If you’re at all familiar with Rochester, then chances are that you’re familiar with the Inner Loop. When I was in college I had a buddy who lived in Rochester, and I would occasionally pick him up on the way to college and then drop him off when I was heading back to Buffalo for break. I’ll never forget the ordeals that I had when attempting to navigate the Inner Loop, or as my friend referred, “Can of Worms”.
Now Rochester is in the midst of freeing up the city from the bonds of The Inner Loop. The Democrat and Chronicle has a great article on the formations of the loop during the city’s peak population, and the urban issues that it later contributed to during the city’s decline (read article). It’s a fascinating lesson regarding the ill effects of urban renewal, and how a series of roadways can have a stranglehold on a city.
Buffalo should be paying close attention to this project. Whether it’s the access and exit ramps leading to and from The Skyway, the Kensington Expressway, the 198 (both rip apart our city), or the 190 that hugs the Niagara River (I am dumbfounded that The City is still not looking at that disastrous issue)… we should be fighting for these types of large scale infrastructure initiatives. Scaling the Scajaquada Expressway down to a boulevard (crossing fingers) is just one step, and we better do it right. Rochester has been battling its own demons for as long as Buffalo… and the city is finally reaping huge rewards.