Environmental impact of filling the Inner Loop: real or overblown?

I can think of lots of reasons to fill the Inner Loop, as the City of Rochester is planning to do between Broadway and Charlotte streets. Not the least of which is: its a big pain that provides nothing to the city. Or that its dangerous – the city cites 87 accidents in a three year period. I’m all in favour of acing the thing.

But the city’s proposal and talking points include a curious claim: that filling the Inner Loop would be good for the environment. I’m all for improving the environment, but what exactly are the benefits?

Reading over the proposal, the city claims that, because residents would not have to drive on or around the Inner Loop to get to other parts of the city, the SYCHRO traffic simulator estimates a drop in fuel consumption of about 0.3%. How much is that? Well….. its about 6 gallons of gas. Not for your car. Total. For the year.

Hardly worth getting too excited about, is it?

Let’s not let that be the reason to lose interest in what is easily the most practical and worth-while project in recent Rochester history. But it would be helpful if the city would not make such disappointing claims.