“For more than six decades, we have partnered with the City of Rochester on an array of projects instrumental in building a stronger, better-connected community,” said Jim Hofmann, Senior Principal and Project Manager at Stantec. “We are thrilled to be involved in the next phase of the Inner Loop’s transformation and look forward to creating a new corridor that meets the needs of all users, reconnects neighborhoods, and opens parcels for equitable redevelopment and green space.”
The Inner Loop was conceived in the early 1950s at a time when Rochester’s population was growing rapidly. The 6-lane, 2.7-mile sunken highway was intended to position the city to compete with its growing car-oriented suburbs, but by the time construction was completed in 1965, Rochester’s population had started to decline. Like many other urban highway construction projects at the time, hundreds of homes and businesses were torn down and community connections were severed.
In 1991, the city completed a comprehensive plan that called for the removal of the southeastern portion of the corridor, and in 2014, the Inner Loop East Transformation Project kicked off, fueled by a $17 million federal grant. Stantec provided planning, scoping, preliminary design, final design, and construction support for the project, which was completed in 2018. The result transformed 2/3 of a mile of the sunken highway into an at-grade local street, restoring the original city grid and reconnecting neighborhoods cut off from downtown. Pedestrian mobility improved by 13 percent and bicycle mobility by 90 percent from 2014 to 2022. The revitalized corridor won multiple industry awards, and the city estimates it has led to more than $400 million in new investments, including housing, businesses, and amenities.
The Inner Loop North Transformation Project seeks to continue this momentum in the northern portion of the corridor. New York State Governor Kathy Hochul committed $100 million to the project in March 2022. The city completed a planning study last year that identified a preferred design concept that will transform 1.5 miles of the highway into a complete street network, consolidating travel lanes, parallel service roads, and on- and off-ramps into at-grade, traffic-calmed, city streets. Pedestrian and bicycle safety will be prioritized throughout. The city also plans to add green space and identify opportunities for equitable redevelopment. There will be extensive opportunities for public input on both transportation design and future land use.