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Complete Streets Makeover: Public Call for Nominations Now Open Thru July 30

Is there an intersection or trouble spot in your daily travels that doesn’t feel safe to bike or walk?

Nominate it for a Complete Street Makeover today!

Submit your nomination by Friday, July 30, 2021.

Reconnect Rochester and our team of partners believe streets are for people (not just cars). No one understands what it’s like to use our streets better than those who walk, bike, roll and ride along them everyday.

We need your help identifying the intersections and trouble spots in Monroe County that could be redesigned to make them safer for everyone.


What’s in a Makeover

From the public nominations received, our Steering Committee will select a Complete Streets Makeover Winner based on established judging criteria. Selection factors include crash safety data of incidents at the location, potential for design improvements, proximity to kids, and evidence of community support for change. 

The Complete Streets Makeover Winner receives:

    • a community workshop to hear resident and stakeholder input, facilitated by the Community Design Center
    • a professional street re-design that will make it safer for those walking and biking, created by the engineering team at Stantec  
    • an on-street installation of temporary design improvements (using equipment from the HealthiKids traffic calming library), and street painting supplies & expertise
    • speed data collection as evidence of the project’s impact, and
    • ongoing guidance and support of neighborhood follow-up advocacy to make the changes permanent.

To get a sense for the project, watch this short film about our Complete Streets Makeover project at the intersection of Parsells & Greeley in 2018.

From the remaining nominations, the Steering Committee will select two (2) additional locations as Design Rendering Winners. Each of these locations will receive a conceptual drawing by the engineering team at Stantec to show possible street design improvements that would make it safer for those walking and biking. The neighborhood can use the illustration as a starting point for further community conversation, and a tool to advocate for improvements.

What is a ‘Complete Street’?

A complete street allows everyone—regardless of age, ability or mode of transportation—to safely access that street. It is a street shared by pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and motorists.

Complete Streets Makeover
Complete Streets Makeover
Complete Streets Makeover
Photos on the left show a street designed exclusively for cars; photos on the right show a ‘complete street’ designed for people.

Why Do We Do This?

According to the latest “Dangerous By Design” report, the number of pedestrians fatalities in the U.S. increased by 45% from 2010-2019. During this ten-year period, 53,435 people were hit and killed by drivers. The last four years (2016-2019) were the most deadly years for pedestrian deaths since 1990. In 2019 alone, 6,237 people were killed, which is the equivalent of more than 17 people dying per day. 

In Monroe County, from 2010-2017, over 4,000 crashes involved bicyclists and pedestrians, and eight people die on our local streets every year as a result of these crashes. 

Responding to this growing epidemic was the impetus behind the creation of our Complete Streets Makeover (CSM) program in 2018. Our goal is to bring attention to complete street design as one critical factor in creating streets that are safe for everyone. 

Learn More

Visit Complete Streets Makeover program page to learn more about why we do this, the process components, and short films about our past projects.

Program Partners

HealthiKids
Community Design Center of Rochester - CDCR

Complete Streets Makeover: Making Rochester streets safer for all

According to the latest “Dangerous By Design” report, the number of pedestrians fatalities in the U.S. increased by 45% from 2010-2019. During this ten-year period, 53,435 people were hit and killed by drivers. The last four years (2016-2019) were the most deadly years for pedestrians since 1990. In 2019 alone, 6,237 people were killed, which is the equivalent of more than 17 people dying per day.

In Monroe County, from 2010-2017, over 4,000 crashes involved bicyclists and pedestrians, and eight people die on our local streets every year as a result of these crashes.

Responding to this growing epidemic was the impetus behind the creation of our Complete Streets Makeover (CSM) program in 2018. Our goal is to bring attention to complete street design as one critical factor in creating streets that are safe for everyone. A complete street allows everyone—regardless of age, ability or mode of transportation—safe access on that street. It is a street shared by pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and motorists. 

At Reconnect Rochester, we believe providing safe streets for people to walk and bike is a matter of social justice, especially for those in our community who are most vulnerable — young children, the elderly, the transit dependent, and those who cannot afford to own a car. Through this program, we and our team of partners are taking social action around this issue in a creative way that produces tangible results and builds community in the process.

The Selection Process

Each year, we begin our Complete Streets Makeover program by putting out a public call for submissions.  We ask Monroe County residents to help identify the intersections and corridors they find to be the least friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists. No one understands what it’s like to use our streets better than the people who walk, bike and roll along them every day.

From the public nominations received, a Program Steering Committee made up of City and County officials, transportation professionals and community advocates, selects a winning location to receive the “Complete Streets Makeover” treatment. Selection factors include crash safety data, proximity to kids, and the potential and feasibility of design improvements. In other words, we select the most dangerous street with the greatest potential for change.

Transforming the Street

We begin the makeover treatment with a community workshop, facilitated by the Community Design Center, that engages neighbors and other stakeholders. We listen to their experiences and ideas, and together we re-imagine a vibrant space that’s designed for people. Using the input from this workshop, the Stantec design team creates an illustration of temporary improvements that could be made.

The next step is for the community to bring this design to life. Neighbors come together for an on-street event that transforms the intersection. We utilize equipment from HealthiKids’ “traffic calming library”, street painting, and other creative “placemaking” elements. There is community building, food, music and joy. (Watch the short films below to experience the magic of the day!)

Proving Results

The temporary on-street experiment is intended to implement some elements of design improvement, enough for the neighborhood to show reduced speeds. With the help of Genesee Transportation Council, we collect speed data before the on-street installation, and then again post-installation. The neighborhood uses this powerful evidence to advocate for making permanent street design changes.

In the case of our 2018 project at the intersection of Parsells Ave. & Greeley St., it took some time, but in November 2020, the City of Rochester installed permanent raised crosswalks at two locations on Parsells Avenue (one at the intersection, and one a few blocks further down the road). The neighborhood succeeded in coming together to disrupt this car-dominated speedway, and take it back as a safe and welcoming space for everyone.

For every CSM project, Reconnect Rochester and our partners continue, for as long as it takes, to support the neighborhood’s advocacy efforts to make permanent street design improvements.

Experience the Magic

Nothing captures the life of a project better than film. For each of our projects, Reconnect Rochester, in partnership with Floating Home Films, produces a short film that tells the story. Watch and be inspired!

Program Partners

HealthiKids
Community Design Center of Rochester - CDCR
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Announcing the Winner and Finalists of the 2019 Complete Streets Makeover

(Drumroll please…)

Announcing the Winner and Finalists of the 2019 Complete Streets Makeover

In March, 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.

The community response was tremendous, and we thank all those who took the time to submit nominations! We received a total of 159 nominations for 31 locations in Monroe County.

Click here to view in Google Maps

The Steering Committee had a tough task to choose from so many quality submissions and deserving locations! A set of established judging criteria helped guide us through the selection process. Here we are, hard at work examining each and every submission:

 

So What’s the Good Word?

In the end, we selected the following locations for this year’s project:

  • N. Clinton Ave. in the El Camino neighborhood – WINNER
  • S. Clinton, S. Goodman & Henrietta St. – FINALIST
  • Monroe Ave. & Sutherland St. (Village of Pittsford) – FINALIST
The block of N. Clinton Ave. between Hoeltzer St. & Sullivan St. will be the project focus area

The North Clinton Ave. location presented the right mix of community support, evidence of safety concerns, and potential for a street re-design that would create real, transformative change for the community through our project. A Complete Streets Makeover will also be perfectly timed to dovetail with plans already underway for this corridor.

We are eager to get to work with Ibero-American Development Corporation and other community partners in the El Camino neighborhood to be part of the exciting development of the International Plaza (see rendering below), which recently received funding from the City of Rochester that will drive the project forward.

What Happens Now?

The Complete Streets Makeover will kick off with a community input session in June (facilitated by the Community Design Center) to hear from the residents of the El Camino neighborhood about their experiences and ideas. No one understands what it’s like to use our streets better than those who walk, bike, roll and ride along them everyday.

Parsells Avenue Redesign Event, Beechwood Neighborhood
Last year’s community input session in the Beechwood neighborhood.

Based on feedback from this session, the complete streets design team at Stantec will draft conceptual design improvements of an improved streetscape. The design will be brought to life through a temporary on-street installation in September. We will rely on people power from the neighborhood community, and equipment from the Healthi Kids traffic calming library to lay down the temporary design on the street. Stay tuned for project updates as we go along!

What About the Finalists?

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

S. Clinton, S. Goodman & Henrietta St.
Monroe Ave. & Sutherland St. (Village of Pittsford)

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The Power of the Sneckdown

Story By Arian Horbovetz.  Arian is a Rochester resident and creator of The Urban Phoenix, a blog that discusses urban and community design and topics as our cities transition to a better future.

As I write this, the city of Rochester is passively preparing for yet another battle with a dreaded but familiar foe, lake effect snow.  Winter boots and labored commutes will surely be the icebreaker (pun intended) conversation starters at the office water cooler today. But for the Urban Planner, as well as the casual observer, periods of light snow can be opportunities for great discovery.

In that time when the first whispers of a snow storm cover our streets and the plows are still dormant in their stalls, we navigate our vehicles on roadways by following the tracks left behind by the cars that recently came before us.  To an Urban Planner, these tracks, especially with regard to their path through intersections, are of particular importance.

The ability to see the space that cars use (or rather don’t use) when traveling through an intersection by looking at these tracks through the snow gives us a golden opportunity to demonstrate how and where our streets can be narrowed.  Think of it like an Urban Planner’s forensic blacklight, revealing the key unseen evidence of superfluous roadway.

These visual clues created by snow and tire tracks through our intersections are called Sneckdowns.  While the name might conjure the image of a Dr. Seuss character, it is actually derived from the combination of “snow” and “neckdown,” which is a term for sidewalk additives and extensions that reduce traffic speeds and increase pedestrian access.

Photo of Philadelphia Sneckdown

Photo courtesy of Jon Geeting

Photo of Philadelphia Sneckdown

Photo courtesy of Jon Geeting

In 2014, urbanist Jon Geeting authored a Slate article in which he took simple photos of sneckdowns on Philadelphia streets.  His efforts inspired walkability advocates around the world to do the same, but best of all, it led to real change in his own backyard.  

Before Picture. Photo courtesy of Jon Geeting

Jon Geeting’s Sneckdown photo of this intersection paved the way for this concrete island which acts as a traffic calming measure and a pedestrian island for safer crossing. Photo courtesy of Jon Geeting

Clarence Eckerson’s famous STREETFILMS video shows some incredible examples of how overbuilt our streets really are.  With a measuring device and some cold weather grit, Eckerson puts the power of sneckdowns right in front of the viewer, showing how snowbanks that accumulate on city streets can give us a clearer understanding of how to construct and reconstruct our streets going forward.

Why all this fuss about narrowing streets and slowing traffic?  Because decreasing automobile speeds by narrowing lanes and intersections, as well as prioritizing pedestrians, lead to safer, healthier communities.  Furthermore, promoting walkability and pedestrian comfort has been shown to feed economic growth and stability.  

Sneckdowns also give the average citizen the ability to see where change can be enacted.  It doesn’t take a traffic engineer to spot tracks in the snow, it takes a conscious observer who is genuinely concerned about safety and walkability in their environments.  

Hey Rochester!  Next time it snows, take to the streets and see if you can spot overbuilt space on our roads and intersections.  It can be a fun, interesting and positive way to start the conversation about safer streets in your neighborhood, and may even lead to the change we want to see!

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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:

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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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