The Rochester City Council selected the newest proposed design, "option 2C" for the North Broadway Reconstruction Project after months of debate and feedback from owners of local businesses.
The Council had three design options to choose from. The first option, option 2B included a solid median down Broadway, except for four signalized intersections, according to Bolton and Menk. The second option, 2B Alternate, would include medians through the 5th, 10th, and 12th Street intersections with the idea of improving safety because crashes at these intersections exceed the statewide average.
A handful of business owners who would feel the direct impacts of this reconstruction project overwhelmingly voiced their support for option 2C, during the open comment period of the meeting. This design adds medians on Broadway Avenue between intersections but not through any of the public street intersections.
"All of the businesses decided what's good for one, is good for all," said Kathleen Harrington, Interim President of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce. "So they stood united tonight in support of option 2C. Of course, they stand for safety, that is without dispute, but we're very pleased that the City Council listened to the voices and concerns of small employers in the community."
"Access is vital, and if people have to drive one block out of the way to get their cup of coffee, they won't go there," said Lucy Bishop, owner of Bishop Management on N. Broadway.
Although it doesn't address and improve crash issues at 5th St. 10th St. and 12th St. this third option provides flexibility in adding more medians if the intersections prove to be unsafe.
The Council was split 4-3 on this option, with some members pushing for a safer design plan, but ultimately agreed that the project needed to move forward.
Council member Nick Campion voted against the 2B option, noting crash research and experts found option 2B Alternate to be the safest option for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers.
"What I have not seen yet is any reason to support 2C,” Campion said. "There's been no plan, no study has been done, nothing provided to the council to show that. And what's being asked is that it might provide better access, so sacrifice the safety of the other plan."