Sunday, May 22, 2016


In Street Smart, author Samuel I. Schwartz describes a series of public meetings in the late 1990's in Salt Lake City entitled "Envision Utah." Salt Lake City has about 190,000 residents living in 110 square miles.  The city itself is part of the Wasatch Front, a string of cities whose core distance is perhaps 80 miles long and extends from Ogden to Provo, containing approximately 2.3 million residents.  A major focus of Envision Utah was transportation policy, and the result has been one of the most multimodal transit systems in the United States:

  • A light rail system.  Key stops include the University of Utah and Medical Center, the airport, and Amtrak.
  • A heavier commuter rail running from Ogden to Provo.
  • A small streetcar system in one of Salt Lake City's oldest neighborhoods (which is connected to the light rail system.)
  • Traditional buses.
  • Bus rapid transit.
  • A healthy dose of bike paths.
Meanwhile, closer to home, Western New York's two key cities, Buffalo and Rochester, span a core distance of about 70 miles which is home to approximately 2.2 million residents.  High(er) speed rail between the cities is occasionally proposed and often ridiculed.  In Rochester, a city with 210,000 residents living in 37 square miles (3.5 times the density of Salt Lake City), a bike share has been deemed feasible but seems unlikely to materialize.

Fortunately, our community does have a vision.  This vision entails placing a few slot machines (but no table games or sportsbook) in the heart of downtown Rochester.  It is predicted that if this vision comes to fruition, Rochesterians will be guaranteed the ability to watch impoverished and/or elderly residents smoke high quantities of cigarettes.

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