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Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets

Crosswalk [PHOTO: Renee Stetzer]
Posted by: board member Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

In January, DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx unveiled the Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative external link. The goal is to address “non-motorized safety issues and help communities create safer, better connected bicycling and walking networks.” He called it the most comprehensive and forward-thinking initiative the DOT has ever put together on bike and pedestrian issues. It aims to engage transportation specialists, safety experts, leadership and the public to make streets safer for a variety of transportation options. And it recognizes the vital role biking and walking play in a reliable multimodal transportation network…

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People Matter Most

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

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…

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Think Big, Rochester

[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?

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Moving Rochester Forward

[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…

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Congress Introduces Safe Streets Act of 2015

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

Congress introduced a bill this week that will help streets across the country become safer for all people, regardless of their mode of transportation. With bipartisan support, The Safe Streets Act of 2015external link, was introduced by Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH):

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National Day of Advocacy Focuses on Transportation Infrastructure Funding

Rochester participates in Stand Up 4 Transportation Day; urging Congress to pass a long term transportation bill.
Story via: RTS

Today, RTS will join with the Genesee Transportation Council, and local leaders and transportation partners to participate in the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) nationwide Stand Up 4 Transportation Day.

RTS CEO Bill Carpenter will be joined by Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, James D. Hoffman, Chairman of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors and Genesee Transportation Council, and representatives from the Rochester Cycling Alliance, Reconnect Rochester, and other organizations for a rally at the RTS Transit Center on Thursday, April 9 at 11 a.m…

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Finding a Solution for Sidewalk Clearing in Rochester

Sidewalk off Mt. Hope [Photo: Brenda Massie]
Posted by: board member Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

It’s been a tough winter for anyone having to be outside in Rochester. Transit riders have to hike over ice encrusted snow drifts and stand in streets, because their stops are buried. Pedestrians have to wear crampons to trudge across the uneven icy places where sidewalks once were. Those who are less steady, have things to carry or have to walk with assistance, have been forced to use the plowed streets. Cyclists hold on as they brave traffic, since the bike lanes are no longer there. And drivers cautiously turn corners blocked by snowbanks higher than their cars, taking turns on residential streets with only enough room for one car at a time. But the people walking out in the elements have clearly been given the lowest priority of attention.

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You Can Support Increased Transit Funding in NY State

Now would be a good time to contact your State Senator and Assembly member to request that they support increased transit funding in the state budget. [PHOTO: RTS]
Story via: NYPTA

The State Senate and Assembly are in final preparation of their one house budget bills. If you’d like to see improved public transit service in NY state, now would be a good time to contact your State Senator and Assembly member to request that they support increased transit funding in the state budget…

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Available Positions with Reconnect Rochester

Reconnect Rochester is a young organization with lots of ambition and we’re looking for energetic, self-motivated individuals to help us grow. If you have strong leadership skills and a desire to give back to your community, drop us a line and request a meeting…

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Focus for a More Sustainable Long-Range Transportation Plan


Posted by: Bob Williams, VP of Advocacy

We are often asked at Reconnect Rochester questions regarding who is responsible for prioritizing transportation projects in our region and the process through which that is accomplished. The answer leads back to the 1962 National Highway Act which required all urbanized areas of greater than 50,000 population to form a Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO, for the channeling of federal funding to both individual projects and transportation programs.

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Grab your shovel, it’s time to Reconnect your sidewalk…

Who's responsible for clearing sidewalks of snow? All of us! [PHOTO: gam9551, Flickr]
Posted by: Brenda Massie, Board Member and Secretary, Reconnect Rochester.

Getting around during winter in Rochester is challenging — no matter what mode of transportation you choose. Subzero temperatures, snowy sidewalks, and dangerous street conditions become part of everyday life. As a pedestrian, it is especially hairy…

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2014 the Safest Year to Be a Pedestrian in NYC Since 1910

In June, the New York State legislature passed a bill to let NYC lower its default limit to 25mph. Lowering speed limits is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan. [PHOTO: Michael Tapp, Flickr]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

This month marks the one year anniversary of New York City’s ambitious Vision Zero campaign external link, a plan to eliminate traffic fatalities by the year 2024.

As part of the effort external link, traffic calming and street design measures were implemented, bike lanes were expanded, speed cameras were installed in school zones, the citywide default speed limit was reduced to 25 mph, arterial slow zones were established, public education and awareness were ramped up and the NYPD significantly stepped up enforcement and ticketing for traffic violations. It’s an effort that requires all people, regardless of how they traverse those streets to rethink how they drive, walk and ride about their daily lives. It requires a shift in the culture of getting about in NYC, which is no easy task.

So, one year later, is the campaign making a difference?

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Art of Conversation

A new Transit Center began operating, demolition began on the old Inner Loop, and a 1000-bike sharing system may soon launch, along with hundreds of other projects in the region. What should we make of them or of others not planned?

In the early days of Reconnect, we shared more ideas, news, and opinion around a table, but nowadays a tight agenda occupies our meetings. Though smaller workgroups have formed, they’re tasked onto specific projects. In so, we miss larger opportunities to connect from wider ideas and to form new ones, and thus #innovate. Salons let us rejuvenate some of this early energy.

Conversations in a salon need not focus on our projects, or projects around the region, nor even transform into action. They may wander onto tangential topics. This keeps the conversation fresh, and also opens the floor to others who might not otherwise participate in monthly salons about transportation or land-use reform.

Salons practice an art of conversation, of listening and sharing ideas. Convened in a space comfortable for ten to twenty, and hosted historically by educated patronesses of a royal court, they’ve taken form this century convened by inspired hosts. Help us revive the form.

* Or use the form directly and you can revise your response later.



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City Council Approves Additional Red Light Camera Study

Do Red Light Cameras Make Rochester Streets Safer? [PHOTO: Yousuf Fahimuddin]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

Last week, the City Council approved further study of Rochester’s red light camera program. This isn’t a brand new study, but an expansion of the study that was released in November. The results of that study indicated a reduction in the number of accidents at 22 intersections external link that have red light cameras. Two intersections had no changes in the collision rates before and after the cameras were installed. And 8 intersections had an increase in the number of collisions. Those 8 intersections are the subject of the expanded study, as well as whether the cameras could be tied into traffic signals to help reduce operation costs…

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Parking Summit This Wednesday

The City of Rochester will hold a public Parking Summit this Wednesday.
Posted by: Mike Governale, president and co-founder of Reconnect Rochester

This Wednesday, 5:30 – 7:00pm at the Penthouse (1 East Avenue – 11th Floor) you are invited to attend a Downtown Parking Summit external link hosted by the City of Rochester. But this is not a meeting to discuss how we create more parking. We’ve tried that before, and it nearly killed our city.

Reconnect Rochester recognizes the importance of having an adequate supply of downtown parking. However, we believe parking should be one component to a much larger, diverse plan to improve access to downtown…

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Join Roc Improvement Society & Reconnect Rochester at Scotland Yard Pub (1/27)

Join Roc Improvement Society & Reconnect Rochester at Scotland Yard Pub, Tuesday (1/27) at 6:30pm.
Posted by: Mike Governale, president and co-founder of Reconnect Rochester

On Tuesday, January 27 at 6:30pm, Reconnect Rochester will get together with the Rochester Improvement Society for food, drinks and thoughtful conversation at Scotland Yard Pub. We’d love to see YOU there!

For $5 you’ll get pasta/pizza, a free beer, and entry into an awesome raffle drawing. Raffle prizes include a Hart’s Grocers gift card, a Rochester T-shirt package, framed poster/prints from RochesterSubway.com, and tickets to Landmark Society’s 2015 Inside Downtown Tour. See the prizes here.

You can pay at the door, however, we have less than 50 spots remaining. Order your tickets online now and don’t miss out!

See event details…

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Help needed this week on restoring the transit commuter benefit

Your help is needed this week on restoring the transit commuter benefit.
Via: National Alliance of Public Transportation Advocates (NAPTA)

The Commuter Tax Benefit program allows commuters the opportunity to pay for a portion of their commuting expenses with pre-tax dollars. As of January 2014, federal tax law allows commuters to set aside $250 for qualified parking expenses (an increase over the previous year). But workers who use public transit saw their monthly limit shrink from $245 to $130 per month.

This imbalance in the tax code means that transit users could pay as much as $565 in higher taxes annually, while creating a perverse favoritism in the tax code for automobile commuters. As fellow transit advocates, we need you to email your Members of Congress external link and ask that this commuter tax imbalance be fixed…

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Bus Stop Cubes Are Winning Community Support

Reconnect Rochester's bus stop cube seats are winning support from the community, including RTS and The Strong Museum of Play.
Posted by: Mike Governale, president and co-founder of Reconnect Rochester

Last month we unveiled an idea to put seating at area bus stops. Our little CUBE seats have since garnered local external link and national external linkattention, and we’ve also been approached by The Harley School, Rochester Community Design Center, and The Strong National Museum of Play about partnering to make this idea a reality! Today, Rochester Transit Service (RTS) official threw their support behind the cubes as well…

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