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Harry Davis asks Rochester City Council to Give Up Their Cars

January 23rd, 2010

Harry Davis and his newly formed PAC brought their 'green' development and transportation agenda directly to Rochester City Council last week. (photo: Rochester City Hall, 2009)

Some of you may remember our story on Harry Davis last September. At that time Harry was running a long-shot campaign for Rochester City Council. He didn’t win any of the 5 open council seats. But that didn’t discourage him. He turned right around and announced he’d be write-in candidate for Mayor in November. Mayor Duffy squashed that dream pretty easily on election day. But Harry kept at it. He promptly asked to be hired by Mayor Duffy to lead a “green” urban renewal plan for the city. The Mayor turned him down.

So now Mr. Davis is coming at things from a different angle. Last month he formed his own Political Action Committee (PAC). According to Mr. Davis this new group stands for “green, sustainable development and transportation.” Davis affirms, “The importance of sustainable and efficient transportation for Rochester cannot be overstated. This would include light rail, high-speed rail, bike paths and additional pedestrian options – all of which should complement a rational and minimalist approach to automotive traffic.”

RochesterSubway.com (and a few of our readers) attended one of the group’s meetings last month at Equal Grounds Coffee House (South Avenue). There we met a small but energetic and very optimistic group of people. It was at this caffeine-fueled meeting that Davis’ group committed itself to attend all public City Council meetings. Last Tuesday night Davis’ group made good on its promise.

At the meeting—which was largely overrun with anti school-takeover protesters—Harry and his young group made their voices heard and posed a direct challenge to the Council. Here is a snippet of the statement Mr. Davis read to them:

Transportation, as with other services, is best understood by those who must use it. At a city council candidates debate night held last October by the Center for Disability Rights, I was appalled to hear the response from fellow city council candidates Matt Haag & Jackie Ortiz when asked by Bonnie Cannan if they would give up using their car and take the bus for a day, a week or longer.

I thought at the time that the response of a quick, arrogant “NO! I will not ride a bus!” from Mr. Haag showed absolutely no regard for the plight of his constituents-to-be who must rely on bus service every day to meet their transportation needs.

Ms. Ortiz gave an equally disappointing response to this question.

We suggest that, as a show of both good faith and the desire to understand the needs of their constituents, Ms. Ortiz & Mr. Haag, as well as ALL city council members, pledge tonight to give up the use of their automobiles in favor of bus, bike, or pedestrian transit for a period of one week during the coming month. We further request that City Council undertake the necessary steps to begin evaluation of the modification of the Broad Street plan to include true 21st century public access, including but not limited to bike lanes. We offer to work with City Council to develop such a plan in this instance and on all future occasions.

We look forward to hearing from City Council on the results of these simple requests at the next Council meeting, and further to a long and productive relationship with City Council as we move forward towards our shared goal of a prosperous, sustainable, and livable Rochester.

You can read more about Harry Davis and ask him about joining his group in their fight for a greener Rochester at Harry2009.com external link

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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 at 3:40 pm and is filed under Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Harry Davis asks Rochester City Council to Give Up Their Cars”

  1. Bob says:

    City council is predictably out of touch. I use the bus system for 95% of my local transportation needs. It is not unsanitary, unsafe, unuseful, or any other number of perceived shortcomings flung from the snobbery.

    I suppose you couldn’t expect much from Haag, a candidate who touted an endorsement from the Smugtown Beacon, a ridiculous and counter-productive internet opinion factory.

    I understand the idea behind making the elected officials see how the other half lives, but honestly since the city goverment format switch, city council is small potatoes. I have spent some amount of energy in the past two years trying to promote transit utilization amongst the people I know. Ridership numbers, to me, are the only thing that would get Mark Aesch’s attention enough to expand service to different modes. And perhaps even then he wouldn’t, but if certain archaic taxation statutes were re-examined, there might be incentive for the creation of a private transportation enterprise (which as you’ll remember was the norm in Round 1 of streetcar mania).

  2. Harry Davis says:

    Hello, Rochester Subway Fans,

    I am trying to organize a bike demonstration at the Rochester city hall for the city council meeting on Feb 16 to protest the lack of bike lanes on the new Broad Street which is being built over the former subway.

    Would you be interested in helping with this?

    I was a candidate for the Rochester City Council last year (and Mayor of Rochester for a few days).

    You can see more info here http://www.Harry2009.com

    Please join our new political action committee, HARRYPAC on FaceBook please.

    Thank you,
    Harry Davis
    vote4harry@gmail.com
    585-355-4259

  3. Harry Davis says:

    Rochester City Hall, 30 Church Street, Rochester, NY
    FEBRUARY 16, 5:30PM
    Protest the lack of bicycle lanes on the new Broad Street to be built in Rochester to cover the old subway bed.

    Tuesday, February 16 at Rochester City Hall, 30 Church Street, Rochester, NY
    …………………………………………..
    Observation: Cars keep a greater distance from bicyclists on average when there are no bike lanes, but that without a bike lane cars would occasionally pass much closer than when the bike lane was there.

    Conclusion: Bike lane provides a measure of safety, because with the bike lane cars are more likely to maintain a minimum safe distance from cyclists.
    ………………………………………….
    “The entire length of this project (4,362feet) is a bridge deck carrying Broad Street over the former Rochester Rapid Transit and Industrial Railroad (subway). The original Erie Canal followed the route of what is now known as Broad Street through the City of Rochester between South Avenue and Broad Street. Abandoned in 1918 when the Barge Canal was opened south of the City, the canal bed was deepened and a roof constructed spanning the existing walls of the bed with the Rochester Transit and Industrial Railroad (subway) occupying the lower level and Broad Street on the upper level (surface). The subway opened in 1927 and continued operation until 1956 when it was abandoned. One of the four original mainline tracks continued to be used for freight rail delivery of paper stock to Gannett Rochester Newspapers until 1997 at which time it was abandoned.”

    “The project limits are from Brown Street to Exchange Boulevard. The portion of the tunnel to be filled extends from Brown Street to approximately 200 feet north of W. Main Street. The remainder of the tunnel from W. Main Street to Exchange Street will be rehabilitated.”

    “The road improvements over the portion of the tunnel to be filled include: construction of a new pavement section, new granite curbs and concrete sidewalks, traffic signals, new street lighting, and enhanced landscaping features.”

    “The road improvements over the rehabilitated portion of the tunnel include: milling and resurfacing the existing pavement, select sidewalk replacement and enhanced landscaping features.”

    (The above was quoted from the City of Rochester presentation “Broad Street Tunnel Improvement Project” a Public Information Meeting at the Rochester Public Library, South Avenue, December 17, 2009.)

    NO BIKE LANES!!!


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