Thursday, May 31, 2012

NEWS BLOG: Do we need a new train station?

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 7:53 AM

I'm having trouble getting excited about the intermodal station.

The idea is to tear down the train station on Central Avenue, which was supposed to be temporary when it was built in 1978, and replace it with a new station that would also house intercity buses like Greyhound and Trailways.

The proposed design looks nice: it evokes the old Bragdon station and would certainly be an improvement over what's there now.

But the fact is, our train service stinks. Does it make sense to build a beautiful new station when we have so few trains running? Or when it takes you nine hours to get to New York City?

Because the train service is so bad, it's been tough to convince these intercity bus operators to locate in the new station, says Rochester Mayor Tom Richards. The bus guys see the trains as competition, he says, and not as a complementary use.

The hope, Richards says, is that the train service will improve to the point that the station becomes a draw. But the big plan to improve the service by building a high-speed rail system is going nowhere fast.

And I shouldn't neglect to mention that construction of the new station is not yet funded.

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