Rochester's Inner Loop
This page is for all the Road Scholars on misc.transport.road who are intrigued by our little "vest-pocket expressway".
What is the Inner Loop?
- The Inner Loop is a very short, controlled-access expressway crossing the north side of downtown Rochester, New York. Together with a short stretch of I-490, it formerly completely encircled downtown. However, it is no longer a loop, as the section between University Avenue and Monroe Avenue has been closed and filled in to grade level to remove the impression of a "moat" between downtown and the neighborhoods to its east.
- Part of this route was considered as multiplexed with Interstate 490, although this was never shown on reassurance markers.
- The route was roughly oval, being wider (from west to east) than it was tall (from north to south). There is a significant recurve in the northeastern "corner" of the route, which remains at the terminus of the remaining spur route on the north side.
- The two junctions between I-490 and the Inner Loop proper occurred at the northwestern "corner" of the loop (the "western junction") and at the south side of the loop east of the Genesee River (the "southern junction"). Both of these junctions remain in place.
- The part of the Inner Loop that is not multiplexed with I-490 is sometimes mis-identified as I-490 on maps. It is, however, a distinct state highway, with Little Green Markers giving its "secret" route number as 940T.
- The same Little Green Markers give the length of the outer half of the Inner Loop as 2.2 miles, not counting the I-490 multiplexed section. The markers are numbered from the western junction clockwise to the southern junction. Presumably the removal of the "moat" resulted in a gap in the numbering, but as I no longer live in the area I can't verify this.
- Standard cardinal directions were used along the Inner Loop: east/west from the western junction to the northeast "corner"; north/south from Main Street to Monroe Avenue; east/west again from Monroe Avenue to I-490 (including the entrance to I-490 at Plymouth Avenue). North/south Inner Loop signs were not used on the west side of the Genesee since that is the I-490 section where Inner Loop reassurance markers were not used.
- Direction and arrow signs are colored (white on orange) to match the Inner Loop route marker.
- Exits are not numbered.
- Speed limit on the Inner Loop proper is 45 MPH.
What does/did it look like?
- From the western junction with I-490 eastbound over the northern side, the Inner Loop is elevated west of the Genesee River, paralleling a set of railroad tracks which cross the Genesee mere feet upstream of the Upper Falls. There's not much of a river view, however; the bridges are low (as the river is non-navigable here anyway) and the view downstream is obscured by utility wires and the rail bridge.
- After crossing the Genesee, the highway runs into an eastbound cut in the riverbank with high retaining walls. Turning south, the highway now terminates at a T intersection with Union Street south of University Avenue after passing under Main Street.
- The removed section descended into another cut with retaining walls, then climbed to meet I-490 at the eastern approach to the Troup-Howell Bridge. The ramps joining Chestnut Street/Monroe Avenue to I-490 at the southern junction have been reconstructed as an extension of Howell Street.
- As I-490 westbound joins the Inner Loop, and again after it crosses the Genesee, it turns northward for a short stretch. This stretch of I-490 has marked changes in elevation from one block to the next, and therefore has a speed limit of 40 MPH. At the end of its second northern excursion, I-490 dives into a deep bend to continue west, while the Inner Loop splits off at the top to head back toward the river.
Exits (Clockwise from the western junction)
- Plymouth Avenue/State Street (Accessible from I-490 East only)
- Saint Paul Street/Clinton Avenue/Joseph Avenue
- Scio Street
- East Main Street/University Avenue (Left Exit, No entrance)
- Union Street (Terminus)
- [REMOVED](NY 96) East Avenue/Broad Street (No entrance)
- [REMOVED](NY 31) Monroe Avenue
- (NY 15) South Avenue/Clinton Avenue (No entrance)
- I-490 East (Begin multiplex with I-490 West)
- Plymouth Avenue/Broad Street (No entrance)
- Inner Loop (End multiplex with I-490 West)
Exits (Counterclockwise from the western junction)
- Plymouth Avenue (actually an I-490 entrance, no exit here)
- (NY 15) South Avenue (End multiplex with I-490 East. No entrance)
- (NY 31) Monroe Avenue
- [REMOVED]Broad Street/(NY 96) East Avenue
- Union Street (Entrance only)
- University Avenue/East Main Street (Entrance only)
- Clinton Avenue/Saint Paul Street/Joseph Avenue
- State Street/Plymouth Avenue
- I-490 West (Begin multiplex with I-490 East)
- You can enter I-490 Eastbound from within the Inner Loop at the Inner Loop junction from Monroe Avenue, two separate ramps at South Avenue, Plymouth Avenue at Troup Street, and the Inner Loop junction at Plymouth Avenue. In contrast, you can only enter I-490 Westbound from the two Inner Loop junctions.
- Likewise, you can exit I-490 Westbound to within the Inner Loop at the two-lane Clinton Avenue exit or the Plymouth Avenue/Broad Street exit, but to reach downtown from I-490 Eastbound you must exit at the Inner Loop junctions.
- This indicates a strong bias in traffic patterns toward approaching downtown from the east rather than from the west. (The Brown Street/Broad Street exit takes some of the traffic to and from I-490 west of downtown, but involves a detour on side streets outside the Inner Loop.)