Rochester's updated bike ordinances

On September 17th, the Rochester’s City Council approved changes to the city code in regard to bicycles. The bike ordinances hadn’t been updated since the 1960s! For a full listing, see below. Of particular note is an official prohibition for cars parking in bike lanes. The city is being very upfront that enforcement will be soft and gradual and that there must be some efforts towards changing the culture and educating motorists before the prohibition is strictly enforced. The RCA and Reconnect Rochester are eager to collaborate with the city on that educational work. In the meantime, go ahead and thank council members for moving us in the right direction.
 
Amending the Municipal Code with respect to bicycle riding and bike lanes
BE IT ORDAINED, by the Council of the City of Rochester as follows:
Section 1. Chapter 34 of the Municipal Code, Bicycles, as amended, is hereby further amended to:
a. Revise Section 34-1, Definitions, to read as follows:
BICYCLE: Every two or three wheeled device upon which a person or persons may ride, propelled by human power through a belt, a chain or gears, with such wheels in a line or tricycle arrangement.
BIKE LANE: The portion of a roadway that has been delineated and marked for the use of bicycles, not including any lane specifically marked for the shared use of bicycles and motor vehicles.
CENTRAL TRAFFIC DISTRICT: The area bounded by the Inner Loop, North Union Street, South Union Street, Howell Street and Interstate 490, but shall exclude the Inner Loop, Interstate 490 and their respective frontages.
CYCLE TRACK: A pathway in the public right-of-way that is physically separated from motor vehicle traffic and distinct from the sidewalk and that is marked for the use of bicycles. A cycle track may be configured for one-way or
two-way traffic.
b. Revise Section 34-6, Regulations, to read as follows:
A. Bicycle riding rules for persons 12 years of age or under. Unless accompanied by a rider over 18 years of age, children 12 years of age or under shall ride bicycles on the sidewalk, cycle track, Genesee Riverway Trail or other multi-use trail.
B. Bicycle riding rules for persons over age 12. Persons over 12 years of age shall ride a bicycle either on a usable bike lane or cycle track or, if a usable bike lane or cycle track has not been provided, near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right-hand shoulder in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic except when preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along the bike lane, cycle track or right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. Conditions to be taken into consideration as potentially unsafe include, but are not limited to, fixed or moving objects, motor vehicles, in-line skaters, pedestrians, animals or surface hazards. Within the Central Traffic District, persons over 12 years of age shall not ride a bicycle on the sidewalk except where the sidewalk is identified as part of the Genesee Riverway Trail or other multi-use trail system, or if riding with a child 12 years old or under, or if reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions in a bike lane, cycle track or roadway. Outside of the Central Traffic District, persons over 12 years of age may ride bicycles upon the sidewalk, Genesee Riverway Trail or any multi-use trail. The prohibition against riding bicycles upon sidewalks in the Central Traffic District shall not apply to police officers in the performance of their duties.
C. Yield to pedestrians. The operator of a bicycle shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when using the sidewalk.
D. Riding in groups. Bicycles shall not be ridden more than two abreast upon a roadway. Persons operating bicycles upon a shoulder, bike lane, cycle track or sidewalk may ride more than two abreast if sufficient space
is available. When passing a vehicle, bicycle, in-line skater or a pedestrian, persons operating bicycles shall ride single file.
E. Passengers and towing. No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped. The operators of bicycles shall not pull another person on skates, a skateboard or similar device and shall not pull or tow a sled, wagon or other item unless by the use of a bicycle trailer, trailing bicycle or other device designed and intended to be connected to a bicycle for that purpose.
F. Maintaining Control. Operators of bicycles must keep at least one hand on handlebars and both feet on pedals. The obligation to keep both feet on the pedals shall not apply to an operator who is unable to do so due to a condition or impairment that constitutes a disability within the meaning of federal. state or local law.
Section 2. Chapter 111 of the Municipal Code, Vehicle and Traffic, as amended, is hereby further amended to add a new subsection to Section 111-24, Standing or parking prohibited in specified places, to read as follows:
No person shall stand or park a vehicle, except momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger or passengers, or when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or traffic control device, in any of the following places, unless otherwise indicated by official signs, markings or parking meters:
E. Within a bike lane, a cycle track or a trail designated for bicycles or mixed uses.
Section 3. This ordinance shall take effect immediately.

Image courtesy of New York DOT

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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: a place to rest while you wait

Reconnect Rochester is aiming to come up with a solution for the lack of seating at bus stops in our region.
Posted by: Mike Governale, president and co-founder of Reconnect Rochester

Anyone who has ever used public transportation in Rochester is painfully aware of two things: At some point will have to wait for your bus, and when you do, you will probably be standing. But now, Reconnect Rochester is aiming to come up with a solution…

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NEW Board Members: Welcome Renee Stetzer and Phillip Borrelli

We are super excited to announce the addition of Renee Stetzer and Phillip Borrelli to the Reconnect Rochester Board of Directors!

• • •

Renee Stetzer

Renee StetzerRenee Stetzer will serve as head of Reconnect Rochester’s Pedestrian Safety & Complete Streets committee and has already begun to lead community efforts on this front.

Renee is a public relations and branding professional with over 15 years experience in the communications industry. She started her career as an analyst and holds a Masters Degree in Strategic Intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College. She worked for Fleishman-Hillard International Communications in Washington DC for many years before relocating to Rochester, where she provides PR, social media and research support for an online marketing firm and a local food organization. She is a pedestrian advocate and co-founder of Rocville.com external link, an online community resource devoted to improving the quality of urban life for Rochesterians by advocating for more walkable, vibrant neighborhoods.

She currently serves on the board for The Horizons Student Enrichment Program, a summer learning program for low income City of Rochester students. She is an avid runner and swimmer. And she’s a big fan of vegetables and front porches.

• • •

Phillip G. Borrelli

Phillip G. BorrelliAs a Rochester NY-based attorney, Phillip Borrelli has served Reconnect Rochester in an advisory role since the group’s inception. He has since successfully guided the organization through the process of establishing its non-profit status.

Phillip focuses his practice on affordable housing, and historic preservation. Phillip is a graduate of SUNY at Buffalo School of Law and is admitted to the New York State bar. In 2012, Phillip opened his own law practice, and in 2014 he partnered with Jason Yots to form Borrelli & Yots PLLC external link.

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Help Move Us Into 2015

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…

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RTS Unveils Bus Stop Changes

RTS has announced several changes, including new bus stop signs and route numbers. [IMAGE: Rochester Transit Service]

RTS on Thursday announced several changes to its bus routes and stops. Changes to routes and route numbers will be made in conjunction with the opening of the RTS Transit Center on November 28, 2014. In addition, new bus stop signage will be installed system wide in 2015. Here’s what you’ll need to know…

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Dear Congress… PLEASE Pass a Long-Term Transportation Bill Now

Congress needs to develop and pass a long-term authorization and funding bill before the short-term bill expires next May. [PHOTO: Sam Newman]
On July 31st, Congress approved legislation to avert the insolvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which provides funding for federal transit and highway programs. This short-term or “patch” bill provides approximately $10.8 billion in revenues to the HTF and extends the authorizations for federal transit and highway programs funded from the HTF through the end of May 31, 2015.

This means that Congress still needs to develop and pass a long-term authorization and funding bill before the short-term bill expires next May. In the meantime, your help is needed to keep the pressure on Congress to pass a comprehensive, long-term transportation bill – especially one that supports a stronger commitment to improve public transportation across America.

Take action:

Contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives and tell them to pass a long-term bill that provides increased, predictable funding for federal transportation programs. You can generate a letter to your Congressional delegation here external link

And please, share this with your transit-loving friends!

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RTS Will Propose Suburban Park & Ride Route Changes

Park & Changes are coming. [PHOTO: RGRTA]

Customers and community are invited to weigh-in about proposed improvements at Information Sessions and Public Hearing.

RTS is proposing changes to all Suburban Park & Ride routes and is inviting the public to ask questions and provide feedback at two Information Sessions and a Public Hearing…

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Design-build team selected for Rochester’s new intermodal station

A team of contractors led by The Pike Co. Inc. has been designated to design and build the new intermodal transportation center in Rochester, N.Y.
A team of contractors led by The Pike Co. Inc. has been designated to design and build the new intermodal transportation center in Rochester, N.Y., New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald and U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) announced yesterday.

In addition to Rochester-based Pike, design-build team members include LaBella Associates, Kisan Engineering, Moffat & Nichol Engineering, Foundation Design, Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect and Atlantic Testing Laboratories.

A final contract and cost will be negotiated this summer, NYSDOT officials said in a press release. The agreement requires the state attorney general and comptroller’s approval.

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Rochester’s transit system – in the palm of your hand

The new RTS 'Where’s My Bus?' mobile app is now available!
A new RTS mobile app is now available for download in the Google Play Store external link and Apple iTunes App Store external link.

The app was first introduced to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) community in February and is now being rolled out to the full RTS ridership. In a statement sent to Reconnect Rochester, RGRTA said, “We received great feedback from students at RIT which allowed us to incorporate additional features to this version of the RTS Where’s My Bus? mobile app.” The resulting app is a reliable and convenient tool that will make the bus riding experience easier than ever. Here are some of its features…

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Get FREE ROC Transit Day Fare Cards for Your Organization

Get FREE ROC Transit Day Fare Cards for Your Organization
For ROC Transit Day 2013 we gave away nearly 1,000 transit fare cards and asked Rochesterians to ditch their cars for one day in support of a healthier community. 30 different forward-thinking organizations external link (and many intrepid individuals) pledged to ride public transit that day.

This year ROC Transit Day external link is Thursday, June 19, 2014. All kinds of free fun and great deals external link will be available for anyone who leaves their car at home and uses public transit for the day.

To request FREE all-day fare cards for your organization…

Simply use this form external link or contact info@ReconnectRochester.org or 585-354-3232.

But hurry, we only have a limited supply and these babies go quickly. First come first serve.

And remember, public transit, walking and biking are healthy options for our bodies and the Rochester community. So get onboard!

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ROC Transit Day is important! But you don’t have to take my word for it…

ROC Transit Day is important. But don't take my word for it. Watch the video and hear what these young professionals have to say about it.
The days are getting longer, and (slowly) the air is getting warmer. Soon enough the sweet scent of Lilac will be in the air. This can only mean one thing… ROC Transit Day external link will soon be here!

If you drive in your car to work alone each day, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why would I want to ride public transit when I can just drive my Nissan Leaf (or whatever)?”

Well, I could list all the reasons why public transportation is healthier for our earth, healthier for our bodies, and healthier for our community. But that would be boring. Instead, watch this video external link and hear it straight from the mouths of your fellow Rochesterians…

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‘How to Ride the Bus’ Workshop, April 29

RTS has scheduled a 'How to Ride the Bus' transit orientation for Tuesday, April 29. [PHOTO: RGRTA]
Getting on a bus for the first time can feel awkward for some. If the last bus you took was a yellow school bus, you might be due for a refresher course. RTS has scheduled a “How to Ride the Bus” transit orientation for 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesday, April 29, at Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) John G. Doyle Jr. Administration Building located at 1372 East Main Street external link. The orientation is the first of a series designed to help guide first-time riders of any age or those who might need a brush up. All are free and open to the public…

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What Could You Do With This Bus Shelter?

Rochester's cool retro-style bus shelters will be history by this time next year unless someone steps forward to claim them. [PHOTO: RocPX.com]
By this time next year, Rochester’s cool retro-style bus shelters could be history. When the RTS Transit Center opens in November, RTS buses that currently wait for passengers along Main Street will instead turn into the new facility on Mortimer Street. And after 25 years of service, six shelters from the Genesee River to Chestnut Street will be removed.

There is one thing that could save these iconic structures from the scrap yard: Your creativity.

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Proposed Schedule & Route Changes for RTS

The new RTS Transit Center will be opening on November 28th, 2014. Coinciding with the transit center opening, RTS is also proposing changes to bus routes and schedules. [PHOTO: RGRTA]The new RTS Transit Center will be opening on November 28th, 2014. Coinciding with the transit center opening, RTS is also proposing changes to bus routes and schedules. This is to accommodate the additional time required to travel through the Transit Center…

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Mount Read Boulevard Corridor Study: Public Meeting This Thursday

A public meeting will be held this Thursday to review an improvement plan for Mount Read Boulevard.
The City of Rochester, in partnership with the NY State Department of Transportation, Monroe County, Town of Greece, and Genesee Transportation Council, is leading an effort to develop a vision for improving Mount Read Boulevard external link from Buffalo Road (NYS Route 33) traffic circle to Stone Road.

If you use this section of Mt Read Blvd, either on foot, bike, car, truck, or public transit, you are invited to attend a public meeting this Thursday…

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Parking vs. Local Independent Business: Zoning Board Meeting Tomorrow

John Ebel, Marc Lebeau, and Brandon Rizzo want to open small coffee shop in Rochester. But parking rules may prevent that from happening.
Three local entrepreneurs want to open small coffee shop in Rochester. But parking rules may prevent that from happening. John Ebel, Marc Lebeau (co-owners of Smokestack Cowork) and Brandon Rizzo plan to open Pour Coffee Parlor external link at 23 Somerton Street external link in the Park Ave / East Ave area, but the City of Rochester contends that there is not enough parking at the location for the City to grant proper zoning to open. The location has 4 parking spots, and the partners have leased 6 more spots from a neighboring business to reach the quota, but that may not be enough…

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Rochester Bicycle Boulevards Public Meeting

Bike Boulevard in Berkeley, CA [PHOTO: Artbandito]
Rochester is planning a network of bicycle boulevards external link to connect destinations throughout the city and give residents a safer bike commute. The plan is being developed by the City of Rochester, in partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation, Monroe County, Rochester Cycling Alliance, and Genesee Transportation Council.

If you’d like to hear more about this project and provide input, please attend the first public meeting tomorrow:

Tuesday, Feb. 11 @ 6pm
Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County NY
Kate Gleason Auditorium
115 South Avenue external link

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Help Keep Us Moving

Help keep Reconnect Rochester moving in 2014 with a year end, tax-deductible contribution.
As you know, we are an all-volunteer, non-profit organization working to build a more sustainable transportation network for our community. This isn’t easy. To be effective, we need to bring together smart, dedicated people to think up new and creative ways to put these issues in the public spotlight. And we also need money to be able to operate and execute these ideas. I hope you will consider making a year-end contribution to Reconnect Rochester so that we can continue this important work together.

You can make a tax-deductible donation in any amount via PayPal or check. And we’ve also set up all new sponsorship levels with lots of awesome perks for your as our way of saying thanks. Perks include posters, t-shirts, books, and even a free dinner with us at the Owl House!

So as we close out 2013, we’d like to take a look back at the year, and invite you to help us keep moving in 2014…

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