Archive for the ‘Background Stories’ Category

In Case You Missed It: Rochester Street Films

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Rochester Street Films at The Little Theatre. Thursday, November 19, 2015.
If you weren’t in the audience this past Thursday evening at the first-ever Rochester Street Films, well, you missed one heck of a good time. Maybe you got stuck in traffic and had to turn back. We get it, life happens. While we can’t recreate the energetic live panel discussions, we can at least share a portion of the event with you here…


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Background Stories, Cycling, Events + Meetings, Inspiration from Elsewhere, Pedestrian Safety, Public Transit, Streetcar Casestudies, Sustainable Neighborhoods | No Comments »

People Matter Most

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

Pedestrian Sign Park Ave [PHOTO: Mike Governale]
Posted by: board member Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at

All over the country, cities are implementing new street design and traffic calming measures to make neighborhoods safer and more accessible for all who use them. This is an effort to reverse some of the negative consequences of policies that for decades have prioritized cars above the people who drive them…


Think Big, Rochester

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

[PHOTO: Jimmy Combs]
Posted by: Matthew Denker, Advisory Board Member

Pop quiz! How much money does Monroe County contribute directly to the maintenance and operation of its road network each year? If you answered $13,000,0001 you are absolutely correct. If not, guess again.

So let’s imagine, for a moment, a future in which only half this money is spent on roads, and the other half goes towards other ways of getting around. What could we really get from this?


Moving Rochester Forward

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

[PHOTO: SM-Caruso, Flickr]
Posted by: DeWain Feller, Vice President

For decades, transportation planners were focused on moving and storing cars as efficiently as possible. The result today is that Rochesterians have become dependent on driving for virtually all trips. Homes, stores, offices, and industry have been moved outside of the effective reach of public transit. Our downtown’s dependence on parking has thinned out the core of our community until it has become a shell of its former self.

Today, many young singles (and empty nesters) are opting to do away with the expense of owning a car, and moving back into city centers. The cities that have shifted their transportation planning toward walking, biking, and public transit, are the ones that will capitalize the most…


Help Move Us Into 2015

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Reconnect Rochester needs your support to keep rolling in 2015. [PHOTO: John Derycke]
Posted by: Mike Governale, President, Reconnect Rochester

Have you been following Reconnect Rochester over the past few years? Do you like the idea of increased transit options and walkable, more vibrant neighborhoods? If so, please consider making a year-end contribution and keep us rolling into 2015…


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Background Stories, News, Things You Can Do To Help | No Comments »

ROC Transit Day Reflection: Birding By Bus

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

ROC Transit Day 2014 gives Rochesterians an excuse for a 'stay-cation'. [PHOTO: Jason & Stefanie Schwingle]
Posted by: Brenda Massie, Board Member and Secretary, Reconnect Rochester.

As July winds down, I find myself thinking about how summers in Rochester fly by. Already, one month has passed since our annual ROC Transit Day. This year brought new merchants and vendors, new fun events like the swing dance and treasure hunt; but more importantly, a new wave of enthusiasm for public transit.

As the Secretary of Reconnect, I sometimes find myself trying to convince people that using public transit can be an enjoyable and even fun way to get around.  I tell them if you ride the bus you may meet people and see things you may not have noticed if you were driving in a car.

So, when I received the following email titled “Birding By Bus” from a brave neighbor that decided to try the bus on ROC Transit Day, I felt inclined to share. These ROC Transit Day-ers used their passes to have an unexpected stay-cation and noticed some wonderful things about our City along the way…


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Background Stories, Events + Meetings, News, Things You Can Do To Help | 1 Comment »

Transportation Choices and the Impact on Our Community

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Posted by: Mike Governale

Mike Governale at TEDxRochester. Mike is a designer, blogger, and founder of a local public transit advocacy group, Reconnect Rochester. [PHOTO: Jeffrey Hamson]
Greetings. I’m Mike Governale, founder of Reconnect Rochester. I’m a graphic designer, originally from the NYC area and I now live in Rochester, NY. I have a deep fascination and love of cities – how they are formed over time and the way they continue to evolve.

Dense urban places have proven themselves, over tens of thousands of years, to be arguably the most sustainable form of human habitation. But over the past 70 years many cities—especially those in the U.S.—have lost this edge.

I write a blog, external link, that explores Rochester, “America’s first boom-town,” and how it suburbanized itself to near extinction. The site looks at the amazing physical and social history of this place. And what it needs to do before it can become urban, sustainable, and relevant, once again.

Last November I gave a talk at TEDxRochester. The talk focuses on how our transportation choices impact land use, and ultimately the health and sustainability of our community. I think the presentation serves as a good introduction to who I am and why Reconnect Rochester is so important to me…


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Background Stories, Pedestrian Safety, Public Transit, Things You Can Do To Help | 4 Comments »

Using Passenger Rail to Create a New Economic Zone

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Posted by: Carlos Mercado

The populations of Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Toronto are closer than we realize.  With good, high speed transportation links we become an economic powerhouse. [Flickr Photo: Calori & Vanden-Eynden]

Rochester, NY has about 1,035,000 population in its metro area; Buffalo is slightly larger with 1,124,000; and Syracuse has about 646,000. The combined metro population for the three major cities along the old New York Central Water Level Route is 2,804,000.

In terms of rank, Buffalo is 50th, Rochester is 51st, and Syracuse is 81st. As a combined area, we would become 19th largest, edging out Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, FL and just behind St. Louis. Nice, eh?


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Posted in Background Stories, Events + Meetings, Public Transit, Things You Can Do To Help | No Comments »

Rochester’s Inner Loop Offers a New Shot at Traditional Neighborhood Development

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Posted by: Bob Williams

Removing this enormous physical divide from our city's landscape will open up a world of possibilities for the reclaimed land, and the neighborhoods on either side of the rift. A blank canvas if you will. Before we put pencil to paper, let's go over some of the rules for good neighborhood design.Imagine a Rochester without an noose-like expressway dividing downtown-adjacent neighborhoods on the north and east sides. An obstacle to true connectivity for over 50 years, imagine the loop and its ramps filled in to grade instantaneously at the snap of your fingers. Naturally the next question arrives in our minds immediately, ‘How will we utilize this reclaimed real estate?’

Consider the example of Alexandria, Virginia. Originally platted in 1749. Six fundamental tenets of Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) differentiate this inviting river city from generic drivable suburbanism.If the goals are to reconnect severed neighborhood conduits, promote commerce, reduce car dependence, ensure ease of navigation, and foster a dynamic and vibrant streetscape, the answer lies not in a grandiose vision of the future, but more likely in our historic roots.

Consider the example of Alexandria, Virginiaexternal link. Originally platted in 1749 on land donated by Philip and John Alexander, six fundamental tenets of Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) differentiate this inviting river city from generic drivable suburbanism…


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Background Stories, Sustainable Neighborhoods | 1 Comment »

How Transit Options Make for a Cool Place to Live… Even Jersey

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

By now you’ve probably have heard of this thing called transit-oriented development (T.O.D.) external link. If you haven’t you might be living in a cave. Or you might live in Rochester. Sorry—cheap shot.

No worries, let’s get you up to speed with this quick video from the Streetfilms crew. It shows how investment in public transit, along with some zoning changes, has made the New Jersey Hudson River waterfront a new boomtown. The area has attracted some $5 billion in residential development since light rail came in.

According to Robert Cotter, director of city planning for Jersey City, “That’s a testament to transit-rich development… The communities that have access to fixed rail are going to be the richest in the coming century.”

Tags: , , , ,

Posted in Background Stories, Inspiration from Elsewhere, Public Transit, Sustainable Neighborhoods | No Comments »