The Charlotte Plank Road



THE CHARLOTTE PLANK ROAD. - People residing on the plank road leading from the foot of Lake Avenue to Charlotte, complain bitterly that it is not kept properly in repair. That is usually the case with plank roads. The companies are very ready to collect tolls, but they seldom think it necessary to make the roads decently passable.- [Democrat.

This complaint is made not only by the people who reside on the line of the plank road but also by the people of the entire town of Greece who are obliged to use it coming to and going from town, and by thousands of citizens of Rochester who pass over it driving to the Lake. But there would be no cause of complaint against the Company if the Inspector had long ago performed his duty and either compelled its managers to keep the road in proper condition or throw open their gate. Lake Avenue is the right lung of Rochester, and will always be its finest roadway and driveway to the shores of Lake Ontario, and no Company should be permitted to hold the valuable franchise which allows the levying of a tax of twelve and a half cents for every single conveyance and a tax of twenty five cents for every double conveyance employed by a citizen to visit the lake shore or by a farmer to bring his produce to market without rendering a full equivalent. Every cent now taken from the public by this Charlotte Plank Road Company is bald extortion and nothing else, and it should not longer be submitted to. Who the Inspector of Plank Roads having supervision of this Charlotte apology for one is we do not know, but we call upon him to do his duty or resign

The fact is, plank roads are "played out". The report of the Secretary of State to the Constitutional Convention ( see Manual, part II, page 88) shows that the formation of plank road companies in this state commenced in 1847, and its footings are as follows:

Companies formed................ 352

Miles constructed.................. 3,563

Capital invested.....................?6,720,800

And this is the epitaph which the Secretary writes upon the enterprise: "It is believed that most of these roads were constructed, and that with very few exceptions they have been surrendered to the public many years since." One of these " very few exceptions" is the Charlotte road, and it has not yet been surrendered to the public simply becaust the public has been unmindful of its rights and interests and allowed itself to be swindeled by the concern.

When the street railroad company moved to lay their track from the city line, upon the northern brow of Lakeview, to the end of the M',Adam pavement at M'Cracken STreet, this plank road company claimed a prior right to the roadway and would not permit the rails to go down for what is a real and great public convenience. That company charges toll, as we are informed, over this portion of a city street which it does not keep in any sort of repair. The plank track at its terminus is wholly neglected, and the turnpike roadway has several boulders which nothing but the heaviest lumber wagons can pass over without injury. The public interest demands a good, free turnpike road from the city to the Beach and Harbor at Charlotte. The sandy base is laid all the way by nature, and gravel for its covering is in abundance. A little labor would make the roadway one of the finest and smoothest in the country, and once constructed properly the services of one man with a hosre and a cart would keep it in condition.