High Falls Pedestrian Access Improvement Study

About the Project  

High Falls from Pont de RennesThe purpose of this project is to undertake a conceptual planning , design and feasibility study of potential public access improvements into and through the High Falls District and Genesee River gorge to include the proposed "GardenAerial" project (www.gardenaerial.org) as well as other adjacent public infrastructure and waterfront access improvements.

The study area for this project is bounded by the Smith St. Bridge to the north; the Inner Loop to the south; State St. to the west and St. Paul Blvd. to the east. The primary objectives of this project are to:

  1. Complete a preliminary planning, design and feasibility analysis of the proposed "Garden Aerial" concept in High Falls to include the evaluation of:
    • The current "GardenAerial" trail hub concept and options of a new pedestrian bridge over the falls
    • Options for trail components, design, location and connections
    • Options for minor Pont de Rennes improvements / enhancements
    • Other related and appropriate infrastructure improvement projects including enhancements to High Falls Terrace Park.
    • Potential impacts to any significant historic resources or building 
    •   
  2. Identify and analyze potential design options and "order of magnitude" costs for a river-edge trail from High Falls into downtown Rochester to include:
    • East side river trail access (potential river-adjacent or street access)
    • West side river trail access (potential river-adjacent or street access)
    • Potential connections to the Genesee Riverway Trail and other nearby trail segments
    • Potential impacts to any significant historic resources or buildings
     
  3. Analyze design options and "order of magnitude" costs for new permanent pedestrian access from the "GardenAerial" and the High Falls District into the river gorge to include:
    • Options for use of the Trip Hammer Mill site on the western rim of the gorge
    • Options for "switchback" trails into gorge
    • Options for reuse of the former RG&E Beebee Station site and Beebee Park (in the lower gorge) to provide public access to the waterfront and enhanced viewing overlooks of the falls
    • Potential impacts to any significant historic resources or buildings

Together this work will form a final "High Falls Pedestrian Access Concept Plan" that will contain preferred alternatives identified for each of the project components listed above, a punch list of future additional design and engineering studies or work tasks that will be required to complete phased implementation of the recommended alternatives, as well as maps and graphic visualizations of each project component.

Project Funding/Support

The total project budget for this study is $107,000 and is funded in part by a grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) through Title 9 of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) of 1993. Labella Associates, P.C. is the consultant firm that was selected to investigate possible alternatives for each task and conduct preliminary technical analysis of the feasibility of each alternative. City Planning / engineering staff will be providing 25% in-kind staff support throughout the project as a part of each work task.  

Project Advisory Committee

A project advisory committee, consisting of representatives from the City of Rochester, Monroe County, the High Falls Business Improvement District (BID), the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), the GardenAerial, and other community groups, property owners and stakeholders was established to provide input, review consultant work products, coordinate public outreach and assist in the preparation of the final concept plan.  

Project Documents and Information 

Documents  
High Falls Access Study Project Area  
High Falls Access Opportunities Map 
Project Advisory Committee Meeting #1 Minutes 
Project Advisory Committee Meeting #2 Minutes 
Project Advisory Committee Meeting #3 Minutes 
Project Advisory Committee Meeting #4 Minutes 
Bridge Concepts Under Consideration 
Draft Conceptual Access Plan 
Public Information Meeting Flyer  
Visualizations of Final Bridge Options 
Draft Report 

Public Participation

A public informational open house meeting displaying bridge design alternatives and potential pedestrian access improvements was held on September 1, 2015 to solicit community input and feedback for each component of the project. Attendees were provided the opportunity to comment on and rate each of the bridge design alternatives and proposed pedestrian access improvements. The input received at the public meeting was incorporated into the report which is scheduled to be finalized by Spring, 2017.  

High Falls Public Meeting Photo 1  

Tentative Project Schedule

Project Kick-off Summer 2014
Technical Investigation / Consultant field work Fall 2014
Project Advisory Committee meetings     Fall 2014- Present
Public Meeting       September 1, 2015
Selection of preferred alternatives Fall 2015
Review of Draft Report  by NYS Completed Winter 2017
Final Concept Plan / Project Completion Summer 2017

 

Questions / Information

For more information about the High Falls Pedestrian Access Improvement Study please contact Doug Benson, Project Manager at (585) 428-6824 or doug.benson@cityofrochester.gov .