A new city bridge spanning the Zumbro River at the intersection of South Broadway Avenue and Sixth Street is proposed as part of a Downtown Waterfront Southeast district.
The city-adopted vision for the 61-acre district, which includes the former AMPI and Kmart sites, calls for the development of new homes, retail space and related infrastructure.
The consulting firm, Perkins and Will, which helped the city create the district’s small-area plan is developing a concept for the bridge, which could range from pedestrian-only access to something capable of handling all modes of transportation.
“The work we are doing right now is fairly conceptual,” said Jay Demma, a senior planner with Perkins and Will.
Here are six things to know:
1. Kmart/AMPI owners say the bridge is needed for access
Pat Regan, president of Camegaran LLC, which owns the former Kmart and AMPI lots, told the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission earlier this year that the bridge is an important addition for future development.
“The Sixth Street bridge is absolutely critical in our view, especially for the full rehabilitation of the AMPI building in particular,” he said when the small-area plan was developed.
The proposed bridge could end up being a link between downtown Rochester and hundreds of new housing units proposed by the Downtown Waterfront Southeast small-area plan.
The small-area plan shows the potential for several cross streets through the district, traveling north and south as well as east and west, with roundabouts to help manage traffic flow.
2. Traffic mitigation is being considered
Rochester resident Doris Amundsen and other Slatterly Park neighbors have cited concerns about the potential for increased traffic on residential streets east of the new waterfront district.
“I have a problem with a lot of vehicle traffic, because we are a city of health and wellness encouragement,” she said.
Rochester project manager Jarrett Hubbard said traffic studies are underway as part of Perkins and Hill’s $284,990 contract. The studies are looking at potential Sixth Street traffic impacts between the planned Discovery Walk on Second Avenue Southwest and the existing Bear Creek Bridge, as well as effects on surrounding streets.
3. Access to river is expected to be part of bridge plan
The Downtown Waterfront Southeast small area plan proposes increasing public access on the east side of the Zumbro River, and Perkins and Will principal-in charge John Slack said the bridge will play a role in that.
4. A co-design team has been established
Eight Rochester residents have been tapped to form a community co-design group for the bridge project.
Hubbard said the group was created through coordination with the Rochester Diversity Council to provide a variety of insights. The team will meet with key stakeholders and other interested groups.
5. Bridge proposal is seeking federal and state support
The city has applied for a U.S. Department of Transportation grant of $1.3 million to help fund the bridge design work. The city also plans to ask state lawmakers for a yet-undetermined amount of funding.
An online photo survey created by Perkins and Will asks participants to rate examples of what could be considered for the bridge. The survey is at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RGBB6PR.
Another online survey is at https://polco.us/sk6g34.
Project information is at https://tinyurl.com/vdta62w.