Lyell Avenue

East-west from the city's Northwest Quadrant into Gates
East - Smith Street
West - Spencerport Road and Lyell Road
Approx 5.3 miles

Lyell Avenue is an east-west main artery connecting the City of Rochester to the suburb of Gates. It has its eastern origins at the intersection Lake Avenue and State Street near downtown, where Smith Street turns into Lyell. It continues westward, entering Gates after it crosses the Erie Canal and finally ending at the intersection with Lyell Road and Spencerport Road (just west of I-390). The avenue serves as Route 31 during most of its length.

Overall, this is not one of the area's most attractive streets. The city portion of Lyell is walkable and has bike lanes, but is also seedy and rundown, surrounded by troubled neighborhoods, and notorious for prostitution, prompting a [WWW]Dear John campaign from residents and business owners. The east side in particular falls within the Crescent of Poverty. Numerous vacant buildings and empty lots inhibit retail concentration on this historically significant commercial corridor. The Gates side, meanwhile, is highly car-oriented and lined with bland suburban shopping plazas and their massive parking lots.

Urban Lyell Avenue is nevertheless recognized as a vital route for commerce and neighborhood amenities. The JOSANA Neighborhood Master Plan (see link below) recommends that commercial investment be focused on Lyell in order to build a cluster of activity, with nearby Jay Street evolving from a mixed-use to residential street. They have also identified Lyell as a potential future "Green Corridor," with Jay as a "Green Collector."

Lyell Avenue remains notable for its heritage as the center of Italian-American life in Rochester. Numerous Italian bakeries and restaurants can still be found along Lyell today. Intermixed are a growing number of new Southeast Asian eateries, reflecting the area's changing immigration patterns.

Not to be confused with nearby Lyell Road or the second Lyell Avenue in Spencerport.

Located on Lyell Avenue

City of Rochester

Lyell Avenue in the city forms the border between the following neighborhoods:

Located here, you will find (traveling west):

Major intersecting roads include Lake Avenue, Plymouth Avenue, Dewey Avenue, Broad Street, Child Street, and Mt. Read Boulevard. The Erie Canal marks the border between the city and Gates.


Major intersections are I-390 and Lyell Road.

See Also

Notes and References


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