Monday, July 09, 2007

The Broad Street Question, Part 2

In a John Kerry-esque manner, I recently questioned my own support for the Broad Street canal re-watering proposal. According to this weekend's Democrat & Chronicle article on the issue, the City of Rochester may also be rethinking their initial interest in the project. I do not want to reiterate my concerns about the canal, but have faith dear friends, I will not flip-flop again on this topic. This short post is meant to piggy-back on my earlier post by providing a visual if not contextual reference to what I envision for a new Broad Street. This vision incorporates a water element (though not a navigable canal) that pays homage to the former canal's alignment and significantly beautifies the corridor while also maintaining vehicular traffic and avoiding construction of costly liftbridges.

The following images are of the new neighborhood of Hammarby Sjostad in Stockholm, Sweden. The water element in these pictures is quite reminiscent of the water feature I envision for Broad Street. As a note, Hammarby Sjostad is an eco-village and as such, this particular canal is actually a rainwater collection channel. Rather than the beautiful landscaped parks that abut this canal, my vision has one traffic lane in each direction, with a center turn lane, and parking lanes on either side abutting the "canal." There would be sidewalks on both sides of the water feature, as well as a sidewalk on the other side of the street. The water could be channeled through inexpensive culverts underneath the various cross-streets. The "canal" could be illuminated at night and during the day, interpretive features would tell the tale of our former downtown canal. In my humble opinion, this achieves the best of all worlds. It preserves a portion of the tunnel for future transit use, it maintains necessary vehicular movement on Broad Street, and it provides a unique feature that can bring investment to the corridor.