Archives for posts with tag: rochester

The tunnel becomes an organizational spine for a series of transfer opportunities [shown as red bars along the dotted tunnel line].  I have identified 3 unique conditions [in yellow] where each would have a different type of complexity, expansiveness and engagement to its adjacent community.

The following is a quick series of diagrams showing linking options for multiple transit networks.   For example, using the a hybrid of ramps to stairs to connect the rail line to the surface road.  Some examples emphasize the literal physical link between various travel networks, others begin to address the need for shelter at these links, but they all try to begin a common visual language in response to the various typologies of physical intersections so they can work together as a larger image throughout the city.


building_surface road_tunnel


highway _ surface road


railway_surface road


surface road_tunnel


railway_surface road_tunnel


highway_surface road_tunnel

The review went well and I received very helpful feedback for the project.  As I proceed, I need to consider the following:

In the diagram above, I’ve identified some downtown attractions [seen in red] and they are all located within, a very walkable, 1/2 mile of the tunnel [dotted line].   I propose to re-purpose the abandoned tunnel as a distribution spine for not only bringing and dispersing people into the city, but also creating public gathering spaces such as places for events seen in the example from last year’s World Canal Conference.  In other words, how could we make it an integral part of Rochester’s civic life?  We don’t want a corridor, but a series of places where people have the opportunity to linger and connect to the rest of the city.

This early diagram illustrates the abundance of parking lots and some vacant lots throughout downtown.  They are the result of the strong single occupant car culture of today.  How can we rethink this transportation structure and change the perception of these parking spaces as potential opportunities to engage the larger network of transit and civic life.  Are there specific places [i.e. the public library] in downtown that the tunnel could connect to because of its proximity?

The above diagram is in its early stages, but begins to show a set of physical conditions of network intersections found along the western portion of the tunnel.  To the left are potential actions that could take place given the type of intersection.  After the identifying the moments of connections along the tunnel, I will need to develop spatial and operational models for interchanges that transfer people from one mode of transit to another.  Are they stairs, ramps, elevators, or any other means?  The intersections will then become a series of prototypical hubs responses to found conditions, but when read together, begins to weave a larger idea of the city and how people traverse through and interact with it.   This kit-of-parts approach allows for flexibility within the systems even though there would be a couple of unique moments for anchors or special attractions along the spine.

In addition to the conceptual development [or abstract, as seen above] of connecting the various transit networks, there is the realistic and almost scientific side to this project.  That involves the differentiation between networks because of the inherent qualities of travel speed, transit type and transit goal of each system.  How do the connections reflect these characteristics?  What other operational programs are needed at these moments?

There is much work to be done and it will be an exciting and fast-paced month ahead.

My journey into the tunnel is condensed to this 9 minute video.  The conditions were much better than expected due to the city’s construction activity and equipment closer to the west end.   However, I still found remnants of the decaying past with “no loitering” stenciled text and crumbling stairs that died into the ceiling.


music | kangding ray

This was once the Erie Canal and then the Rochester Subway. Now it stands abandoned and unused, but it holds the memories and traces of those who dare to explore. While this portion of the tunnel will probably survive the city’s tunnel project, others may not [].

The US Census Bureau’s website is a labyrinth of useful data and is unnecessarily difficult to navigate.  Fortunately for us, NYTimes decided to help us out by visualizing the mystery information from the American Community Survey.  They’ve translated data into easily comprehensible maps and diagrams like many of their past data representations.  Take a look here and have fun exploring:

Here is a closer look at Rochester [click on the image to enlarge]:

Racial distribution | racially segregated [blue dots=black; green dots=white]

Income distribution | the lighter the blue, the lower the income

Change in Median Income | the darker the blue, the higher the decline

The problem of the traveling salesman is a useful approach to determine the most efficient [shortest length] routes to take within a given transportation network.  In this exploration, I used the streets of downtown Rochester as the network and all the intersections as start and end points of a desired route.

Giulio Piacentino with McNeel Europe created a Grasshopper component that attempts to solve this problem.  Here is the aerial image of downtown Rochester:

Below are all the intersections:

…and from the intersections is the network of street.  This network includes all the possible routes one could take  from any intersection to another.

The simple grasshopper definition below allows testing of almost an endless number of paths.

This animation demonstrates a selection of random start and end points [connected by a yellow line], and draws the shortest route from one to the next by following the streets [red lines].

Rochester | shortest street routes from 2 points from Jie Huang on Vimeo.

As the semester draws to an end, my project proposal has become clearer for my intentions of proceeding into a thesis for next semester.  I am interested in studying transportation infrastructures of declining post-industrial cities  and their potential to inform and create emergent systems for urban regeneration.  Although my investigations will consist of three parts:  transit connectivity, their intersections, and these systems’ influence on the city, the focus will be an intervention [or a series] at the intersection[s] of transit networks.  I’ve created an ideogram illustrating a glimpse of a potential transit station that would provide a new armature for Rochester’s downtown.

I found some information on the commuters of Monroe County [where Rochester is located].  Not surprisingly, the majority of commuters work commute 10-25 minutes away from home and most drive alone.  This is not a unique condition, but is prevalent all over this country.  Are there ways to shift that large number of drivers towards some other alternate modes of transport?  Could we alter the image and experience of these alternatives?  One place to start is to imagine a series of multi-nodal interchanges where various modes of transportation meet and become a point of intense intersections.  These could then connect and link to other smaller distribution and so on.  These points could also become attractors for the less occupied downtown and perhaps could one day become one of vibrancy.



information based on data from the US Census Bureau


My current interest lies in the intersection of transportation infrastructures, both historic and imagined.  They could support various modes of transportation as well as other support systems such as places of exchange and gathering.