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 , 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…
Reconnect Rochester supports the expansion of transit services including pedestrian, bike, bus and rail facilities, into a truly multimodal transportation network. Our volunteers work hard to support Rochester’s existing public transit system, shape regional policies to enhance it, and reconnect our community in ways that improve personal mobility, urban vitality, environmental sustainability, and economic development.
If you’ve been following us over the past two years and like what we do, come out, meet us for a drink, and hear what we’ve been up to.
Posted by: Mike Governale Reconnect Rochester loves September. The weather is typically gorgeous making it the perfect alternative transportation time of year! And now, with Greentopia coming up (September 10-16) it’s feeling like holiday time for us.
The Greentopia Festival is getting ready to kick off this weekend. Check out the photo above, snapped earlier today on Commercial Street. Ain’t that something?!
The two-day, interactive fest in historic High Falls will reveal what the region is doing to help the environment – and envision a greener Rochester of the future. The volunteers at Reconnect Rochester are VERY excited to have a booth at this brand new event to help promote the green movement and alternate forms of transportation.
I won’t give away the surprise, but we’ll be featuring an out-of-this-world exhibit highlighting some “green” benefits of transit you probably never knew.
Announcing the FIRST EVER
“Critical Mass Transit Day!”
Reconnect Rochester is using this weekend’s event to get the word out about the first ever “Critical Mass Transit Day”—taking place on the 3rd Thursday of October (10/20/2011) and every month thereafter.
Similar to the cycling version of Critical Mass where cyclists take to the streets on human-powered modes of transport, Critical Mass Transit will be a celebration of greener, more social forms of transportation. The rules are simple: on the 3rd Thursday of every month, leave your car at home and walk, bike, or roller skate to the nearest bus stop. Take the bus to work (or where ever it is you go during the day) and then take it back home at the end of the day.
Get Your FREE Ride…
To make things a little more interesting, we’ve teamed up with the Transit Authority to offer you a FREE day on RTS. You heard me right… The first Critical Mass Transit Day can be absolutely FREE for you… No strings. All you have to do is visit our booth at the Greentopia Festival and say hello.
So come visit us Saturday or Sunday in the High Falls overlook area (where Browns Race and Commercial Street meet) and get green with us.
This past weekend the Department of Chemistry and Geosciences at Monroe Community College (MCC) held its annual Professional Development Field trip for faculty members. This year’s theme was “Seeking a Greener Rochester” and Reconnect Rochester was invited to give a brief history lesson on Rochester’s transit history and a perspective on the future.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous this Saturday as we all gathered outside on the Court Street bridge. This was a fitting location as the very spot where the Genesee River, Erie Canal, the old subway, two extinct railroads and Interstate 490 all meet. And the story we told went something like this…
This Thursday evening Reconnect Rochester will be at the Sierra Club’s 13th Annual Environmental Forum, “Sustainable Production: Rochester’s Cutting Edge”. Come out and see us at our table and hear two nationally recognized leaders on sustainable production and manufacturing. Happy Earth Day!
House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica will visit Rochester and Cortland on Thursday as part of the field hearings and listening sessions being held around the country by the Committee on the next federal transportation bill.
While the hearings are open to the public, testimony is via invitation only. Members of the public will be allowed to bring written testimony to share with staff at the hearing, or mail in their testimony directly to the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. The Rochester hearing was originally scheduled for February; local advocates held their own transportation town hall to get more inclusive input, and delivered it to Rep. Mica.
Rochester Field Hearing (co-hosted by Rep. Tom Reed)
Thursday, March 24, 9-11am
Rochester International Airport [map]
This past Tuesday evening Reconnect Rochester co-sponsored a Mayoral forum on issues related to land use, neighborhood urban planning, transportation, development and revitalization. Bill Johnson, Tom Richards, and Alex White went toe to toe and Rachel Barnhart (WHAM 13 News) moderated.
In all, well over 200 people turned out and submitted questions ranging from planning to poverty. The event was the first extended, in-depth forum of Rochester’s mayoral campaign and was covered by several local news outlets including YNN, WROC, and the D&C.
Now, in the famous words of sportscaster Warner Wolf, “Let’s go to the video tape!” And let us know what you think of the candidates’ responses in the comments section.
While Rochester searches for its next mayor to take office and begin the arduous task of planning the City’s future, Reconnect Rochester is taking the issues to the candidates and the candidates to the people.
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITE TO ATTEND… A Transportation Equity Town Hall with the New York State Transportation Equity Alliance, Reconnect Rochester, and Empire State Future on February 17th from 6 to 8 PM in the Kate Gleason Auditorium at the Rochester Central Library.
New Yorkers’ transportation needs are changing, but our transportation policies are stuck in the past. Come join New York State Transportation Equity Alliance for a forum on how federal and state transportation policy impacts New York. Learn how we can shape these federal and state policies to create faster, cleaner, safer, healthier and more equitable transportation choices for all New Yorkers.
Rep. John Mica, Chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a Field Hearing in Rochester on February 18, 2011 regarding reauthorization of The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient ransportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), enacted August 10, 2005. SAFETEA-LU authorized $286.4 billion for Federal surface transportation programs for highways, transit, and bicycles and pedestrians for the 5-year period, 2005-2009. The latest continuing resolution for extending funding will expire on March 3, 2011.
Tonight’s screening of Beyond the Motor City at the Dryden Theater was, in my opinion, a phenomenal event for Rochester. After the film, seven panelists discussed local transportation issues and took questions on the subject from the nearly full audience. Of course, in the allotted timeframe we were only able to scratch the surface, but this is a conversation that we will carry on in the months, and years ahead. If you’re not already, now would be a good time to make sure you’re following Reconnect Rochester on Facebook . And, in case you missed tonight’s event, here is Beyond the Motor City in its entirety. Enjoy…
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On Monday June 28 at 7:00pm you are invited to a FREE screening of PBS’s eye-opening film, BLUEPRINT AMERICA: BEYOND THE MOTOR CITY at the Dryden Theater. The documentary is touring cities across America to raise questions—and seek answers—about the future of transportation in America. Can we build the “infrastructure of tomorrow” today? Can the cash-strapped and car-dependent cities of the so-called Rust Belt become new models for fast, clean, public transit? The links and similarities between Rochester NY and Detroit MI are glaringly obvious—and I think you owe it to yourself to see this film.
New hopes for accessible, clean, and modern mass transit in America
The role of cities, and consumers, in shaping the next generation of transportation systems
A roadmap for revitalizing the way we move through our cities and neighborhoods
This will surely be a thought-provoking FREE event and a great opportunity for you to take part in a very important FREE conversation for our community. So mark your calendar and bring some friends. Did I mention this is FREE?!
More About the Film:
BLUEPRINT AMERICA: BEYOND THE MOTOR CITY examines how Detroit, a grim symbol of America’s diminishing status in the world, may come to represent the future of transportation and progress in America. Narrated by Miles O’Brien, the film explores Detroit’s historic investments in infrastructure—from early 19th- century canals to the urban freeways that gave The Motor City its name and made America’s transportation system the envy of the world.
But over the last 30 years, much of the world has left Detroit—and America—behind, choosing faster, cleaner, more modern transportation. In a journey that takes us into the neighborhoods of Detroit and then beyond to Spain, California, and our nation’s capital, BLUEPRINT AMERICA: BEYOND THE MOTOR CITY urges us to ask how we might finally push America’s transportation system into the 21st century.
BLUEPRINT AMERICA: BEYOND THE MOTOR CITY is part of Blueprint America, a national, multi-platform initiative examining the state of America’s transportation infrastructure. Blueprint America was created and produced by Thirteen for WNET.ORG and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Surdna Foundation.
…Okay great, now here’s an update. Since that article, traffic to RochesterSubway.com has doubled, our Facebook fan club has grown from 100 to over 400 (and counting), and my inbox hasn’t had a moments rest. This is all very encouraging and a sure sign that the people of Rochester really want to see their city thrive. The big question is; do the people of Rochester care enough to make an effort? All signs point to yes. So far we’ve got 12 people (including myself) who have risen to the challenge. Together we will lead a city wide movement to Reconnect Rochester.
Last Saturday morning, one day after a northeast blizzard moved thru our area, 5 passionate Rochesterians dug there way out of their homes and met me for lunch at Legend’s Bar & Grill. Against the backdrop of a bus-lined Main Street we introduced ourselves and got right down to swapping ideas about how we could help put Rochester back on track—pun intended…