Posted by: Mike Governale Reconnect Rochester loves September. The weather is typically gorgeous making it the perfect alternative transportation time of year! And now, with Greentopia coming up (September 10-16) it’s feeling like holiday time for us.
The City of Rochester, NYSDOT, and Federal Railroad Administration will hold a public meeting to present draft concepts for Rochester’s new intermodal transportation center (NOTE: This is the Amtrak/Greyhound/Trailways station, NOT the RTS Bus Terminal). A presentation will be made at 5:30pm. Some of the key points will be around site selection, the functional requirements of the station, architectural style, and expanded site plan.
On Monday, February 27, two mayors of two very different cities will share their experiences in leading their communities forward to meet 21st century challenges.
Rochester Regional Community Design Center presents “Getting It Done,” a presentation and discussion with William Fulton, Fmr. Mayor of Ventura CA., and Mark Mallory, Mayor of Cincinnati, OH.
Facing issues similar to Rochester including public safety, economic development, the environment, educationand youth employment in an era of reduced funding and resources, both leaders have been effective and instrumental in making positive changes and spurring collaborative efforts in their cities, succeeding in producing nationally recognized results.
William Fulton specializes in urban planning, metropolitan growth trends, economic development, TDR and policy projects with a focus on government agencies, land conservation organizations and developers as clients. He quite literally wrote the “Guide to California Planning.”
On Tuesday, January 31, the Rochester Regional Community Design Center will present “Transformation: Don’t be Afraid of It,” a talk by Peter Park, planning director for Denver. Peter Park will take us through a genesis of the transformative process in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the 1990’s where he was a key player in planning and implementing the creation of the River Walk, a downtown revitalization project , for more than a decade.
Rochester, NY has about 1,035,000 population in its metro area; Buffalo is slightly larger with 1,124,000; and Syracuse has about 646,000. The combined metro population for the three major cities along the old New York Central Water Level Route is 2,804,000.
In terms of rank, Buffalo is 50th, Rochester is 51st, and Syracuse is 81st. As a combined area, we would become 19th largest, edging out Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, FL and just behind St. Louis. Nice, eh?
Reconnect Rochester volunteers will be at Main and Clinton from 6-7:30am and 5-5:30pm Thursday to assist new transit riders and to help make transfers. Look us near the Main St. bus shelters wearing this logo…
Riders with a “UFO” pin will be able to ride local buses for free all day on October 20, the first Critical Mass Transit Day. The UFO promotion is part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the $1.5 million in gasoline money that is ‘abducted’ from our local economy every day.
Critical Mass Transit Day is a joint effort by Regional Transit Service (RTS) and Reconnect Rochester, a transit advocacy group that suggests by using public transit as an alternative to driving a car, Rochesterians have the power to reinvest those dollars back into Rochester’s economy.
RGRTA even announced a fun photo contest today on their Facebook page in honor of the big day. So post a photo of yourself on Critical Mass Transit Day!
Even if you just go for a joy-ride down the street, the idea is to learn about our transit system and show your support for the future of public transit in Rochester. And as you’re riding along on Thursday, remember that by making smart transportation choices we can all save money, and help grow our region’s economy over the long run.
Sorry if we caused a mass panic last week with all of the reports of UFO’s and abductions. We staged the whole UFO thing. But we can’t apologize for the adbuctions. As it turns out, every dollar we spend on gasoline, over $1.5 MILLION each day*, leaves the local economy never to be seen again. Vanished! The numbers are real. The UFO’s are not. We can do something about the vanishing resources.
Did you know every $1 invested in public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic returns. It’s true. Households that use public transportation and live with one less car can save on average $9,000 every year.
The volunteers at Reconnect Rochester find these numbers downright frightening. And we’re doing something about. We’ve organized a ‘human resistance’ movement have been getting the word out this weekend at the Greentopia Festival about Critical Mass Transit Day.
ON THE 3RD THURSDAY OF OCTOBER, AND EVERY MONTH THEREAFTER, WE WILL LEAVE OUR CARS AT HOME & JOIN TOGETHER FOR A “CRITICAL MASS” TRANSIT RIDE. EVERYONE IS INVITED! NO ONE IS IN CHARGE! LOOK FOR YOUR COMRADES ON RTS BUSES WEARING THIS PIN…
ON OCTOBER 20 SHOW THIS PIN TO YOUR RTS DRIVER AND RIDE FREE ALL DAY!
THAT part is no hoax. RTS has kindly agreed to honor our NO-UFOs pin as free entry onto any RTS bus all day on October 20. Just flash this pin at the friendly driver. Even if you’ve never ridden RTS before, now is the perfect time to give it a try. If only for one day. To get to work, or for a leisurely trip around the block.
Visit Reconnect Rochester at the Greentopia Festival (High Falls, vendor area, booth 55) and grab your FREE pin today… before they VANISH.
The Greentopia Festival is getting ready to kick off this weekend. Check out the photo above, snapped earlier today on Commercial Street. Ain’t that something?!
The two-day, interactive fest in historic High Falls will reveal what the region is doing to help the environment – and envision a greener Rochester of the future. The volunteers at Reconnect Rochester are VERY excited to have a booth at this brand new event to help promote the green movement and alternate forms of transportation.
I won’t give away the surprise, but we’ll be featuring an out-of-this-world exhibit highlighting some “green” benefits of transit you probably never knew.
Announcing the FIRST EVER
“Critical Mass Transit Day!”
Reconnect Rochester is using this weekend’s event to get the word out about the first ever “Critical Mass Transit Day”—taking place on the 3rd Thursday of October (10/20/2011) and every month thereafter.
Similar to the cycling version of Critical Mass where cyclists take to the streets on human-powered modes of transport, Critical Mass Transit will be a celebration of greener, more social forms of transportation. The rules are simple: on the 3rd Thursday of every month, leave your car at home and walk, bike, or roller skate to the nearest bus stop. Take the bus to work (or where ever it is you go during the day) and then take it back home at the end of the day.
Get Your FREE Ride…
To make things a little more interesting, we’ve teamed up with the Transit Authority to offer you a FREE day on RTS. You heard me right… The first Critical Mass Transit Day can be absolutely FREE for you… No strings. All you have to do is visit our booth at the Greentopia Festival and say hello.
So come visit us Saturday or Sunday in the High Falls overlook area (where Browns Race and Commercial Street meet) and get green with us.
On Thursday, June 16 Reconnect Rochester and the people of Rochester NY, will join the rest of the country for National Dump the Pump Day. We will leave our cars in the driveway and instead use public transit. Share this on Facebook and let your family, friends, co-workers, and employers know.
This Thursday evening Reconnect Rochester will be at the Sierra Club’s 13th Annual Environmental Forum, “Sustainable Production: Rochester’s Cutting Edge”. Come out and see us at our table and hear two nationally recognized leaders on sustainable production and manufacturing. Happy Earth Day!
House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica will visit Rochester and Cortland on Thursday as part of the field hearings and listening sessions being held around the country by the Committee on the next federal transportation bill.
While the hearings are open to the public, testimony is via invitation only. Members of the public will be allowed to bring written testimony to share with staff at the hearing, or mail in their testimony directly to the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. The Rochester hearing was originally scheduled for February; local advocates held their own transportation town hall to get more inclusive input, and delivered it to Rep. Mica.
Rochester Field Hearing (co-hosted by Rep. Tom Reed)
Thursday, March 24, 9-11am
Rochester International Airport [map]
This past Tuesday evening Reconnect Rochester co-sponsored a Mayoral forum on issues related to land use, neighborhood urban planning, transportation, development and revitalization. Bill Johnson, Tom Richards, and Alex White went toe to toe and Rachel Barnhart (WHAM 13 News) moderated.
In all, well over 200 people turned out and submitted questions ranging from planning to poverty. The event was the first extended, in-depth forum of Rochester’s mayoral campaign and was covered by several local news outlets including YNN, WROC, and the D&C.
Now, in the famous words of sportscaster Warner Wolf, “Let’s go to the video tape!” And let us know what you think of the candidates’ responses in the comments section.
While Rochester searches for its next mayor to take office and begin the arduous task of planning the City’s future, Reconnect Rochester is taking the issues to the candidates and the candidates to the people.
A potential threat to the preservation of rights-of-way for a light rail line between downtown Rochester and the University of Rochester is the City of Rochester’s plan to convert the bridge into a bike/ped-only bridge.
It’s important to note that creation of the bike/pedestrian link itself will not preclude transit; on the other hand it is important that the project be treated as a rails-with-trails project rather than a rails-to-trails conversion. This will ensure preservation of the right-of-way for possible future transit.
A rails-to-trails conversion will make a later conversion to rail transit difficult, whereas a rails-with-trails project specifies that an adequate dedicated right-of-way (strip of land) be specifically preserved for future rail transit use.
Please attend an open-house
public meeting this Wednesday:
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITE TO ATTEND… A Transportation Equity Town Hall with the New York State Transportation Equity Alliance, Reconnect Rochester, and Empire State Future on February 17th from 6 to 8 PM in the Kate Gleason Auditorium at the Rochester Central Library.
New Yorkers’ transportation needs are changing, but our transportation policies are stuck in the past. Come join New York State Transportation Equity Alliance for a forum on how federal and state transportation policy impacts New York. Learn how we can shape these federal and state policies to create faster, cleaner, safer, healthier and more equitable transportation choices for all New Yorkers.
Rep. John Mica, Chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a Field Hearing in Rochester on February 18, 2011 regarding reauthorization of The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient ransportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), enacted August 10, 2005. SAFETEA-LU authorized $286.4 billion for Federal surface transportation programs for highways, transit, and bicycles and pedestrians for the 5-year period, 2005-2009. The latest continuing resolution for extending funding will expire on March 3, 2011.
On Thursday, February 10, 2011, RGRTA will be hosting its Second Public Design Review Workshop inviting members of the community to review and react to design options for the RTS Transit Center . This public review will take place at the Radisson Inn Riverside and the doors will be open to everyone from 6:00-7:30 pm.
The volunteers at Reconnect Rochester have compiled this handy checklist for YOU (the public) to use as a guide to assess how well public comments were received and integrated into the newly proposed designs. Print it, share it, and use as a starting point to form your own opinions and ask the important questions…
Tonight’s screening of Beyond the Motor City at the Dryden Theater was, in my opinion, a phenomenal event for Rochester. After the film, seven panelists discussed local transportation issues and took questions on the subject from the nearly full audience. Of course, in the allotted timeframe we were only able to scratch the surface, but this is a conversation that we will carry on in the months, and years ahead. If you’re not already, now would be a good time to make sure you’re following Reconnect Rochester on Facebook . And, in case you missed tonight’s event, here is Beyond the Motor City in its entirety. Enjoy…
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On Monday June 28 at 7:00pm you are invited to a FREE screening of PBS’s eye-opening film, BLUEPRINT AMERICA: BEYOND THE MOTOR CITY at the Dryden Theater. The documentary is touring cities across America to raise questions—and seek answers—about the future of transportation in America. Can we build the “infrastructure of tomorrow” today? Can the cash-strapped and car-dependent cities of the so-called Rust Belt become new models for fast, clean, public transit? The links and similarities between Rochester NY and Detroit MI are glaringly obvious—and I think you owe it to yourself to see this film.
New hopes for accessible, clean, and modern mass transit in America
The role of cities, and consumers, in shaping the next generation of transportation systems
A roadmap for revitalizing the way we move through our cities and neighborhoods
This will surely be a thought-provoking FREE event and a great opportunity for you to take part in a very important FREE conversation for our community. So mark your calendar and bring some friends. Did I mention this is FREE?!
More About the Film:
BLUEPRINT AMERICA: BEYOND THE MOTOR CITY examines how Detroit, a grim symbol of America’s diminishing status in the world, may come to represent the future of transportation and progress in America. Narrated by Miles O’Brien, the film explores Detroit’s historic investments in infrastructure—from early 19th- century canals to the urban freeways that gave The Motor City its name and made America’s transportation system the envy of the world.
But over the last 30 years, much of the world has left Detroit—and America—behind, choosing faster, cleaner, more modern transportation. In a journey that takes us into the neighborhoods of Detroit and then beyond to Spain, California, and our nation’s capital, BLUEPRINT AMERICA: BEYOND THE MOTOR CITY urges us to ask how we might finally push America’s transportation system into the 21st century.
BLUEPRINT AMERICA: BEYOND THE MOTOR CITY is part of Blueprint America, a national, multi-platform initiative examining the state of America’s transportation infrastructure. Blueprint America was created and produced by Thirteen for WNET.ORG and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.
Not all of the biggest statements came from Smith himself, but his insight into federal agencies and funding acquisition from said agencies was very valuable to our coalition. Also heartening was the recognition by all parties of potential energy realities. This acceptance set the imperative tone regarding the necessity for improved transit in the region.
Smith’s greatest criticism, one that was repeated during the public lecture, was a lack of obvious attraction marketing, and the associated transportation options, to downtown hotel guests and travelers who arrive by train. The implication is that we aren’t successfully steering travelers with money to spend to restaurants and other cultural amenities. A set of newer signage as part of an enhanced wayfinder system was installed recently, but it is proving to be geared toward motorized tourist travel.
Rochester’s dazzling urbanites, development gurus, transit afficionados, preservation honchos, political luminaries, and architectural stewards are all very pleased that the Rochester Regional Community Design Center’s final lecture of the 2009-2010 season brings John Robert Smith to the Memorial Art Gallery on May 10th at 7PM. This enthuasism will surely spread like wildfire once the community at large understands what a tremendous impact this man has had in the realms of community revitalization and improving housing and mobility choices for citizens in communities with situations similar to Rochester.
The future of this or any community hinges on the following concepts, all of which are likely to be discussed at the speech and reception: Read more