Rochester City Council votes Wednesday night on applying for funding to raise (and raze) the Inner Loop.
The Loop would be filled in – as in filled with dirt – between Broadway and Charlotte streets. That’s the eastern portion of the Loop that runs from Monroe Avenue to East Avenue.
This isn’t the first time the city has applied for funding. The application submitted a year ago is chock-full of details about why the city wants to get rid of the “moat” that surrounds downtown.
Here some things the city says in the document:
• The city refers to the Loop as a “noose” around downtown’s neck, calling it unattractive, outdated and a barrier to development.
• Raising the Loop is cheaper than replacing two aging bridges over the highway – East Avenue and Broad Street - that need repairs. Money would also be saved on maintenance costs.
• The roads that travel above the Inner Loop – Monroe and East carry more cars than the highway below.
• Nine acres of land would be available for development that could result in $64.4 to $128.8M in private investment and 1,840 to 3,680 permanent jobs at new retail and commercial space. The land would generate tax revenue.
• There were 87 crashes on the Inner Loop over three-year-period, above average for similar intersections, roads. There are a couple places where there is little room to merge and blind-spots on onramps. The city expects a 62 percent reduction in crashes after the reconstruction.
• The Loop creates hazards for bicyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities.
• Raising the Loop would only add 2.2 seconds to commute times at evening rush hour by the year 2035. Several traffic lights on access roads would no longer be needed.
The project cost is about $30 million. The city is seeking a $15 million federal grant. If funding comes through as planned, the project could be finished in 2015.
(The link above is to the 2010 application. Some details may have changed since that application was filed.)