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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!

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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.

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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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Rochester Extends Red Light Camera Program

Rochester Extends Right Light Camera Program [PHOTO: Renee Stetzer]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

Last night the City Council approved the extension of Rochester’s red light camera program until December 2019. The 6 to 3 vote was originally scheduled for September, but postponed when the results of the red light camera study were not yet available. The official report was released last week…

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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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New Citywide 25MPH Speed Limit in NYC

New Citywide 25MPH Speed Limit in NYC. [PHOTO: Vision Zero, NYC.gov]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

New York City’s new lower citywide speed limit goes into effect today. In June the NY State legislature passed a bill that allowed NYC to lower its default speed limit to 25mph external link. Part of the city’s Vision Zero plan external link to eliminate traffic fatalities, the new lower default speed limit was approved by the City Council in October and signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio last week. And the new 25mph signs are going up today…

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City Council to Vote to Extend Red Light Camera Program

Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo granted permission for several cities and counties in New York, including Rochester, to begin or continue red light camera programs until 2019.  [PHOTO: FringeHog, Flickr]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

The City Council will vote to extend the red light camera program on October 14th. Rochester began its program in 2010 and there are currently cameras installed at over 30 intersections. The city recently completed its second study on the impact the cameras have on traffic accidents at intersections with cameras. Although the official report is not yet available to the public, some draft findings were shared at a City Council meeting in August.  Here are a few…
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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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Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism

Benjamin Ross event flyer.
On Monday, September 29, Reconnect Rochester will host a discussion with author and transit advocate Benjamin Ross. Mr. Ross will be at the Public Library on Monroe Ave. at 6:30 p.m. to talk about his new book, Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism external link. Afterwards, follow us across the street to Aladdin’s for more conversation with Ross, and enjoy some free munchies courtesy of Reconnect Rochester. Please join this free event on Facebook external link and bring a friend or two. We hope to see you there!

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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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Cuomo Approves Red Light Cameras Through 2019

Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo granted permission for several cities and counties in New York, including Rochester, to begin or continue red light camera programs until 2019. [PHOTO: Renee Stetzer]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo granted permission for several cities and counties in New York, including Rochester, to begin or continue red light camera programs until 2019. Red light camera programs remain a controversial topic, but cities all over the country are choosing to continue their programs as they strive to make their streets safer for all who traverse them. New York City Mayor de Blasio is leading the charge in our state with his Vision Zero external link plan, a multi-faceted approach to reducing traffic fatalities – and red light cameras are one of those facets…

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Can Lower City Speed Limits Make Streets Safer?

In June, the New York State legislature passed a bill to let NYC lower its default limit to 25mph. Lowering speed limits is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan. [PHOTO: Dmitry Gudkov, Flickr]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

All across the country, state legislatures are raising speed limits on roadways external link. I think the highest I’ve read about is a tollway in Texas, which is taking on the Autobahn with an 85 mph limit. Highways are getting faster it seems. New York City, however, has been pushing for the authority to lower speed limits on its streets. And in June, the New York State legislature passed a bill to let NYC lower its default limit to 25mph (from the default of 30 mph). Lowering default speed limits on its 6000 miles of roads is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero external link plan to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024…

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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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Do Red Light Cameras Make Rochester Streets Safer?

Do Red Light Cameras Make Rochester Streets Safer? [PHOTO: FringeHog, Flickr]
Posted by: Renee Stetzer, pedestrian safety advocate and blogger at RocVille.com

The City of Rochester began installing red light cameras in 2010. There are currently over 30 intersections equipped with red light cameras (see the full list and a map here external link) The cameras are active 24/7 and get still photos and video anytime a vehicle runs a red light. Registered owners of vehicles that are “captured” running red lights in those intersections are sent a Notice of Liability in the mail.

Many drivers, of course, do not like the presence of the cameras. They feel like big brother is watching…

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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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