Downtown Rochester residents say police barricades block them from getting home

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New barricades and lighting placed around intersections along Alexander Street and East Avenue have people who call those blocks home frustrated. They say the parking lots and side streets are cut off, and powerful LED lights beam into their rooms. 

Just north of East Avenue, two East Side Apartment buildings house more than 100 people. Many of them tell News 8 the crowd-controlling fences are a big inconvenience.  Others say an increase in foot and car traffic after pandemic lockdowns called for new crowd control measures.  

“It was a little bit hard to see if people were going to cross the street at any point in time for cars going past,” Axe and Ales Co-Manager Erik Muschinske told us. “Because people would just go whenever they wanted to and now it’s a little bit more organized because there are fewer cars going as quickly as they are. There’s also less foot traffic corralling people to go into safer areas.”  

But around the block as people who live in the neighboring apartment buildings come home or try to leave weekend nights the same fencing put up by police stands in their driveway.  

“They put the barriers right here across Shuart St. and all the other several small side streets in the neighborhood,” Chris H. at the East End Apartments said. “There is just no way to get in or out. We are just stuck.”  

Bar managers along East Ave. explain they were given a heads up on this practice earlier in the summer. Locals around the corner accuse the city of doing this without any notice.  

“They also do block off the alleyways so that if there are cars when police cars are not stationed, they can walk past those alleyways instead of having to go across the street,” Muschinske claimed.  

“It is tough to find a parking spot, it is tough to try to get out and in,” Chris argued. “And tough to go to bed at night on Thursday through Saturday night.” 

Problems also stem from powerful LinkTower LED lights meant to keep sidewalks well-lit for drivers to spot any jaywalkers. Residents say they go right into windows of apartments all night.  

“The lights are a huge inconvenience because we are sitting inside, and it looks like daylight inside our building,” Chris complained. “I would just like to get a good night’s sleep around here for once.”  

Along East Ave. bar owners explained police will also block off one lane going through this block with their cars to open more walkways. While helpful for them, residents argue they have complained about this to the mayor’s office but have not seen any change.  

We also reached out to the city who referred us to Rochester Police on why these practices are done. We have not heard back from the department. 

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