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Rochester police prepare for influx of solar eclipse traffic, outlines intersections as area of focus

todayApril 1, 2024 2

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to arrive and be in the Rochester region for the upcoming eclipse, something folks can also expect: traffic, and lots of it.

Plans have been announced from the State and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office regarding how agencies are preparing for the surge of spectators. Monday afternoon, News8 was able to get an inside look at Rochester Police Department’s Camera Room, where about 150 of the city’s system comes into focus.

Captain Greg Bello explains most officers will be working a 12-hour shift on April 8th, adding one of the challenges includes having approximately 100 open positions within the department. Another concern: balancing traffic monitoring with the standard calls for any other kind of emergency service.

“Beyond the main sites, you’ve got an event going on at Innovative Field, there’s events going up at Charlotte Beach, there’s events going on at Parcel 5, at the Public Market, at the Rochester Museum and Science…those are the major ones. But there’s smaller events all across the city and all across our region,” Captain Bello says.

Officers will be stationed at some of those more heavily-attended event locations. Some will be on directing traffic in some intersections. Something helping to alleviate the pressure of being understaffed: access to State Dept. of Transportation cameras. RPD is working with the State Department of Transportation to use its cameras, as well.

“…[T]here’s officers out directing traffic at some intersections but there’s not a ton that we’re going to be able to. We’re going to be working hand-in-hand with the Department of Transportation that can now monitor and run a lot of these traffic lights within the city, themselves from the Command Center,” Captain Bello notes.

“[I]t’s going to be a partnership with our BlueLight cameras so where, now we can start to see how far back traffic is backed up at certain intersections versus just a view of that intersection.”

“A representative from our traffic unit is going to be there who has intimate knowledge of the way city streets work, the way traffic flows in some of our streets so we anticipate, the traffic signals running some of them from the Command Post to allow as many cars to get through as we can,” he adds.

With the widespread and far-reaching events permeating into various communities throughout our region, to prepare for patterns which largely remain unexpected can be difficult.

“You’re going to have visitors that might be staying downtown but then are going to events out in the county so they’re going to try to get back to the city after the event. But at the same time, you’re also going to have people from the westside of the city, for example, coming into the city for the events. So you’re going to have people trying to go both ways,” Captain Bello explains.

With traffic also sometimes expected to be bumper-to-bumper, there may be times emergency vehicles need to access a clear path.

“Have patience with us because when there’s gridlock traffic, as we all know, sometimes there’s no way for an emergency vehicle to get through in any sort of speed. So we’ve got officers stationed to shorten our commutes to calls as much as we can, but obviously people are going to have to have patience with us, as well,” says Captain Bello.

“Our officers need to get through that traffic as well so in terms of when people call 911 for emergency services, expect when there’s significant traffic that our officers and the ambulances and the fire trucks are going to — they’re going to be delayed, as well, trying to get to those emergencies,” the Captain adds.

Ultimately, the best way any travelers can help in the total community effort of achieving a successful event is to pay attention while out-and-about on the roads.

​ ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to arrive and be in the Rochester region for the upcoming eclipse, something folks can also expect: traffic, and lots of it.

Plans have been announced from the State and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office regarding how agencies are preparing for the surge of spectators. Monday afternoon, News8 was able to get an inside look at Rochester Police Department’s Camera Room, where about 150 of the city’s system comes into focus.

Captain Greg Bello explains most officers will be working a 12-hour shift on April 8th, adding one of the challenges includes having approximately 100 open positions within the department. Another concern: balancing traffic monitoring with the standard calls for any other kind of emergency service.

“Beyond the main sites, you’ve got an event going on at Innovative Field, there’s events going up at Charlotte Beach, there’s events going on at Parcel 5, at the Public Market, at the Rochester Museum and Science…those are the major ones. But there’s smaller events all across the city and all across our region,” Captain Bello says.

Officers will be stationed at some of those more heavily-attended event locations. Some will be on directing traffic in some intersections. Something helping to alleviate the pressure of being understaffed: access to State Dept. of Transportation cameras. RPD is working with the State Department of Transportation to use its cameras, as well.

“…[T]here’s officers out directing traffic at some intersections but there’s not a ton that we’re going to be able to. We’re going to be working hand-in-hand with the Department of Transportation that can now monitor and run a lot of these traffic lights within the city, themselves from the Command Center,” Captain Bello notes.

“[I]t’s going to be a partnership with our BlueLight cameras so where, now we can start to see how far back traffic is backed up at certain intersections versus just a view of that intersection.”

“A representative from our traffic unit is going to be there who has intimate knowledge of the way city streets work, the way traffic flows in some of our streets so we anticipate, the traffic signals running some of them from the Command Post to allow as many cars to get through as we can,” he adds.

With the widespread and far-reaching events permeating into various communities throughout our region, to prepare for patterns which largely remain unexpected can be difficult.

“You’re going to have visitors that might be staying downtown but then are going to events out in the county so they’re going to try to get back to the city after the event. But at the same time, you’re also going to have people from the westside of the city, for example, coming into the city for the events. So you’re going to have people trying to go both ways,” Captain Bello explains.

With traffic also sometimes expected to be bumper-to-bumper, there may be times emergency vehicles need to access a clear path.

“Have patience with us because when there’s gridlock traffic, as we all know, sometimes there’s no way for an emergency vehicle to get through in any sort of speed. So we’ve got officers stationed to shorten our commutes to calls as much as we can, but obviously people are going to have to have patience with us, as well,” says Captain Bello.

“Our officers need to get through that traffic as well so in terms of when people call 911 for emergency services, expect when there’s significant traffic that our officers and the ambulances and the fire trucks are going to — they’re going to be delayed, as well, trying to get to those emergencies,” the Captain adds.

Ultimately, the best way any travelers can help in the total community effort of achieving a successful event is to pay attention while out-and-about on the roads. Read More Eclipse LocalRochesterFirst  

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