La Avenida Gets Facelift to Help Drivers, Walkers, Bikers Share Road

A sign announces that a vacant lot on North Clinton Avenue will become a public plaza. Photo by Patti Singer/Minority Reporter Media Group

A sign announces that a vacant lot on North Clinton Avenue will become a public plaza. Photo by Patti Singer/Minority Reporter Media Group

North Clinton Avenue between Hoeltzer and Sullivan streets is scheduled for a facelift from 1 to 6 p.m. Sept. 15 as part of Reconnect Rochester’s Complete Streets Makeover.
Volunteers will install temporary traffic-calming and eye-catching elements intended to make the street more welcoming for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Street art and bright crosswalks, a “planted” road median, curb extensions and bump outs will be placed on the stretch of La Avenida. Volunteers also will make and install beautification elements including planters, sidewalk seating and public art. The installation will follow designs by the engineering firm Stantec.
Complete streets are rights-of-way that can be used safely and fairly by everyone. “At Reconnect Rochester, we believe the streets are for all people, regardless of their age, ability or mode of transportation,” Renee Stetzer, president of Reconnect Rochester, wrote in a news release. “Those who walk, bike, roll and ride along them every day deserve to do so safely.”
This section of North Clinton Avenue was chosen from 31 other locations nominated by the public for a makeover. The busy stretch is one of the most dangerous road segments for bicyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, people who use wheelchairs and other vulnerable populations, according to research sponsored by the Genesee Transportation Council.
Community members participated in a design session in the spring held at the Father Tracy Advocacy Center on North Clinton Avenue. Engineers at Stantec created a design that addressed what the community wanted. desires. Healthi Kids loaned the project rubber curbs, delineator posts, signs, sign posts and other elements from its traffic-calming library. It is also providing paint. The improvements will stay for several months as transportation officials conduct a traffic study.
Painting at the Sept. 15 event will be led by graffiti artist Zone from the Rochester graffiti collective FUA Krew. The event will include food for volunteers and music from Poder 97.1, a non-profit Spanish radio station owned by the Ibero-American Action League. A short documentary will be made of the transformation.
“Speeding cars have prevented families from walking, biking and playing in neighborhoods across the city,” Mike Bulger, healthy communities project coordinator of Common Ground Health, wrote in the release. “Improving road safety for all users through crosswalks, a street median, curbs and wider corners bump outs will slow traffic and make North Clinton Avenue more welcoming.”
Bulger said the makeover fits into the neighborhood’s vision of a Latin urban village and gathering place called La Marketa. The city of Rochester recently received funding to develop an international plaza on North Clinton to anchor La Marketa and serve as a multi-use public gathering space.
The International Plaza at La Marketa will transform a vacant lot diagonally across from St. Michael’s Church into a plaza for retail and outdoor use. Improvements include a bandstand, new landscaping, a public restroom, and will offer entry-level retail opportunities for small businesses in the area.
“Change has come to La Avenida,” said Rudy Rivera, executive director of the Father Tracy Advocacy Center. “The goal is to improve the quality of life for all who reside or travel through the Latino community.”