A sustainable transportation model is pivotal to the success of the DMC vision. And from practical solutions like dedicated bus lanes to more futuristic ideas like driverless shuttles, the topic brought dozens of community members together for the first of four Public Conversations highlighting transit for Rochester’s downtown.
The informal open house, held on January 24 at the University of Minnesota Rochester, provided the public with a chance to hear from transportation consultants about the four integrated transit studies being conducted and offer their feedback on what they see working best for Rochester’s future.
Richard Freese is the director of the city’s Public Works Department. Freese feels it’s critical that people understand, not only what’s being done in regard to transportation planning, but why. “It’s about identifying a way to offer sustainable transportation to everyone in the community,” he says, including residents, visitors, patients, and companions.
Two of the primary issues addressed by the studies and during the open house included parking and traffic into and out of downtown. Parking has long been a hot-button issue and the need for additional spaces for those who live, work, and visit the downtown area continues to grow. The streets that run in and out of downtown nearly reach their maximum during rush hours and alternative means of transporting people to and from remains at the forefront of discussions.
DMC, the city of Rochester, and the consultants from SRF Consulting Group, Inc., and a number of other industry experts are looking at best practices in the industry and exploring what’s been learned by other cities, but broad community perspective and buy-in will be equally important, says Patrick Seeb, DMC’s director of economic development and placemaking.
“In order to ensure the transportation systems we implement will best serve everyone,” says Seeb, “we want to hear first-hand what community members themselves feel is needed to ensure safety and convenience for all users.”
While the date of the second Integrated Transit Study Public Conversation has not yet been set, you can learn more about the studies by clicking here.