Potholes a concern for residents ahead of Lilac Festival

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Lilac Festival is quickly approaching, but neighbors tell News10NBC the roads around Highland Park are not looking too good.

Their main concerns are potholes and ongoing construction. Some of the trouble areas include South Goodman Street near Highland Avenue, and South Avenue near the Vietnam Memorial Park.        

The city said on Wednesday they are addressing the potholes ahead of the festival, and drivers shouldn’t panic. But some of that bumpiness due to construction, will not be paved.

The two-year construction project on South Avenue has been directly affecting Rebecca Secor’s business Untamed Nutrition, for a few years.

“They did tell us they were looking to be done in Fall of 2023, but that date has been extended quite a few times since we’ve been discussing it,” says Secor.

With the Lilac Festival less than two weeks away, Secor said she’s feeling nervous about drivers in the area. She’s worried residents may be deterred from coming to her business, due to bumpy roads.

“It gets absolutely like a mob scene around here,” she said. “Everybody parking, filling the streets up and down, there’s so many people around.”

The City Director of Operations Karen St. Aubian said construction will be paused for the festival, to allow residents to come in and out. But roads will not be paved.

“We don’t want to create any more cramping,” said Aubian.

She said they’ll also be upping staff in the next week, to address potholes near the park.

“So certainly we are all over the city,” says Aubian. “But we’re very tied-in to all the events, the Lilac Festival, any 5K runs, we’re always going out ahead of them to make sure they’re in the best shape they can be.”

Neighbors like Chris Murray have used the 311 number, where you can actually call and report potholes in real time. She said most of those calls were addressed.

“I have a 2008 Kia I’m nursing along. I tell you, I have hit some potholes, when I get back to where I’m going, I check my tires,” says Murray.

Most of all, she just wants out-of-towners to see the area for it’s beauty; not it’s bumpiness.

“I just love the area, I do,” she said.

A spokesperson for the city said they are closely coordinating with the Monroe County Parks Department, and the construction company for the project on South Avenue. They are hoping to conclude in Fall of 2023.

Here is an official statement from the Lilac Festival:

Rochester Events has been working closely with the City of Rochester regarding the 2023 Lilac Festival and the road construction on South Avenue and neighboring streets. The City will clean up any work being done on South Avenue for the duration of the festival, and construction activity will be minimized to lessen the impact on this exciting event!

We acknowledge congestion and traffic delays are likely. Therefore, we encourage festival visitors to utilize the available shuttle service at a variety of parking locations during the event. For shuttle schedules and the Highland Park Traffic Control Plan, visit Rochesterevents.com.

The city said they’re also encouraging festival goers to use shuttle services. That information can be found at rochesterevents.com under “guest info.” You can find a traffic control plan there as well.

More information on ongoing construction in the South Ave area:

  • South Avenue from Elmwood Ave to Bellevue Dr. – which is closet to Highland Park:

Work involves: Full depth reconstruction of South Avenue, from Elmwood Avenue to Bellevue Drive, including new water main, drainage structures, curb, pavement, sidewalks, signals, lighting, signing, marking, landscaping and other streetscape enhancements.

  • Further East on South Avenue from Elmwood Avenue to East Henrietta Road:

Work involves: Milling and resurfacing of existing roadway, spot road base repair, spot curb, gutter, sidewalk and curb ramp repairs,  and roadway utility adjustments. In addition, new bicycle facilities, bus stop landing pads, traffic loops, pavement markings, curb bump outs and mid-block crossings will be installed at select locations.