Don't remove the Broad Street roadway
The city recently announced plans to renovate the North Terrace of the Rundel Library with funding coming from New York State. Additional projects related to the Genesee River are included in the "ROC the Riverway" proposals. These projects include a plan to reconfigure Broad Street for public use.
To gather citizen input and provide advice about which additional ROC the Riverway projects should be prioritized for funding, an advisory committee held events to obtain public input and has submitted its priorities to Governor Cuomo for his approval before public release.
We are members of a citizens group called Broad Street Underground, and we endorse the city's plan for the North Terrace of the Rundel Library, with some minor suggested modifications. We believe that the plan for the terrace will fit well with future plans for developing the Broad Street Aqueduct as a weather-protected indoor space, a large open space that runs under the Broad Street roadway and the North Library Terrace.
In Rochester's history, the Aqueduct has served as part of the Erie Canal flowing through downtown Rochester and later as the bed of the Rochester subway system. The space has great historical value and potential for the development of an enclosed community space, crossing the Genesee River, in downtown Rochester.
The city's ROC the Riverway vision calls for the removal of the Broad Street roadway (the "deck"). This would assume that the future development of the Aqueduct will be as an open-air space. That would make the Aqueduct susceptible to the elements in Rochester's harsh winters and would preclude a weatherized connection between the Convention Center and the Blue Cross Arena.
Serious thought should be given to the idea of not removing the Broad Street roadway. Removal of the deck would eliminate an important east-west thoroughfare and thereby increase automobile congestion on Main and Court Streets.
By leaving the deck in place, the protected space within the Aqueduct could be developed for public and private uses, much like the successful Toronto and Montreal undergrounds.
This all-weather interior space would be used by both residents and visitors, to attend year-round events. Displays could document Rochester's rich history and the region's current role in technical leadership in photography, optics, and photonics. Vendors could be sought to establish appropriate businesses to attract visitors to the Aqueduct as a tourist destination.
We believe that this vision for the reuse of the Aqueduct under Broad Street is enhanced by the current proposal for the renovation of the library's North Terrace space.
If you would like to support the effort to keep the deck on Broad Street, please send your comments to the city's advisory committee at cityofrochester.gov/roctheriverwayinput/ or to Broad Street Underground at email@example.com.
LEWIS CHILDS, JOHN THOMAS, AND ANDREW DONIGER
Take a stand for the children
Between 1938 and 1940, the British government rescued thousands of refugee Jewish children from Nazi Germany under the name Kindertransport. Britain had changed its immigration policy as a result of Kristallnacht, the beginning of the pogrom attempting to destroy the entire Jewish population of Europe. However, in 1940, surprisingly, many of these children were then placed in internment camps as enemy aliens.
In February 1939, the US Congress refused to allow the admission of 20,000 Jewish children from Germany. And on June 3, 1939, FDR denied admission of the 937 Jews who left Germany on the infamous voyage of the ocean liner St. Louis, leading to the eventual murder of all but 278 in the Holocaust.
President Trump ordered the removal of children from their parents when they crossed the US-Mexico border seeking refuge from violence, poverty, and environmental change.
In June, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the most common avenues to asylum would be permanently closed. Although domestic violence and gang violence have been declared a major danger in the US, immigrants fleeing that violence would no longer qualify for safety in this country.
Former First Lady Laura Bush has declared: "I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart. Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities." And even First Lady Melania Trump has pleaded for compassion.
When societal morality breaks down in the name of election politics, ethical standards are trampled. People are permanently damaged or even killed and we, as a nation, hide behind false rhetoric, falsely quoting the Bible and touting our human rights to deny safety to others.
We need to take a stand, because our Congressional representatives remain impotent. We must demand that Congress stop this barbarism now and limit Mr. Trump from continuing to inflict harm on the most vulnerable of people.
JOHN L. GHERTNER
Donating isn't enough
So many groups communicate via the internet asking for financial support to further the objectives of Democrats, liberals, progressives. Apparently, many of these appeals are successful, and they keep on rolling. Maybe some of us donate now or then and figure we've done our bit.
Many of us are good at turning deaf ears, quick to disconnect, meaning to do something but then get distracted. But we, the people, must make the phone calls, write the letters, go out and demonstrate if we can, volunteer as much as possible, to extend and develop our humane, creative responses to the poisons of Trump and his people. We can never do enough.
Our big troubles are not going away yet.