Speak up for cycle tracks on Main Street

The City of Rochester is planning work on two sections of Main St.: from St. Paul St. to State St., and from Goodman St. to Culver Rd. Cycle tracks (bike lanes separated from motor traffic by a curb) are included in one of the design options for each section. The Rochester Cycling Alliance supports cycle tracks for these projects! Cycle tracks promote the highest level of safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles including buses.
We hope you will take just a minute, right now, to send letters expressing your support of cycle tracks. We’ve written this draft letter about St. Paul to State, and this draft letter about Goodman to Culver, which you can use as templates to get started. Be sure to insert your own name and address where appropriate, and send both letters to the Hon. Norman Jones, the City’s Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services, who is overseeing the design process. You could also send copies to Mayor Lovely A. Warren, Deputy Mayor James P. Smith, Councilman Malik Evans, and Project Manager Jeff Mroczek. Happy letter writing! Happy citizenship!

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What we accomplished together in 2018

As we look back on 2018, we’re pretty darn proud of what we’ve accomplished together this year. The highlights below are just a snapshot of all the good work we’ve been able to do, thanks to the financial support of Reconnect members, the passionate volunteers that made our programs and initiatives run, and so many others that engaged in our work in countless ways. Thanks to each and every one of you.

If you haven’t yet made a membership donation, we hope you’ll consider doing so to help fuel our work in 2019!  View the membership levels and gift options here. And don’t forget, we have a matching gift in effect from Jason Partyka for NEW members that join by Dec 31st!

Things we’re most proud of in 2018:

Giving transit riders a respectable place to sit at 33 bus stops around the city. We were thrilled to see our bus stop cubes replicated by our neighbor to the west, and we made some progress exploring a permanent fiberglass cube design as a year-round solution… stay tuned in 2019!

The Connection Between Transportation in Rochester, NY.

Releasing an in-depth report we commissioned on Transportation & Poverty in Monroe County, and working within the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative transportation work group to translate the data into proposed policy solutions.

Transforming an intersection in the Beechwood neighborhood through our Complete Streets Makeover project, and applying complete streets design to other trouble spots around the city to show how they could be made safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Rochester's Bike Share

Raising funds to continue sponsoring our two bike share stations on Hudson Avenue & Adams Street. This fall, we hosted a live online presentation to give people a chance to hear from Pace about how Rochester’s 2018 bike share season went (watch a recording here).

Producing three (3) Street Films events that stimulated community conversation about transportation infrastructure investment, the era of highway construction, and designing streets for people. We added two original films to our growing collection (watch them on our YouTube channel).

Reconnect Rochester at Parcel 5

Engaging with the public every day via live events, community outreach tabling, speaking engagementsmedia interviews, social media sharing, and blog posts about things like sidewalk snow removal and transit-supportive development.

Reimagine RTS Community Outreach

Encouraging public engagement, lending support and giving input into local planning initiatives like Reimagine RTS system re-design, and the City of Rochester’s Comprehensive Access & Mobility Plan, Comprehensive Plan & Roc the Riverway.

Advocating for Better Public Transit

Fighting for the transit dependent in our community through countless advocacy actions, like traveling to Albany on Transit Awareness Day, hosting a joint press conference with Our Streets Transit Coalition partners, and joining the New Yorkers for Better Public Transit campaign.

And after two years of conceiving and planning with a powerful coalition of partnerswe helped launch the Drive 2B Better public awareness campaign to make our streets safer to walk and bike. Look out for a second phase of the campaign in 2019!

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Complete Streets Series (Part 3 of 3): Safer Rochester Streets, An Intersection at a Time

In this final installment of our Complete Streets Blog Series, guest author David Riley will highlight a sampling of intersections and trouble spots that were nominated for the Complete Streets Makeover project, and share his ideas for how they might be made safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

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Complete Streets Series (Part 2 of 3): Re-Designing Our “Finalist” Streets for People


Back in May, we launched our Complete Streets Makeover project by asking the general public to help identify the intersections and trouble-spots where you live, work and play that could be redesigned to make them safer for everyone. We received over 90 nominations, and after a careful process to examine each and every submission, we selected the following locations:

Read more

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Complete Streets Series (Part 1 of 3): A Neighborhood Intersection Transformed

In the U.S., pedestrian fatalities have skyrocketed, increasing by 46% from 2009-2016. According to our Crash Map, over 4,000 crashes in Monroe County from 2010-2017 involved bicyclists and pedestrians. Eight people die on our streets every year as a result of these crashes.

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Canal Path + Riverway Trail = 10,000 users weekly

We posted a few weeks ago about great new data from the Genesee Transportation Council showing just how much the Riverway Trail gets used–a lot! Now we can share preliminary data, also from GTC, about usage of the Erie Canal Path. During the week of 1 September, more than 4000 people used the Canal Path at the NY-15A bridge. Add that to the Riverway Trail numbers, and you find more than 10,000 users of these great community resources. Let’s make sure they are supported and expanded!
For all you wonks, here’s the data:
Sat, Sep 1, 2018: 800
Sun, Sep 2, 2018: 603
Mon, Sep 3, 2018: 683
Tue, Sep 4, 2018: 519
Wed, Sep 5, 2018: 400
Thu, Sep 6, 2018: 478
Fri, Sep 7, 2018: 653

Teaching English and Cycling in Kazan

Karen shows a student in Kazan the finer points of bicycle maintenance.

An update from Karen Lankeshofer, longtime Cycling Alliance member and Henrietta resident who is teaching in Kazan, Russia:
In July 2017, I got an email from a former ESL student of mine asking me if I wanted to teach English at her friend’s private school in Kazan, Russia. I jumped at the chance and was here within 7 weeks. If any of you are soccer fans, you will know that Kazan hosted many of the World Cup matches during last summer. The city lies about 500 miles east of Moscow and is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, a state in the Russian Federation.
The population is about half Tatar and half ethnic Russian. Signs are written in the Tatar and Russian languages, sometimes also in English. The city is dotted with mosques and orthodox churches and without a doubt is the most tolerant city I have ever experienced.
Tatarstan is a very wealthy area with oil and chemical production. Being so far from Europe, it has been mainly influenced by Persia, Mongolia, China, and other eastern parts of the world throughout its history. Genghis Khan controlled the area for many years.
With its considerable wealth, Tatarstan realizes it needs to have more people who are proficient in English to function better in European marketplaces. That’s why my school has me teaching a group of 3- and 4-year-olds English. It is a total immersion program; my aides and I only speak English with these children. It was difficult at the beginning last September because the kids knew no English and were used to getting their own way. Parents were also skeptical until they started seeing results about this time last year. Now they are true believers. The older kids use full sentences which are sometimes grammatically incorrect, but still perfectly understandable. Even the younger ones understand everything and repeat individual words or phrases. It’s been a rewarding one and a half years in the classroom, but it’s also strenuous.
My first purchase in Kazan was a folding bike, which I take on the subway when I’m headed downtown and use to get all over the city, except in winter. The weather is extreme here and, even if I could ride through the deep snow, I don’t relish slipping on the ever-present ice and breaking a leg.
Last February I attended the Winter Cycling Conference in Moscow and met some officials from Kazan who are really motivated to improve the cycling scene here in the city. I thought, “If they can do something, so can I!”, and convinced my school to let me start a bike club.
It’s been a huge success. The mountain biking champion of Russia gives bike lesson to the littlest kids on small bikes without pedals, and I give lessons to the first graders, mostly talking about safety but also taking excursions on trails in the woods. We involve all the kids and have had a family riding day; plus, the head of the Rotary Club here, who just completed a bike trip around the world, has come to talk to our kids. He and I are now working together to spread my school’s program to other schools. And the parents are ecstatic that their kids are leaving their bikes at school all fall to ride on the track we painted on the school courtyard. One parent told us his kid’s bike usually sits in the cellar all summer.
All in all, this has been a great experience for me. I have friends from around the world with whom I undertake a lot of different adventures here in Russia, and I see that they bike revolution is truly an international phenomenon.
I’ll be home in August to start patching inner tubes again. Keep up all your good work and I’ll see you then.
Karen L.

Riverway Trail getting lots of use

The Genesee Riverway Trail is getting lots of use, as shown by new data from the Genesee Transportation Council. Check out the chart: at the Ford Street Bridge, the east and west branches of the trail together support as many as 6000 pedestrians and cyclists each week! In a city of 210,000, that’s a tremendous number of people. We at the Rochester Cycling Alliance are cheering that the Rochester community has these great trails for pedestrians and cyclists, and we’re cheering that so many are making good use of them. Keep it in mind next time you talk to elected officials and city/county/state employees: people use these trails, and expanding the trail network will bring even more users.

Weekly counts of pedestrians and cyclists using the Genesee River Trail near the Ford Street Bridge since October 2017. The total count (pedestrians + cyclists) is also plotted. A counter on the west branch was installed in September 2018.

This rich set of data tells many stories about the Riverway Trail. Usage varies with the weather, as you’d expect: many more people are on the trail in the summer months than in the winter. (But the count can’t be entirely accurate, because I personally biked the trail on the east side twice a day all winter, on my daily commute.) The east side supports more cyclists than pedestrians, except in winter, whereas the west side supports more pedestrians than cyclists.
To gather this data, GTC installed counters on both branches of the trail. As you can tell, the counter on the east branch was installed months before the counter on the west branch. The counters have infrared beams that are interrupted whenever anybody passes, indicating a trail user. The counters also have hollow rubber tubes across the trail, so that when passing cyclists run over the tubes, the counters can sense puffs of air. These counters are great for urban planning because they give us real information about trail use, so we can plan and advocate accordingly. Big thanks go to GTC for gathering the data–the counters are still there, and the counts are still running. We at RCA will be glad to share the data as it comes in.


Parsells Ave. & Greeley St. Will Get a Complete Streets Makeover

Rochester Complete Streets MakeoverCongratulations to the Beechwood NeighborhoodParsells Ave. & Greeley St. is the winner of our Complete Streets Makeover!

In May, we asked you to help identify the intersections and trouble-spots where you live, work and play that could be redesigned to make them safer for everyone.

We received over 90 nominations for roughly 39 City and 11 suburban locations. After a careful process to examine each and every submission, we selected the following locations:

  • Parsells Ave & Greeley St. – WINNER
  • Lake Ave. & Phelps St. / block encompassing Lakeview Tower – FINALIST
  • Monroe Ave., Canterbury Rd. & Dartmouth St. – FINALIST

We and our team of partners had a challenging task to choose from so many quality submissions and deserving locations! A set of established judging criteria helped guide us through the selection process. In the end, we decided that Parsells & Greeley presented the right mix of community support, unsatisfactory current design and feasibility for making a real change for the better through our project.

What Happens Now?

Our winner, Parsells & Greeley, gets a Complete Streets Makeover! The makeover kicked off last week with a community input session to hear from the residents of the Beechwood neighborhood. No one understands what it’s like to use our streets better than those who walk, bike, roll and ride along them everyday.

Based on feedback from this session, the complete streets design team at Stantec will draft conceptual design improvements of an improved streetscape that will be brought to life through an on-street experiment. That’s right. With the help of Healthi Kids and the City of Rochester, we are going to be testing the design improvements through some good old-fashioned tactical urbanism. Our goal is to demonstrate a successful project and move towards making the change permanent.


Our finalists won’t walk away empty-handed. The design team at Stantec will provide each of them with conceptual drawings of possible street design improvements. The neighborhoods can use these illustrations as a tool to help advocate for changes that would make these streets safer for everyone.

Monroe Ave., Canterbury Rd. & Dartmouth St.

Lake Ave. & Phelps St. / block encompassing Lakeview Tower

But, wait. There’s more…

Our filmmaker, Floating Home Films, is capturing all the action and will produce a short documentary film about the project to be featured at our Street Films event on Wednesday, November 14 at The Little Theatre.  Save-the-date and stay tuned for more project updates!


What we like about Reimagine RTS plan. And a few things we’d change.

As you are probably aware, RGRTA is exploring changes to the RTS fixed-route transit system in an effort to “better meet the evolving needs of the region.” The project, called Reimagine RTS, aims to improve transit service in Monroe County, including the City of Rochester. Over 11,000 individuals have participated in the process by sharing ideas with RTS via an online survey and many public meetings and the first draft was released last month.

[ Read the Draft Recommendations here. ]

After reviewing the draft and hearing input from many of you, Reconnect Rochester would like to formally share our assessment – including the parts we like, and a few things we’d like to see improved upon… Read more

Over 1000 ride with Bike to School Day

Here’s a great perspective on school.

Here’s exciting news for those of us who promote bikes and alternative transportation: more than 1000 people, including many community leaders, rode in Bike to School Day events at ten different Rochester-area schools on 9 May. Those events were among thousands nationwide, all held on the same day to promote biking and walking as great ways to get to school.
Biking to school has lots of benefits. At a time when childhood obesity continues to grow as one of our country’s greatest health risks, getting kids biking regularly can keep them in better physical health and form habits for a lifetime of good health. Biking is great for emotional and mental health, too. Biking builds community by allowing neighbors to get to know each other and see the impact schools have on neighborhoods. Biking is brilliant for sustainability because it burns no fossil fuels and emits no carbon dioxide. And of course, biking is fun–one student rider in Brighton said, “Biking to school is so much better than riding the bus!”
Bike to School Day rides took place all over the Rochester area this year. In the city of Rochester, School #23 drew 55 riders, and School #58 drew 50. In Honeoye Falls, Manor Intermediate School had 70 riders. In Pittsford, Calkins Road Middle School had 25 riders, Park Road Elementary School had 40, and Jefferson Road Elementary School had 150. In Brighton, Council Rock Primary School encouraged students to ride all week, French Road Elementary School had 240 riders on 9 May, and Twelve Corners Middle School had over 300. Finally, Indian Landing Elementary School in Penfield had nearly 300 riders.
Community leaders came out to support Bike to School Day in a big way. Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams of the Rochester City School District rode in the event at School #23 and invited her entire cabinet to ride along. Many did, including Carlos Cotto, RCSD Director of Physical Education. RCSD School Board President Van White joined the School #23 ride as well. Penfield Town Supervisor Tony LaFountain and Brighton Town Supervisor William Moehle both greeted students at the event at Indian Landing, along with Penfield School Board President Catherine Dean and School Board Member John Piper. Principals and teachers rode along at many of the events, too. We are grateful to our leaders for taking the time to support kids biking and walking to school!
More thanks go to the area police departments who accompanied riders to ensure traffic safety; to businesses and organizations that donated snacks or prizes, including Park Avenue Bikes, Wegmans, and Common Ground Health; to Zagster for providing Pace bikes, and to school staff who supported the events.
Over 1000 people rode last Wednesday and had a great time. Let’s capture the momentum to get more kids biking and walking to school in the Rochester area! Think about organizing a Bike to School Day event at your own school sometime soon. Organizing requires surprisingly little work, and those of us who’ve done it before would happily serve as resources, so send us an email. Help your own kids bike to school everyday. If the ride seems too much for them to handle alone, talk to neighbors about organizing a bike train: a group of five or ten kids can ride safely together with a couple of grownups to guide them. Ask teachers and school leaders to include bikes in the physical education curriculum if they aren’t already included. You can contact the New York Bicycling Coalition for a ready-made curriculum. And consider doing more of your own daily travel by walking or biking. One teacher in Honeoye Falls said, “I’ve started biking to school myself because I’ve seen your kids doing it.” There’s a great example to follow.

Our recommendations for ROC the Riverway

A city & state initiative to improve Rochester’s riverfront, focusing on design that is oriented to pedestrians, bicyclists, boaters, and recreational enthusiasts.

The ROC the Riverway Program, jointly supported by the City of Rochester and the State of New York, will soon bring major changes to Rochester’s riverfront. The Rochester Cycling Alliance is cheering loud for our community leaders, who made the right choice when they wrote the Project’s first design principle: “Focus on design that is oriented to pedestrians, bicyclists, boaters, and recreational enthusiasts”.
That said, the details of the Project haven’t been decided yet, and for cyclists and pedestrians, some of the draft ideas are better than others. We at the RCA urge community members to give feedback as planning continues. Here are some important points to think about:

  • The cycling community should oppose the Aqueduct Reimagined (“AR”) project, for the following reasons:
    1. The new protected bike lanes across Broad Street would be destroyed. The plan calls for no bike lanes on the pedestrian plaza that would replace it, and the current design has no bike or ADA accessible access to the east part of Broad Street. The City has consistently opposed protected bike lanes on Main, and no plans for protected bike lanes are active for Court Street, therefore our only safe east-west corridor is demolished.
    2. Current AR plans call for north-south pedestrian/cycling paths along the river, but there is no method for north-south bike traffic to avoid massive conflicts with east-west pedestrian flow in the plans.
    3. The AR project takes up a majority of the State money allocated for all the projects ($35M out of $50M), starving other projects that better promote cycling transportation and urban living.
  • The following are projects we feel should be considered top priorities based on both their importance to cycling as transportation, and to increase the number of downtown residents who would likely use active transportation. We recommend advocating for them to be included in “Phase 1” of the project:
    1. Recharging the Trail ($5M): The current River Trail is in appalling shape as regards to pavement quality, and badly needs repair. In addition, it is too narrow to adequately serve both pedestrians and cyclists (especially pedestrians with dogs on leashes). Improved River Trails will bring additional people downtown from the southern neighborhoods and U of R without adding to parking and traffic problems.
    2. Riverside Development and Arena on the River (~$8M): This is great location for mixed use commercial/residential development, with nice views of the cataracts and easy access to events at the arena. Residents of this development would be very likely to use active transportation, and the entrance to the River Trail here would be improved.
    3. Riverfront Reborn ($10M): (same as above, but with easy access to High Falls area as well)
    4. Welcome Connection ($40M): A better connection to the High Falls and MCC area from Downtown through State Street, which is currently very repellent to both pedestrians and cyclists.
    5. Preserving Pont de Rennes ($9M): Preserves an essential connection between east and west sides and the entertainment/pedestrian flow between MCC, High Falls and the Genesee Brewery.
    6. Running Track Bridge ($5M): Completes the El Camino Trail and allows residents from the northeast neighborhoods easy and safe access to the High Falls area. (Note: While this project would allow access from northeast neighborhoods, and the existing River Trails give access from the southern neighborhoods, there are currently no proposed projects that provide safe access from the northwest neighborhoods. There is an equity issue here.)
  • In addition, we believe that the Mill Street Connection and Bridge the Loop projects, which together total $19M, should be replaced by a project to infill the northern part of the Inner Loop, which has long been planned anyways, would cost the same or less money, would provide better connections between High Falls and Downtown, with has the added advantage of creating additional taxable land.
  • Please send your feedback right here.


    Reimagine RTS Draft Recommendations

    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…

    Read more

    Rochester Bike Week 2018

    It’s that time of year again: kick off the summer cycling season with Bike Week 2018 in Rochester. The week (plus bonus days) spanning May 11-20 is jam-packed with bike events, and it’s a great time to get involved. You can find out about biking at the Public Market or at the Red Wings game, learn bike repair skills or just borrow a stand and some tools, watch professional racers at the Twilight Criterium, ride to honor injured cyclists, ride for racial reconciliation, ride to Rochester’s abolitionist and suffragette landmarks, ride with kids, ride with churches, ride in seersucker, or ride after tacos. All these events and more are on the RCA calendar, and you can subscribe so they will appear on your calendar, too. Come out and ride!

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    Be Prepared To Stop

    The American Society of Civil Engineers grades the condition and performance of America’s transportation infrastructure as a ‘D’ or worse. Our roads and bridges are crumbling; Over 35,000 people are killed on our highways every year; Our transit systems are unable to keep up with demand. And the U.S. lags behind the rest of the developed world in infrastructure investment.

    This week Reconnect Rochester hosted a screening of Be Prepared To Stop, a documentary film that talks about these challenges from the perspective of the freight transportation industry. We asked a panel of local experts in infrastructure policy and sustainability for their views on what America needs to do to put ourselves on the road to sustainability.

    Watch the trailer and panel discussion below…


    Elissa Orlando
    Senior VP for Television & News
    WXXI Public Broadcasting


    Enid Cardinal
    Senior Sustainability Advisor
    Rochester Institute of Technology

    Jim Hofmann
    Principal & Office Leader

    Richard Perrin
    Director of Planning (eastern U.S.)
    T.Y. Lin International

    James Stack
    Executive Director
    Genesee Transportation Council


    Sidewalk Snow Removal: How Are We Doing in Monroe County?

    Story by: David Riley
    A Rochester resident and a former journalist, David is completing a master’s degree in urban planning at the University at Buffalo…

    Winter sidewalk. Rochester NY.

    For tens of thousands of Monroe County residents, a sidewalk isn’t just a convenience. It’s a vital connection to the world.

    Nearly 12,000 people here walk to their jobs, U.S. Census data shows. Another 13,000 walk to and from bus stops in order to take public transportation to work, including as many as 1 in 3 workers in some city neighborhoods. Many people also rely on sidewalks to get to and from school, medical appointments or grocery stores, much less to go for a jog or walk the dog.

    So for many people, it isn’t simply an annoyance if part of a sidewalk turns into a snowdrift during the winter. It’s a disruption that forces people going about daily routines to wade through snow or take a dangerous chance and walk in the street. For people with disabilities, a snowy sidewalk can make a usually simple outing impossible.

    Yet keeping sidewalks clear is not always a priority for municipalities in the Northeast and Midwest. The City of Rochester does more than many other Snow Belt cities. While property owners here are responsible for clearing adjacent sidewalks of snow and ice, the city also provides supplemental sidewalk plowing anytime it snows at least 4 inches. The program has drawn some interest in recent years from Buffalo and Syracuse, neither of which generally plow sidewalks beyond public buildings. A handful of local suburbs also provide some municipal sidewalk plowing, including Greece and Irondequoit. Read more

    Copenhagen, Vanguard of bike transportation

    Lots of bikes at the main train station in Copenhagen! Notice double-decker parking at the far end of the lot.

    What’s revolutionary about Copenhagen is how absolutely normal it all seems. In this, the world’s most bike-friendly city, bikes are just not a big deal, because bikes are everywhere. Copenhageners take it for granted that every street has a cycle track, up the curb from cars and separated from sidewalks. Copenhageners think nothing of seeing a street carrying more bikes than cars, because it’s almost impossible to find any street that isn’t. None of the two million residents of the Danish capital notice that school buses are totally absent, because kids pedal to school, or ride in a parent’s cargo bike, and always have. Bikes in Copenhagen aren’t flashy or fast, don’t have shocks or carbon fiber frames, don’t even pretend to be sports equipment. They are simply transportation, with fenders and racks and baskets, and their dominance in this city makes it wonderfully vibrant, alive, and real.
    Those of us who want our own cities to become wonderful in similar ways have to ask: What makes Copenhagen work so well? For sure, there is critical mass, a culture in which everybody bikes by default, and to do anything else puts you outside the norm. But that cultural psychology isn’t accidental, and is empowered by choices, initiatives, and above all, infrastructure. On a recent business trip, I had the happy opportunity to see it in person, and can share some observations.
    For starters, in Copenhagen, you can bike with confidence that nearly every street will have a dedicated cycle track separating cyclists from both motorists and pedestrians, like this one in front of the stock exchange. Traffic signals for bikes (a la Montreal) keep things flowing smoothly. Danish cyclists follow the signals and follow the rules, not only because Denmark has a culture of orderly conformity, but also because the infrastructure makes it easy. In Copenhagen, crossing a bridge on your bike isn’t harrowing or dangerous; in fact, you’ll find more bridges for bikes than for cars. The new Inderhavnsbroen Sliding Bridge gives cyclists and pedestrians a harbor crossing that’s unavailable to motorists. The Bryggebroen gives another, and upon reaching the west side of the harbor, cyclists ride a graceful sky bridge that swoops above the public swimming pool and connects them directly to a large shopping center, without interfering with either pedestrians or cars.
    The main entrance to the shopping center, of course, is flanked by a parking garage–for bikes! In Copenhagen, you can also be confident that there will be sensible and convenient bike parking. My wife and I visited the shopping center on a day with temperatures near freezing and steady snowfall, which is unusually harsh weather for that coastal city, but the garage was full anyway. At stately Rosenborg Castle, where the Danish royalty lived for centuries, the bike racks are tastefully tucked behind hedgerows–but certainly there are racks. Bike parking seems to go forever at the Norreport metro station, and at the main train station, the bikes are stacked double-decker (just like in Trondheim).
    My favorite place to park a bike in Copenhagen is Maersk Tower, not only because the tower enjoys a fantastic view of the city, but because it features an underground bike parking garage with a door that opens automatically when you pedal up to it. Wow. The tower is a new addition to the University of Copenhagen, and has no equivalent garage for cars. I’m told that when the Dean responsible for its construction was questioned about the design, she replied that she’s in her sixties, and bikes an hour each way to work everyday, and that everybody else can bike, too!
    I haven’t even written about the food in Copenhagen, which is fantastic. Nor have I written about the parks, which are everywhere, or the museums or the attractions. That would be another article. But taken as a whole, Copenhagen is not just a clutter of tall buildings that happen to stand on the same patch of earth, but rather a coherent and interwoven city, a place where humans live that functions on human scales, and bikes are a key factor to its successes. Let’s learn all we can from it, and improve our own cities’ quality of life accordingly.

    Talking about road diets on Connections with Evan Dawson

    Cycling Alliance President Scott MacRae joined Brighton Town Board member Robin Wilt and Heather O’Donnell of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition to talk about road diets on Connections with Evan Dawson. A road diet means narrowing or eliminating lanes from roads with excess car capacity–leaving more room for bikes, pedestrians, and human-scale transportation. A section of East Avenue in Brighton and Pittsford is scheduled for a road diet this year and will be reconfigured to have one travel lane in each direction along with a central turn lane, instead of two travel lanes in each direction. The question is whether bike lanes get installed as well. The Cycling Alliance enthusiastically supports designing all three travel lanes to be narrow enough to leave the legally-required five feet for a bike lane on each side of the road. Slower cars and more bike lanes make for a safer, healthier, and more sustainable community! You can hear the conversation, read more about the East Avenue road diet and sign a petition supporting bike lanes on that section of East Avenue.

    Report from the Winter Cycling Conference

    by Karen Lankeshofer

    Karen at the Winter Cycling Congress in Moscow.

    It’s my good fortune to be teaching in Kazan, Russia this year because it afforded me the opportunity to attend the Winter Cycling Congress in Moscow. The 4-day conference was held from Thursday, February 7 until Sunday, February 11. It wasn’t just about cycling when it snows, it was about making cities more livable. (Copenhagen removes snow from the sidewalks and bike paths first and only then cleans the streets. The snow is then dumped in parking lots. Motorists understand that they are not the top priority. Ya gotta love it!)
    From all the sessions I attended, one thing was abundantly clear: change starts at the bottom and it always starts small. Whether it was passing out LED lights to school kids in Finland so they could ride to school through the dark or the Austrian-Polish couple who rides their tandem all over Europe and invites mayors of the cities they stop in to take a ride with them, all the initiatives were from the bottom up and not top down. These stories underscored for me the continued importance of grassroots efforts and constant advocacy work. To see how advocacy can work well, check out Slow Roll Chicago and Equiticity. Obai Reed is making things work.
    Two other important take-aways for me were that poorly constructed or insufficient infrastructure is the cause of many otherwise avoidable crashes. Markings have to be clear for all traffic participants, surfaces have to be non-slippery and all infrastructure should be built with the assumption that it will be used in winter and constructed accordingly. The second thing is that Vision Zero in Sweden is now 20 years old. The goal of the program is being revised to not just reducing traffic deaths and injuries, but to increasing life expectancy.
    One unexpected bonus for me was that I met the delegation from my Russian province of Tatarstan there. They are very interested in improving biking conditions through bike education in the schools and creating better infrastructure. I was able to connect them with my school, and my administration is already making plans to install a covered bike rack in spring and working together with the delegation to hold bike education classes at Bala-City School.
    The WCC closed on Sunday with a bike parade through snowy Moscow. There were between 3000 and 4000 participants. Winter cycling is not a passing fad. It’s a part of a growing awareness that urban areas have to change their way of thinking if they want to survive and remain viable.
    Next year’s WCC will take place in Calgary.

    The Moscow traffic center, as seen during the Winter Cycling Congress in 2018.


    The City of Rochester Public Market: An Important Example and Experiment in Our Community

    Guest essay submitted by: Evan Lowenstein, Reconnect Rochester Member and Assistant Market Supervisor for Communications and Special Events/Projects, City of Rochester Public Market… 

    Rochester Public MarketThe City of Rochester Public Market is an endearing, fascinating example of the many things planners value and work for:  successful public places and spaces; sense of place; mixed use; real and working diversity; pedestrian-focused; linkage of city, suburbs, and rural areas; supportive of the local economy.  

    While the Market has made strides in multi-modal transportation access by creating a pedestrian, bicycle, and transit-friendly Market, there is a lot of work to do. The Market can and should be a true leader in moving the community forward in its transportation mindsets and methods.

    Read more