Reinventing Downtown alleys

Examples of hanging art installations

Activating and beautifying underutilized public spaces like alleys integrates exciting and healthy public spaces into our existing urban environments. It also tends to increase the perception of safety and reduce unwanted behaviors in those areas.

Over the past few months, the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA) has been working on a new project that aims to repurpose the Third Street Alley (behind Café Steam, Kathy’s Pub, and 318 Commons) in Downtown Rochester by integrating art and design installations into the space.

Initial enhancements to the alley will likely begin late spring 2019 and will include three components: hanging art installations; vinyl wrapping of alley doors with art, photography, and design; and murals.

Example of alley door wrapped with vinyl art

The RDA will work with property owners through a Downtown Façade Grant to incorporate additional aspects of design into the space, which could include elements such as lighting for safety, signage, seating, and landscaping.

RDA’s Senior Director of Placemaking Karli McElroy is excited about taking on this new and impactful initiative. “With this project, we aim to demonstrate how alleys can become aesthetically-appealing destinations where the community can gather,” she says, “at the same time contributing to a safer and cleaner experience in Downtown.”

Destination Medical Center is supportive of this initiative as improvements made to this area of Downtown will help inform potential changes to other alleyways.

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