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ROC Transit Day Reflection: Birding By Bus

ROC Transit Day 2014 gives Rochesterians an excuse for a 'stay-cation'. [PHOTO: Jason & Stefanie Schwingle]
Posted by: Brenda Massie, Board Member and Secretary, Reconnect Rochester.

As July winds down, I find myself thinking about how summers in Rochester fly by. Already, one month has passed since our annual ROC Transit Day. This year brought new merchants and vendors, new fun events like the swing dance and treasure hunt; but more importantly, a new wave of enthusiasm for public transit.

As the Secretary of Reconnect, I sometimes find myself trying to convince people that using public transit can be an enjoyable and even fun way to get around.  I tell them if you ride the bus you may meet people and see things you may not have noticed if you were driving in a car.

So, when I received the following email titled “Birding By Bus” from a brave neighbor that decided to try the bus on ROC Transit Day, I felt inclined to share. These ROC Transit Day-ers used their passes to have an unexpected stay-cation and noticed some wonderful things about our City along the way…

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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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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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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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Join the Call for Safer Streets in Rochester

Lake Avenue at St. Bernard's Park Apartments where senior citizens regularly cross to pick up their bus on the opposite side of the street.
Last week the City of Rochester decided it would not move ahead with a planned road diet along Lake Avenue that many had hoped would improve safety for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and those who depend on bus service in the area. The Lake Avenue Improvement Project external link would have replaced two automobile lanes with a center turning lane and bike lanes. Due to pressure from the Charlotte neighborhood and merchants associations, city engineers will be sent back to the drawing board, ordered to keep all four auto lanes…

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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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ROC Transit Day is Tomorrow!

ROC Transit Day is tomorrow. Join in the fun. Ditch your car for a day.
The 2nd annual ROC Transit Day external link is tomorrow. This little grassroots event has exploded. We’ve handed out 950 transit fare cards. 93 businesses & organizations have chosen to participate. 56 of them are offering fun deals external link to transit riders. 34 have pledged to ditch their cars and ride transit.

Prizes will be given away to random transit riders. Thanks to our sponsors!
We’ve prepared over 70 prizes from our generous sponsors external link to give away to random bus riders. REX the Rhino has planned his morning bus ride. 8 music buskers are getting ready to play on Main Street (4:30-6:30pm). And happy hour is on at Murphy’s Law (5:30pm).

[ Use this map external link to find all the fun stuff on ROC Transit Day. ]

Let's remember the true meaning of ROC Transit Day. It's about our community.
It’s been an insane two months of planning and excitement is high. But let’s remember the true meaning of ROC Transit Day…

Tomorrow we’ll choose to put our feet on the street instead of the gas pedal. We’ll put our money into the local economy instead of our tanks. And we’ll experience our community up close, instead of from behind our windshields.

Rochester, let’s go – together.

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1 Week and 300 Fare Cards Left To Give Away

ROC Transit Day is coming. Lose your car keys on June 20, 2013.
ROC Transit Day external link is just a week away. About 85 local businesses and organizations have signed up to participate on June 20 – either encouraging their employees & members to leave their cars home, or by offering exclusive deals to transit riders external link.

Rex the Rhino is planning his bus ride as we speak. Music buskers are tuning up for their performances during the evening rush hour on Main Street. Murphy’s Law on East Avenue is priming the kegs for our happy hour celebration (RSVP here external link). And our volunteers are wrapping up HUNDREDS of prizes to deliver to random transit riders.

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Rochester is getting on board ROC Transit Day

ROC Transit Day is coming. Lose your car keys on June 20, 2013.
A few short weeks ago I told you about ROC Transit Day 2013 external link. The idea is simple… pedestrians make for a vibrant city. The more people Rochester has walking the streets instead of driving, the stronger our community will be; and the stronger our local economy will be. ROC Transit Day is a holiday from our cars. It’s a day to celebrate local businesses. And it’s a day to cast a symbolic vote for a stronger transit system…

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ROC Transit Day: Lose your car keys on June 20

ROC Transit Day is coming. Lose your car keys on June 20, 2013.
A year and half ago I managed to convince RGRTA to try something new. I said, “let me give away free bus rides for one day.” I imagined most people would say “no thanks, the bus isn’t for me.” But I also knew my mom was right when she said, “try it, you might like it.” That year I think maybe 200 people participated and left their cars at home for the day.

What began as a fun little experiment, has turned into ROC Transit Day external link – a full blown Rochester holiday from our cars. This year ROC Transit Day will be on Thursday, June 20.

In this, its second year, the volunteers at Reconnect Rochester are giving away 1,000 special edition RTS fare cards – designed by yours truly. And we’re asking Rochester’s business community to get involved too…

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Transportation Choices and the Impact on Our Community

Posted by: Mike Governale

Mike Governale at TEDxRochester. Mike is a designer, blogger, and founder of a local public transit advocacy group, Reconnect Rochester. [PHOTO: Jeffrey Hamson]
Greetings. I’m Mike Governale, founder of Reconnect Rochester. I’m a graphic designer, originally from the NYC area and I now live in Rochester, NY. I have a deep fascination and love of cities – how they are formed over time and the way they continue to evolve.

Dense urban places have proven themselves, over tens of thousands of years, to be arguably the most sustainable form of human habitation. But over the past 70 years many cities—especially those in the U.S.—have lost this edge.

I write a blog, RochesterSubway.com external link, that explores Rochester, “America’s first boom-town,” and how it suburbanized itself to near extinction. The site looks at the amazing physical and social history of this place. And what it needs to do before it can become urban, sustainable, and relevant, once again.

Last November I gave a talk at TEDxRochester. The talk focuses on how our transportation choices impact land use, and ultimately the health and sustainability of our community. I think the presentation serves as a good introduction to who I am and why Reconnect Rochester is so important to me…

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Help Support Rochester’s Intermodal Station

Posted by: DeWain Feller

Rochester's Intermodal Transit Center needs your support. Please leave your name in the comments section and sign on to our letter.

Rochester’s new Intermodal Transportation Center is on the drafting table but that does not mean this much needed project is a done deal. [Learn more about the project external link] The station and site costs are estimated to be $27.3 million, and track and signal upgrades are approximately $10.4 million, bringing the estimated project cost to $37.7 million. A portion of the funding has been identified, but not all.

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Finding Your Future in Public Administration

PublicAdministration.net was created as an online informational resource for individuals looking to pursue public administration-related education and careers.PublicAdministration.net external link was created as an online informational resource for individuals looking to pursue public administration-related education and careers. It is an independent project funded only by the small group of individuals contributing to it. We have found that the public sector is an untapped silo of creativity and innovation and, through the PublicAdminstration.net project, we endeavor to present the many avenues a person with a background in public administration can down to have an impact. Visit PublicAdministration.net external link to learn more.

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Using Passenger Rail to Create a New Economic Zone

Posted by: Carlos Mercado

The populations of Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Toronto are closer than we realize. With good, high speed transportation links we become an economic powerhouse. [Flickr Photo: Calori & Vanden-Eynden]

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?

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Critical Mass Transit Day THURSDAY! Post Your Pics to RGRTA Facebook Page…

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.
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 campaignexternal link 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.

Post a pic of you on Critical Mass Transit Day to RGRTA's Facebook page and win something cool.RGRTA even announced a fun photo contest today on their Facebook pageexternal link 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.

Need Assistance Using RTS?

Download this Commuter Resources sheet [PDF] for handy RTS transit tips. You can also call RTS at 585-288-1700 for help planning a trip or contact the volunteers at Reconnect Rochester—they can help you decipher the routes and schedules.

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Ride RTS FREE On ‘Critical Mass Transit Day’ — October 20

Reconnect Rochester, RTS Partner to Stop the Exodus of $1.5 Million Vanishing from the Local Economy Daily

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.
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 campaignexternal link to raise awareness of the $1.5 million in gasoline money that is ‘abducted’ from our local economy every day.

Reconnect Rochester will be handing out UFO pins
at local farmer’s markets throughout October:

Critical Mass Transit 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.

THE SAVINGS ARE VERY REAL! According to CommuteSolutions.org, those who drive to work everyday alone can incur costs that exceed $1 per mile. That includes fuel, maintenance, parking and depreciation, and depends on vehicle type and driving habits. By comparison, a ride on an RTS bus costs one dollar.

In addition to the personal savings, every one-dollar invested in public transportation can generate $4 in economic returns for our area. Conversely, nearly every dollar we burn on gasoline leaves Rochester.

Making smarter choices when it comes to transportation is an easy way for households to save money, and grow our region’s economy over the long run.

On October 20, proudly display your pin. 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.

Need Assistance Using RTS?

Download this Commuter Resources sheet [PDF] for handy RTS transit tips. You can also call RTS at 585-288-1700 for help planning a trip or contact the volunteers at Reconnect Rochester—they can help you decipher the routes and schedules.

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UFO Sightings Explained… Abductions Continue…

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.[1]

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!

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.