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2023 was a non-stop busy year at Reconnect Rochester as we worked on many fronts, both on stage and behind the scenes, to champion better mobility. Check out below the Top 10 things we’re most proud of accomplishing this year. 

We give thanks to all the people and partners who took part in these efforts by bringing your energy and gifts to this work — whether coming out for a community bike ride, being part of our latest street makeover project, reaching out with financial offers of support, or sharing the good word on social media. All of it counts in this mobility movement we’re building together.

Top 10 Things We’re Most Proud of in 2023

(In no particular order of importance)


Elevating Voices and Sharing Stories

This year, we stepped up our efforts to elevate human voices and stories about the joy and challenges of getting around by bus, on bike or on foot. We invited guest bloggers to share their mobility stories on our blog, everyday cyclists to contribute to our #ROCbyBike Instagram posts, and RTS riders to be part of our Voices of Transit blog series (you’ll hear more about that later).


Getting More People on Bikes in Monroe County

Through bike classes, tours, community rides and pit stops, we work to build bike community and to educate and inspire more folks to get on bikes. We’re always innovating and finding new ways to reach people. In 2023, we rolled out a custom bike route assistance service, offered new learn-to-balance & ride classes at City Rec Centers, developed a Bike to School How-To webpage, curated an exhibit on Rochester’s fascinating bike history, and generated buzz with #PizzaByBike photos on social media.

There are so many accomplishments we now have a TOP 10 CYCLING HIGHLIGHTS list if you want to check that out! These efforts are led by our rock star cycling manager, Jesse Peers.


Making Our Streets Safer

On June 10, Reconnect Rochester and our amazing team of partners came together to transform the intersection of Arnett Boulevard and Warwick Avenue in the 19th Ward. This project was our fourth Complete Streets Makeover, completing our ‘quadfecta’ of a project in every quadrant of the city. We published a full project recap in this blog, and as always, captured the magic in film and in photos to inspire other neighborhoods and communities to get out there and take back their streets. 

We followed up the project with our October edition of Rochester Street Films and a screening of The Street Project, a film about the national scourge of road violence and the fight to make our streets safer. The audience was moved by a powerful post-film discussion with 19th Ward community members who have suffered personal loss and taken action for change.


Deepening Our Community Engagement

One of our favorite things is to host quarterly Engagement Breakfasts, open to anyone interested in learning more about our work and plugging in. Every gathering brings a new mix of people, and fruitful connections and conversations. In addition to inviting people in, we are going to where people are, talking up mobility at meetings and events around the community. This year we also introduced Mobility Action Alerts as a new way to engage folks and let you know about real-time opportunities to take action.


Amping Up Our Advocacy

2023 saw us doing more than ever to champion better mobility, whether meeting with lawmakers on our virtual trip to Albany, weighing in on every major road project in Monroe County, rallying people to attend public meetingseducating the media about the language they use, talking up mobility at media appearances and speaking opportunities, or informing the electorate through our candidate questionnaire. Our goal is to be at every table where transportation decisions are being made, partnering with elected officials and holding them accountable for delivering better mobility for our community.


Celebrating Breakthroughs in Road Design

We spent a lot of advocacy energy this year weighing in on the City’s Active Transportation Plan and the Countywide Active Transportation Plan, with the hope that the vision and commitments in these plans will spur a new approach to road design in Monroe County. We saw evidence of that in our biggest win of the year when Monroe County implemented a road diet and installed bike lanes on Elmwood Avenue in Brighton, making it the first County road to have dedicated bike infrastructure. Several City projects have also raised the bar on road design that implements complete streets designs.


Outreach to RTS Riders

This summer, we launched a new Transit Ambassadors outreach program to find out what’s on the minds of RTS riders and gather their ideas for how the system could be improved. We learned so much to inform our own advocacy work, and we delivered the survey results with recommendations to RTS leadership to inform their decision making. We got to know 5 RTS riders especially well through longer-form interviews, and published their stories in a Voices of Transit ethnography series


Measuring Our Progress

How well (or not) is our community providing safe, convenient, and accessible transportation options for people living in Monroe County? We took a step toward answering this question with the selection and addition of 10 transportation data indicators to the ACT Rochester community dashboard. These indicators will help us track community progress, as well as our organization’s own impact. Next we’ll work to set targets and goals for transportation. Where are we now, and where do we want to be?


Raising Funds While Building Community

In June, we hosted our 2nd annual ROC ‘n Roll community bike ride. Over 100 cyclists came out, and we raised nearly $10,000 to help fuel Reconnect Rochester’s work. This annual fundraising ride is part of a larger strategy to diversify and expand our funding sources so we can sustain our growing organization, and we’re lucky to have Fundraising & Development Manager Lindsay Crandall on board now to coordinate the effort!


Building an All Star Staff Team

In 2023, we welcomed Lindsay Crandall (top right) and Cody Donahue (top middle left) to our staff team in the new positions of Fundraising & Development Manager and Director of Policy & Advocacy (respectively). This growth was made possible in great part by the continued support of Dr. Scott MacRae and a generous grant from the ESL Charitable Foundation’s Building Strong Neighborhoods initiative. 

More human power means more impact, and we are loving all the new and expanded ways we’ve been able to pursue our hopes and dreams for mobility in Monroe County.

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