The City of Rochester is in the final months of planning for the Broadway reconstruction project it hopes to incorporate several modes of transportation. Public works officials and consultant Bolton & Menk held a second public open house Wednesday at Kellogg Middle School for input on how to improve the project.
Reconstruction will take place from Civic Center Drive to 13th Street Northwest. Business like Kemps ice cream plant, Dairy Queen, Pho Chau, a convenience store, and auto repair shops on Broadway will be impacted by the project.
Dillon Dombrovski, Rochester's City Engineer, said reconstruction will include widening sidewalks, adding a median, and a bicycle facility behind the curb for cyclists and pedestrians. Final design work will begin this spring, with construction expected to start in 2019. The city is working with guidelines from The Broadway Avenue Corridor Study, completed in 2015. The first phase of the project will cost approximately 8 to 10 million dollars.
"The medians help, from a safety perspective, as they control access, and they eliminate certain conflict points, and we have less crashes," said Dombrovski.
Officials say this part of Broadway which sees more than 20,000 people each day, will improve safety for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists as well transform it into an urban street. And, that number is expected to increase as DMC-related development spreads out from downtown.
"We're bringing in the bicycle component. We're adding protected cycle tracks which are behind the curb, it will be a separate bike facility," he said.
But, some of the business owners we spoke with say the planned median could hurt their bottom lines.
"They're going to block one my entrances, which would make it impossible for customers to get into our parking lot," said Mike Fish, owner of GingerBread House Bakery.
Fish, who has gone to a previous open house and voiced his concerns about the median, fears business owners are not being heard.
"I'm just watching it continue on one median at a time, and I know there's no way I'm gonna stop it or allow for some change," said Fish.
He worries the addition of the median means losing customers. "They're gonna have to turn two blocks ahead or two blocks behind and come back. We live in a convenient society, and if it's not convenient they're gone," said Fish. "I know they want to make it safer they want people to slow down. But they should actually come to our properties, walk into our businesses, open the door, stand in the parking lot with us, let's just work this out one-one-one."