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Top ten things we’re most proud of in 2022

At Reconnect Rochester, 2022 brought renewed hope and activity as the world opened up and we could get back to what we love doing best — getting together and working alongside people and organizations in the community who share our passion for improved mobility.

This has also been a year of dramatic organizational growth that’s allowed us to do even more to pursue our hopes and dreams for mobility in Monroe County. Check out below the Top 10 things we’re most proud of accomplishing in 2022. The list gets more action-packed each year!


TOP 10 THINGS WE’RE MOST PROUD OF IN 2022
(In no particular order of importance.)

#10

Inspired People to Get Multi-Modal

At Reconnect Rochester, we want to inspire and empower people to use various modes of transportation and discover the joy and freedom of getting around by bus, by rail, on bike or on foot. Our Car-Lite ROC blog series featured the voices and stories of folks around the community who are living a car-lite lifestyle in Rochester and loving it! Catch up on the blog series here and listen to the podcast of some of our guest bloggers on Connections with Evan Dawson.

#9

Expanded Bus Amenities

Bus Stop Cube Ribbon Cutting; group of people smile as they get ready to cut a white ribbon that's in front of a red bus stop cube

In August, we held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the installation of 23 more bus stop cubes on Portland, Hudson, Lake, Dewey & St. Paul. Seating at bus stops not only supports the basic needs of people who rely on RTS bus service, it also encourages more people to use public transit by improving the experience. Special thanks to the City of Rochester for being a valued partner on this project, and State Senator Samra Brouk for securing funding to support this round of bus stop cubes.

#8

Transformed an Intersection

Kids and adults paint the road with large paint rollers

We continued our effort to make Rochester streets safer for all with a Complete Street Makeover of the intersection of Orange Street and Orchard Street in the JOSANA neighborhood.  In collaboration with many neighborhood and community partners, we implemented temporary street design changes to make the intersection safer for those who use it every day. As a result of our installation, the average speed decreased 20%, the 85th percentile speed declined 28%, and the maximum speed declined 26%.

#7

Used the Power of Film to Educate and Inspire

4 panelists sit in director chairs on a theatre stage; 1 moderator stands at a podium

This year, we produced two Rochester Street Films events at The Little Theatre. In June, we partnered with the Climate Solutions Accelerator to showcase the feature-length documentary Life on Wheels, followed by a discussion about the mindset & policy shifts needed to create a more multimodal community. In October, we brought a set of curated film clips to the screen to explore Why We Bike, and had a panel discussion and Q&A about the rewards for us personally and as a society when more people ride bikes.

#6

Expanded Our Advocacy Efforts

7 people on a Zoom grid

In January, we welcomed James Dietz in the newly created Advocacy Manager position to bolster our volunteer-based advocacy work with staff-based efforts. Our advocacy efforts this year included a virtual trip to Albany to fight for safe streets legislation & public transit funding, supporting the expansion and accessibility of mobility options like HOPR bike & e-scooter share and the launch of Floshare electric car share, and more on-the-ground action like mobilizing a team of staff and volunteers to shovel out bus stop cubes.

#5

Stepped up Communications and Outreach Efforts

Staff member Jahasia stands and smiles behind a Reconnect information table

In August, Jahasia Esgdaille joined our team in another newly created position of Community Engagement Manager. This investment in staff capacity has allowed us to step up our engagement in the community with things like increasing our in-person presence via event tabling, conducting an RTS rider survey, introducing quarterly Engagement Breakfasts, and expanding our social media presence (you can now find us on Instagram!).

#4

Strengthened Partnerships

Indoor Press Conference with County Executive Adam Bello for Drive 2B Better campaign

This year, we made a concerted effort to strengthen our relationships with key entities in the transportation sector and organizations that share our passion for better public transit and safe streets. We’ve established regular meetings with RTSGTC, the City of Rochester and Monroe County, and work with countless other elected officials and organizations in the course of our day-to-day work. It was collaborative conversations that led to Monroe County’s decision to fund the relaunch of the public awareness campaign Drive 2B Better, developed by a coalition group led by HealthiKids that aims to increase safety for all road users. You can request a D2BB lawn sign for your yard here!

#3

Gave & Encouraged Public Input

Monroe County Active Transportation Plan Logo

Thanks to the work of our Advocacy Committee, Reconnect submitted input on every major street project and community plan in Monroe County, beating the drum to incorporate complete streets policies and a more multimodal community. We gave special attention to providing robust input into the City and County Active Transportation Plans, attended countless public meetings, and served on project advisory committees for Aqueduct Reimagined and the Zoning Alignment Project.

#2

Expanded Cycling Resources & Activities

Group bike ride photo; "we are the change that we seek" mural.

We continued to exponentially expand cycling-focused programs, advocacy, education & outreach, including the creation of a one-stop Community Cycling Calendar and the RocEasy Bike map of recommended low-stress bike routes around Rochester. Plus, we pulled off our first annual ROC ‘n Roll community ride, continued our Flower City Feeling Good bike rides in collaboration with the City of Rochester and Exercise Express, rolled out Local History Bike Tours, and hosted a 2-day workshop by the League of American Bicyclists for local transportation planner’s and advocates. We’re especially proud of our first annual Mind the Gap campaign which asked cyclists where critical bike connections were missing in Monroe County’s bike network.

Check out the CYCLING TOP 10 LIST for even more about bike-related efforts led by our rock star Cycling Manager, Jesse Peers.

#1

Leveled Up Our Staff & Welcomed New Board Leadership

If you’ve made it this far, you’ll know there were a few areas where we mentioned increased staff capacity. In 2022, we were able to hire two full-time employees and increase the hours of our part-time employees. More human power means more impact, and we are loving all the new and expanded ways we’ve been able to tackle our mission. This growth was made possible in great part by the continued support of Dr. Scott MacRae and a generous grant from the ESL Charitable Foundation’s Building Strong Neighborhoods initiative.

We also brought on three new board members – Bree-Ana Dukes, Bo Shoemaker & Erick Stephens – who have each used their experience and talent to energize our efforts.

Just imagine what we can do in 2023!

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Top ten things we’re most proud of in 2021.

2021 is coming to a close. In the realm of transportation, this year brought a mix of positive progress and setbacks. At Reconnect Rochester, we strive to be innovative and to pivot fast when we see input opportunities to capitalize on, or mobility issues that need attention.

Despite the uncertainty and challenges of our times, we moved our mission forward with intensity. Below is “Top 10” list of accomplishments we’re most proud of this year.


TOP 10 THINGS WE’RE MOST PROUD OF IN 2021
(In no particular order of importance.)

#10

Legislative Advocacy

In March, we made a virtual trip to Albany to champion public transit and safe streets for Rochester area residents (and all New Yorkers). In April & May, we made the rounds to meet with our federal legislators. Among other things, we asked for Phase 2 funding to build the station that long-distance bus riders deserve. Here’s our team meeting with staff from Senator Gillibrand’s office.

#9

More Cubes on the Ground

Thanks to the City of Rochester and many other people and partners (you know who you are), we installed 16 more fiberglass bus stop cubes in the 19th Ward & La Marketa neighborhoods. That brings the total to 31 bus stops where RTS riders now have a respectable place to sit while they wait. Here’s a birds eye view from the balcony of Teen Empowerment on Genesee Street.

#8

Weighing In on Projects & Plans

Through our Advocacy Committee, we submitted written input, attended public meetings and served on advisory committees on countless infrastructure projects and community plans. We urge planners and decision makers to create a connected community with streets and spaces designed for people. This kind of hyper-active advocacy work results in big wins, like the cycle track you see emerging here on E. Main Street, a project we weighed in on in 2019.

#7

Supporting Public Transit

We continued to play an active role in what’s happening with public transit in our community. We partner with RTS to advocate for increased funding that will allow them to make service improvements and expand bus stop amenities. We support mechanisms that will give riders visibility and voice around decision making tables. When there was an unexpected rollback in service in September, we made a strong statement and tried to keep the community informed.

#6

Spotlight on Pedestrian Safety

At our November edition of Rochester Street Films, we brought together our safe streets community partners, victims of road violence, community leaders and concerned citizens to have a community conversation about the silent epidemic of pedestrian injuries and fatalities on our streets. In case you missed it, watch the recording to catch up on the conversation!

#5

Informing the Electorate

Leading up to election days in June & November, we surveyed all candidates for Rochester Mayor and City Council to learn where they stand on issues related to transportation and mobility. Questions were designed to learn about their opinions, ideas and vision for a well-connected and accessible community.

#4

Making Monroe County Bike Friendlier

We continued to exponentially expand cycling-focused programs, advocacy, education and outreach. In fact, there are so many accomplishments that we had to create a CYCLING TOP 10 LIST. These efforts are led by Cycling Manager Jesse Peers with support from countless passionate people and partners working to make our community a safer and more bike friendly place.

#3

Supporting New Mobility Options

We helped educate the community and promote HOPR’s first season in our area, and we celebrated the installation of 8 new HOPR stations to expand bike & e-scooter access in Rochester’s underserved neighborhoods. We also spread the word about the launch of Floshare, an electric carshare pilot that offers an option for low income residents that can’t afford to own a personal vehicle.

#2

Blog Content That Inspires

We amped up content on our blog and enlisted guest blog writers to help us provoke thought and community engagement about things like transportation climate solutions, urban density, and designing streets for people. We’re especially proud of our 20 Minutes by Bike blog series.

#1

Strengthening Our Organization

Reconnect Rochester took some big leaps forward in 2021. We completed a 3-year strategic plan that charts our path ahead, announced a transformative investment by Dr. Scott MacRae (pictured above) that will enable us to expand our staff capacity, and appointed Mary Staropoli as Interim Executive Director to lead us through this period of growth and transition. In case you missed it, you can catch up on all the excitement here.

Just imagine what we can do in 2022!

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Top ten things we’re most proud of in 2020.

2020 has been a year like no other.

Like every non-profit, the pandemic forced Reconnect Rochester to pivot fast to re-tool our planned programs and goals for the year. Luckily, we are small (but mighty), and nothing if not nimble. Despite all the challenges, we managed to move our mission forward with intensity. Check out (below) the “Top 10” list of accomplishments we’re most proud of in 2020.

We also faced financial uncertainty this year as prospects for grants and sponsorships dissipated. You know what got us through? The generosity of supporting members during our last membership drive, especially our sustaining members whose monthly donations proved to be extra crucial this year.

If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll take a look at the membership levels and gift options and make a donation toward our 2021 Membership Drive so we can hit the ground rolling in 2021!


TOP 10 THINGS WE’RE MOST PROUD OF IN 2020
(In no particular order of importance.)

#10

Releasing a new original short film titled Think Transit First to highlight transportation as a systemic equity issue in our community, and the innovative ways some local organizations are meeting transportation needs. The film premiered at our Nov 12 Rochester Street Films event, which also included a presentation of local statistics and a panel discussion. Please watch and share this important film!

#9

Installing 15 fiberglass bus stop cubes on Parsells, Lyell & Monroe Avenues to give RTS riders a respectable place to sit while they wait, and celebrated at a ribbon cutting event with City officials and project partners. Check out the Channel 8 news story and more photos of the ribbon cutting event.

#8

Hosting a 3-hour virtual Complete Streets Training attended by 60 local public officials, planners, engineers and advocates. Justin Booth of GObike Buffalo led a discussion about the benefits of active mobility and complete streets, and how we can make our roads safe for people of all ages and abilities.

#7

Rolling out a set of bike education offerings to encourage more people in our community to experience the health and financial benefits of biking to get around, and deliver the information they need to do so safely and comfortably.
p.s. Find out more about classes & presentations you can bring to your workplace, campus, community library or schools.

#6

Joining forces with Rochester Cycling Alliance to weigh in on an untold number of transportation plans and projects, like the Priority Bicycle Boulevards plan, GTC’s Long Range Transportation Plan, and infrastructure projects all over the City and County. Our favorite win this year was a final design for E. Main Street that includes dedicated bike lanes, a result of working alongside neighborhood partners to advocate for a street design that accommodates ALL users.

#5

Publicly expressing our solidarity with the movement toward racial justice in our community by signing on to the community statement that Racism is a Public Health Crisis. We also committed to reflect and actively work on holding ourselves accountable for living up to our professed values of equity and inclusion, and centering anti-racism in our work.

#4

Exponentially expanding cycling focused programs and outreach led by the Rochester Cycling Alliance during the first full year of our organizations coming together. A film screening and panel discussion of the Dutch film Why We Cycle, a virtual update on the City’s bike infrastructure, on-bike classes at the Rochester Public market, a bike law refresher video for Rochester Police Department officers, and many more accomplishments too numerous to name.

#3

Getting our Monroe County Crash Map (which had crashed) updated on our website with a fresh new design! The map is a resource for looking up crashes that involve pedestrians and cyclists, and serves as a tool for local advocacy efforts around safe streets in our community.

#2

Adding new multi-modal themed products and designs to our online shop. All sales and proceeds are reinvested to support our work in the community.
p.s. Several new products are available as membership gifts!

#1

Traveling to Albany to meet with local legislators and advocate for a legislative platform to improve transportation in our region, developed in partnership with Our Streets Transit Coalition member organizations.


…and that doesn’t even count the ways we spark community engagement and conversation every day through social media shares and blog posts about things like the survival of public transit, the benefits of reduced motor traffic, or the automobile and racial exclusivity.

We think that’s a pretty darn good Top 10 list for a disrupted kind of year.

Just imagine what we can do in 2021!