If you recall, last fall RTS asked for the community’s help to reimagine our public transit system. Reconnect Rochester shared many of our recommendations and over 11,000 of you participated by sharing your own ideas with RTS via online survey or at one of countless public meetings. Well, today we’re dizzy with excitement as the first “Draft” proposal has finally been revealed…
First, read the draft report here and visit http://reimagine.myrts.com/transit-plan for related documents and an interactive route map. RTS will be taking your comments through the end of June and community input meetings and popup information events are scheduled throughout the month of May. Don’t miss your chance to ask questions and weigh in!
Now, the Details…
As the proposal was just unveiled today, we haven’t had a chance to fully assess. However, at first glance the consultants appear to have addressed MANY of the service improvements we’ve asked for including higher frequency service with greater consistency throughout the day AND on weekends. Those were two of the BIG ones for us, as frequency equals freedom, and consistency means we don’t need to struggle to understand the schedules.
The report also prescribes a menu of capital infrastructure improvements (to be made over time) which should make service even more reliable and comfortable – things like covered transit stops, elevated platforms, signal prioritization and queue jump lanes to move buses more quickly through crowded city streets.
What’s being proposed may not be sunshine and lollipops for everyone. To make these types of service improvements, some people (less than 5% mostly in the suburbs) will lose service. But the end result looks very, very promising for the vast majority of current transit riders and our community on the whole.
Here is a look at the proposed network, and some key points below…
- 10 routes will be part of the “Frequent Network” with buses coming every 15 minutes, 6am-6pm on weekdays (30 minute service 5am-6am and 6pm-Midnight). Frequency falls back to 30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday and service will begin 1 hour later. The 10 routes included in the frequent network represent RTS’ highest ridership and most productive routes. This is completely new… currently there are no routes with this level of service. Stops on these routes will be spaced 1/4 to 1/3 mile apart.
- All other routes (with one or two exceptions) will have 30 minute service on weekdays (60 minute service 5am-6am and 6pm-Midnight). Frequency falls back to 60 minutes for most of these routes on Saturday and Sunday and service will begin 1 hour later. This “Local Service” will connect with and supplement the Frequent Network, filling gaps and extending coverage to areas warranting fixed route service. Stops on these routes will be spaced 1/4 mile apart.
- All routes have been streamlined to reduce travel times (fewer deviations from the main route).
- Areas that are not covered by traditional transit service (because there are not enough riders to warrant 40′ buses) will be served by a combination of other services yet to be determined (i.e. shuttles, van pool, car share, bike share, etc.). These areas are being referred to as “Community Mobility Zones” and the idea is that RTS will work with community partners (towns, businesses, institutions, etc.) to set up local transportation hubs. There is currently no plan for funding and details are sketchy at best, but RTS says they will be starting a Mobility Management Program study to figure out how best to structure these programs.
- There are 2 new crosstown routes (meaning they will bypass the Transit Center) with 30 minute service most of the day:
- Marketplace Mall to Skyview on the Ridge (aka Irondequoit Mall) via Culver Rd, Parsells Ave, Goodman St, MCC, & East Henrietta Rd.
- Elmridge Center to Skyview on the Ridge (aka Irondequoit Mall) via Ridge Rd.
- School routes remain unchanged.
Other Points to Consider:
- 33% of jobs in Monroe County (109,300) will now be within a 1/2 mile walk of the frequent network (today, there is no frequent network at all).
- 23% of residents in Monroe County (174,400) will be within a 1/2 mile walk of the frequent network.
- 64% of existing RTS customers will have access to the frequent network.
- Less than 5% of existing RTS customers will lose service (most in the suburbs).
What do you think?
Remember to attend one of the input sessions or take the online survey. And please discuss in the comments below. Reconnect Rochester wants to consider your thoughts as we begin to assess the proposal ourselves.