Saturday, August 29, 2015

Old School

Around sixty or seventy years ago, American cities planned for the  Drivability and parking were valued, and urban planning followed suit.  Nowadays, trendy cities actually offer quite the opposite...walkability, bikeability, and access to public transportation.  Rochester is on point when it comes to craft beer, coffee, and wine trends.  But how does our disrespected city fare in terms of the new focus on old school transportation trends?

Walk Score, a private company which promotes a sustainable lifestyle, provides a walk score, bike score, and transit score for 108 U.S. cities with over 200,000 people.  Rochester, in its typical understated fashion, does reasonably well:

  • Walk Score 60.9 (22nd most walkable out of 108)
  • Bike Score 58.9 (27th most bikeable out of 108)
  • Transit Score 45.9 (22nd best public transit out of 108)

In a separate ranking of the most walkable mid-sized U.S. cities (population between 200,000 and 300,000), Rochester steps it up even more:
  1. Jersey City, NJ
  2. Newark, NJ
  3. Arlington, VA
  4. Hialeah, FL
  5. Buffalo, NY
  6. Rochester, NY
  7. St. Paul, MN
  8. Cincinnati, OH
  9. Richmond, VA
  10. Madison, WI


  1. We seem to rank well here but I wish the city would focus on public transport even more given the obvious trend that many people don't want to drive everywhere any more. With the population downtown set to keep growing in the near term, it will be interesting to see how much of a focus is placed on transportation since parking could because less than ideal, but as it is right now parking is a breeze downtown which makes driving desirable.

    1. And to further your point, even though Rochester's transit score relative to other cities is very decent, the score of 45.9 (which is out of 100) is not that impressive. My gut feeling is that Rochester's focus needs to continue to be on getting a critical mass downtown, and hopefully the biking and transit will then evolve. (Although I have also read theories which emphasize transportation as a sort of "bait" to lure people.)

    2. There is a year long study that should be beginning soon to study parking and transportation along Monroe Ave, the direction that goes could be telling on how the city views public transport. As an area resident, Monroe Ave is already kind of reaching "critical mass" where there isn't enough parking to go around between residents and retail and something will have to be done to be able to keep allowing new businesses to open up without requiring them to build a parking lot.