Park Avenue- One of Rochester’s best Urban Neighborhoods

Park Avenue itself was first laid out in 1852 but did not assume its current form until 1875. Park Avenue became one of downtown’s earliest suburbs, filling out by the early 20th century. Decline began in the neighborhood as early as the Great Depression when many of the larger homes were subdivided into apartments. Revitalization efforts took off in 1969 with the creation of the Avenue Neighborhood Association in 1969 to focus on codes, preservation, and revival. Park Avenue, however, never experienced the same amount of decline as other Rochester neighborhoods and by and large retained its urban fabric and buildings.

Now Park Avenue is one of the most urban desirable neighborhoods in Rochester and especially caters to college or young professional. I would argue that the division of many large homes into apartments boosted its urbanity allowing more density and diverse housing options. Park Avenue hosts two attractive biz districts along Park Avenue (a collection of many urban nodes mixed with residential) and Monroe Street. Park Avenue also hosts decent schools, great cultural and retail amenities, great access to Dwtn , and is generally very safe.

Main areas where Park Avenue could improve include more park space. Yes, Cobb Hill Park is large and within a mile of the neighborhood, but there are really no other parks within the neighborhood. Racial and generational diversity is also very limited as this is a very white and young district. Public transit should also be much better considering how close Park Avenue is to Downtown and Monroe Street should have an overlay district to promote more urban and mixed use development to replace auto centric uses.

Click here to view my Park Avenue Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

.* Decent # of schools ranked moderately well. Several large specialty high schools here.
* Solid tree canopy and very safe district overall.
* Generally quality sidewalk and ADA infrastructure.
* Gorgeous historic architecture.
* Generally quality urban form in biz district. Monroe does have some auto centric spots but overall is pretty good. Park Avenue is great!
* Pretty vibrant district, especially for a midwestern City.
* Public transit is ok but pretty sub-par for an inner ring neighborhood.
* A couple north-south bike lanes but no bike share yet in the City.
* Excellent economic diversity.
* Even for a higher end district medium rent is quite affordable hovering around $1,000. A moderate amount of dedicated afford. units here.
* Only a handful of condos available. They sell in the 100Ks. 2 & 3 beds sell for anywhere btwn 200K-400K depending on size and condition. 3& 4-beds 200K-500K. 4 & 5 beds are a bit more expensive but top out at 500K.
* 1 bedroom rentals are a bit limited. 1-beds lease around 900K, 2-beds in the low-mid $1,000s, 3 beds in the mid to high $1,000s.
* Very good cultural amenities in Park Ave including many restaurants, bars, & cafes. Also many art galleries, a couple community theaters and convenient access to many museums in neighboring East Ave and Downtown.
* Retail amenities include 2 supermarkets, a couple drug stores, There are also several gyms, a rock claiming wall, tons of boutiques, home good stores, and dessert shops.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* The expansive Cobb’s Hill sits on the SE border of district. This an excellent park with lots of amenities but virtually no other parks exist within Park Avenue. For most residents this isn’t walkable.
* About 85% of the population is white so pretty poor racial diversity here. Not very many family households either.
* Public transit access is so . Very underwhelming for an neighborhood so close to downtown.
* Limited in-fill housing, and what exists is mainly auto centric.
* Okay racial diversity. Limited family households here.

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