I just came back from my trip to the City of Edmonton, Canada. After visiting the city, I just could not help but make comparisons to our home city of Rochester. It is rather surprising that two different cities in two different countries can have so many similarities in terms of geography, terrain and climate, but vastly different city life and culture.
If we look at the map of Edmonton and Rochester, they are uncannily similar. River Saskatchewan bisects City of Edmonton, Genesse River bisects City of Rochester, they both have continental climate, pretty much the same elevation, although Edmonton is a little higher. Also the placement of the downtown relative to the University is quite similar.
If the similarities are profound, the contrast is even more startling. I explored the city of Edmonton on a winter morning in February in temperatures as low as -10 ° F. If it was Rochester, I would not imagine even getting out of my car. The reason I was able to navigate Edmonton and the University of Alberta with relative ease is because of the city’s wonderful public transportation network. It is a very well organized system with a combination of bus service, a Light rail transit system and well designed pedway systems. The place seemed thriving and active even on a brutally cold day.
Rochester too has a lot to offer in terms of its culture through its festivals, music scene and sporting events, but the amount of people seen on the roads is fairly small owing to the lack of a comprehensive public transportation system. Clearly, that is an area of priority investment for it should help the economy by creating jobs and also bring back life and vitality to Rochester.
Posted by Nimisha Thakur, Preservation Associate