2nd Street businesses prepare for Rochester’s Rapid Transit System construction

2nd Street businesses prepare for Rochester’s Link construction

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(ABC 6 News) – Rochester is one step closer to making it’s link-rapid transit system a reality. This week, the city held a study session on how construction will impact traffic and local businesses along 2nd Street.

Construction for the rapid transit system on 2nd Street in Rochester will have quite the impact on traffic.
It will still be awhile before construction kicks off on this stretch of road, but businesses are already preparing for big changes on traffic flow.

Destination Medical Center has been working to provide Rochester with an electric transit system since it began in 2013.

The transit system will include hubs at current Mayo Clinic shuttle lots. Both the city and DMC say this is not just Mayo employees, but all of Rochester.

“This project, the bus rapid transit system is going to be an amazing asset for all of our community members. It does help community members downtown move around downtown. It’ll connect everybody downtown,” said Jamie Rothe, DMC EDA community and engagement director.

“Right now we’re proposing a fair free system. So anyone, community, visitor can jump on and ride it for free,” said Josh Johnsen Strategic Initiative Director.

Now that transit system, dubbed Link, is on the horizon to begin construction late next year, everyone is preparing for a changing landscape along 2nd Street Southwest.

Including business owners like Joe and Jessica Phillips, who own Rochester’s popular Philly cheesesteak shop, Jersey Jo’s. They say the city and DMC have already been keeping them in the loop of the future plans.

“We’ve been getting emails for a while now about what’s coming, and that’s great,” said Jessica Phillips.

But even with a year’s notice, the parking situation for customers can sometimes still be tricky even without construction. Phillips is unsure of what the future will look like.

“We still have concerns about how this will impact business and traffic flow in and out of our business. As long as the city can provide good signage, I think. Because there’s been a situation where the main road is blocked, they’ll have other signs to say, hey turn here to get to Jersey Jo’s or Cherry Berry, that’ll be very helpful,” Phillips added.

The city of Rochester is expecting the rapid transit line construction to take a year and a half to complete. They will be shutting down portions of 2nd Street over that time to best accommodate traffic and businesses as it progresses.

This entire cost of this project is about $143.3 million, that funding is coming from DMC and a federal grant.