Promenade at Erie Harbor – Bringing the Public Closer to Rochester’s Historic Water Infrastructure

APA New York Upstate Chapter


Wednesday, April 25, 2018
2:30 p.m. - 3 p.m. EDT

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The Promenade at Erie Harbor site is a compact urban park located on a riverfront site adjacent to South Avenue on the east side of the Genesee River, opposite Woodbury Boulevard in the City of Rochester.  The site includes the historic Johnson Seymour Mill Race and Genesee River wall.  The site is situated next to prime real estate, owned and managed by the Cabot Group, land owned by the New York State Department of Transportation, and the Dinosaur Barbeque.  The City of Rochester and Bergmann have implemented a project that includes construction of a formalized promenade, pedestrian bridge and park amenities in the public easement along the river. The promenade extends the Genesee River Trail, along this scenic and historic corridor from just north of I-490 to the Court Street Bridge. 

The Johnson-Seymour Raceway runs parallel to the Genesee River through the project site.  The raceway is an important historical feature that represents one of the only remaining operational raceways from the City’s hay day as the milling center known as “Flour City”.   The raceway was all but unrecognizable, far from the site lines of any passing pedestrians.  The site also includes others areas of historical importance including the Court Street Dam, entrances to the Rochester Subway, remnants of the former Lehigh Valley Railroad passenger station and the Court Street Bridge.  This project provides a riverfront promenade, bringing these historical features and the Genesee River into view for the public, creating a key missing link along the Genesee River Trail.

Some of the work related to the project involved hydraulic analysis of the Genesee River and Court Street Dam to ensure proper design of the Genesee River Wall reconstruction as well as the pier design for the proposed pedestrian bridge cantilevered over the Genesee River.  Hydraulic analysis was also performed to ensure the function of the Johnson Seymour Raceway, which still operates today.  The Raceway flows into the sub-basements of two buildings along the river: the Art Deco Rundel Memorial Library and RG&E Station 6.  The water flowing through the raceway is used to provide cooling for the library’s air conditions units in the summer and as an aesthetic resource as the water cascades out the side of the building back into the Genesee River.


Joe Vankerkhove

Invited Speaker


Krista Greer

Invited Speaker


Contact Info

Bill Nechamen,