News Release - Mayor Joins Community Leaders to Open Erie Lackawanna “Rails to Trails” Pedestrian Bridge Project Funded in Partnership with NYS Department of State

City of Rochester

News Release

(Monday, July 23, 2012) – Mayor Thomas S. Richards and City Councilmember Elaine Spaull joined University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and residents of Southwest Rochester today to celebrate the official opening of the Erie Lackawanna Pedestrian Bridge.

“The Erie Lackawanna Pedestrian Bridge further establishes our commitment to invest in the natural resources that give our city such an incredible quality of life,” said Mayor Richards. “For many decades, Rochester literally turned its back on the Genesee River. With projects like this, we are giving our residents and visitors new opportunities to experience the beauty of this river on a daily basis.”

“The University is proud to partner with the City, neighbors, community leaders and private developers on transformational projects and initiatives to revitalize and redevelop the areas surrounding the University,” said President Seligman. “The completion of this bridge, like the pedestrian bridge before it, is another physical embodiment of our collective efforts to enhance our connection with the city and its neighborhoods. We remain committed to connecting with and contributing to our community, and appreciate the continued collaboration that makes this important work possible. Today, we celebrate the many ways that the University and community are linked – now and for many years to come.”

The newly renovated Erie Lackawanna railroad bridge spans the Genesee River approximately 1.5 miles south of downtown Rochester, linking the east and west banks of the Genesee Riverway Trail and establishing a new access point between the University of Rochester River Campus and Southwest Rochester neighborhoods. It is intended to provide a catalyst for new development opportunities along the western bank of the river in the city’s Plymouth Exchange Neighborhood.

The bridge was originally constructed in the 1850s to carry the Rochester branch of the Erie Railroad and was enlarged in 1917 as part of the third enlargement of the Erie Canal. The structure showcases standard engineering and construction practices of the day and is considered by New York’s State Historic Preservation Office to be a cultural resource eligible for inclusion in the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Monday’s ceremony marked the completion of a $1.8M reconstruction project that was funded through a joint partnership between the City and a matching grant from the New York State Department of State, Division of Coastal Resources with funds provided under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund. The DOS’s generous contribution helped convert a once derelict historic structure into a true community asset.

City wins Bicycle Champion Award

During the celebration the City was presented with 2012 Champion Award from the New York State Bicycle Coalition in recognition of the City’s notable achievements in promoting bicycling throughout the Rochester Region.

The award honor’s communities that exemplify a willingness to invest in programs that improve the lives of cyclists, increase accessibility and support green initiatives


News Media: For more information, contact Commissioner of the Department Environmental Services Paul Holahan at 428-6855.