Rochester Envisions Walk Friendly Uptown

Created: 04/11/2014 6:48 PM
By: Hannah Tran

(ABC 6 News) -- Make way for pedestrians.

Second Street Southwest, a main traffic vein to downtown Rochester, will soon see new enhancements and installments this spring. It's the site of the "Uptown" business district, which sits near the most densely populated area in Rochester.

"Throughout the country, people are making a significant shift toward designing streets for people and they're accommodating cars second," said local architect Adam Ferrari, who works for Nine Square Design.

Rochester city officials will do the same. Landscaped medians will take over the street's bare sidewalks and city leaders hope more businesses will crop up there, too.

"What we're trying to do with this project is to turn this area into more of an urban center, " said Rochester City Council member Michael Wojcik, whose Ward 2 includes the site of the project.

Manufacturers from Iowa will bring in artistic benches and towers with a water-themed design. The intention is to give the street a connected atmosphere with nearby Cascade Lake.

"Cascade Lake Park has been decades in the making," said Wojcik. "It might be another decade before it's complete."

Cascade Lake sits behind many residential units just north of the Uptown area. The area around the lake will be developed into a park to draw in visitors from Uptown.

"When it's done, we think there will be a million visitors a year," said Wojcik.

The area is exploding and so will the need for transportation. An artist who designed several bus stop shelters near Mayo Clinic will also create similar stops in the Uptown area.

"This is setting the stage for growth and development along that corridor," said Ferrari.

A view for the pedestrian's pleasure and a boom for business, the pedestrian friendly atmosphere will go beyond downtown Rochester.

Wojcik is excited for the area he represents, stating, "four years ago, no one would even come down here and just walk up and down the streets. When this project is done, we want that to happen all the time."