…Okay great, now here’s an update. Since that article, traffic to RochesterSubway.com has doubled, our Facebook fan club has grown from 100 to over 400 (and counting), and my inbox hasn’t had a moments rest. This is all very encouraging and a sure sign that the people of Rochester really want to see their city thrive. The big question is; do the people of Rochester care enough to make an effort? All signs point to yes. So far we’ve got 12 people (including myself) who have risen to the challenge. Together we will lead a city wide movement to Reconnect Rochester.
Last Saturday morning, one day after a northeast blizzard moved thru our area, 5 passionate Rochesterians dug there way out of their homes and met me for lunch at Legend’s Bar & Grill. Against the backdrop of a bus-lined Main Street we introduced ourselves and got right down to swapping ideas about how we could help put Rochester back on track—pun intended…
Some people around the table already had years, if not decades, of experience advocating for rail transit in Rochester. DeWain Feller, Chairman of RRTC and Christopher Burns, CEO of Rochester Trolley & Rail Corporation have both led similar initiates in the past and freely offered up their experiences and sage-like wisdom. There was Phill B., a law student at UB who took time away from his studies to drive here from Buffalo. Bob, an electrical engineer who regularly blogs about urban development. And Matt Grammatico, son of powerhouse vocalist and songwriter Lou Gramm—no kidding. This group was off to a good start and within days of our initial meeting the group doubled in size.
Howard Decker, FAIA quickly accepted an invitation to help out. If you haven’t already discovered his great commentary on our city please check out his site A Town Square – Conversations About Where We Live . Howard has spent a lot of his professional life working on transit systems. He helped design Chicago’s unbuilt lightrail system in the early 90s, and worked on Houston’s most recently. He has also done transit architecture for subways, elevated and heavy rail.
Another notable member of our new group is Carlos Mercado. Carlos has been an active reader of RochesterSubway.com since the beginning and I was thrilled when he jumped at the chance to participate. He is a retiree from International Banking and has been a local rail transit advocate since the mid 70’s. A member of RRTC, Carlos once presented a concept for a Downtown Heritage Trolley Circulator to folks including Carlos Carballada, Economic Development Commish. His plan called for an initial two mile line from Kodak Office/High Falls on State St. to East and Alexander via Main St.
Fast forward one week and we’ve now got 15 brilliant members including architects, engineers, and city planners… people with experience in business, law, and marketing… people with a love for Rochester and a desire to improve it.
What It Means To Reconnect Rochester
Have you ever wondered why “dinner and movie” involves 3 car trips in this town? Or why all of our open spaces are filled with parking spaces? Maybe our great-grandparents had it right. What if walking really is good for us? What if two cars and free parking isn’t our God-given right? What if Rochester made an effort to (re)build on strategies that made our city great in the first place? Maybe it’s time to take a step back—into the future.
Reconnect Rochester supports the expansion of Rochester New York’s transit services and facilities, including rail, into a truly multimodal transportation network.
Through education and outreach, we will help create a broad base of support for our existing public transit system, shape regional policies to improve it, and reconnect our community in ways that improve personal mobility, urban vitality, environmental sustainability, and economic development.
Get Ready to Roll Up Your Sleeves
When you’re finished exploring our web site, don’t retreat back into your old routine. Go for a walk around your neighborhood. Ask yourself, “Has this walk been a pleasant one? What could be made better?” Then drop us a line. And find out what you can do to help Reconnect Rochester . And fan us on Facebook to keep updated. And tell your friends. Help us keep the ‘buzz’ going.