the Federal Highway Administration and New York State Department of Transportation appears below:
Dear Administrator Mendez and Commissioner McDonald:
I am pleased to write in support of two projects in Monroe County, NY that are seeking federal funding through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) to transform Rochester and the Village of Webster into thriving areas for pedestrians and retail. In order to realize long-sought economic development opportunities, the City of Rochester is applying for $1.6 million to redevelop and transform Main Street in the heart of downtown Rochester and the Village of Webster is seeking about $1 million to similarly revitalize North Avenue in its commercial center.
For decades, Main Street in Rochester has been dominated by a bus transit mall with lines of buses routinely idling in long lines along Main Street. This bus queue created a physical barrier that hampered street level retail and commercial activity, curtailed pedestrian activity, and precluded the opportunity to create on-street parking needed to attract new merchants to Rochester’s commercial core. Fortunately, with the upcoming opening of a new in-door bus Transit Center in November 2014, Rochester now has its first opportunity in decades to reinvent Main Street.
Under the proposed plan, the City of Rochester will create up to 50 new on-street parking spaces—which are estimated to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of new retail sales—are expected to attract increased pedestrians and new businesses alike to Main Street. In addition to these new recessed parking areas, the plan would also construct new sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, bike racks, and a new system of pedestrian wayfinding signs and kiosks to enable the hundreds of thousands of visitors to experience downtown Rochester. This will bring in new customers to shops and restaurants that may otherwise have stayed in their hotel rooms and convention spaces.
Similarly, if approved, the Village of Webster will strengthen their village center by redeveloping North Avenue from Orchard Street to Route 404. The plan is supported by the local merchants, the Webster Chamber of Commerce, and business developers that will construct along North Avenue new sidewalks, bike lanes, a center median extension, connection to the Hojack and Route 104 trails, pedestrian lighting, wayfinding signs, and gateway amenities. The end result will be a revitalized Webster Village that will better attract shoppers, residents, visitors, and new retail.
There is strong interest among community and business leaders to implement these streetscape enhancements as soon as possible, which will only be possible with this federal funding. I sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
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