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Councilmember Carla Palumbo: “We Have a Transportation Plan”

October 8th, 2010

Can I just say I love WXXI, public radio, and the Bob Smith Show. One day the topic might be the economy or politics; the next might be how to avoid lead poisoning. His guests are always relevant and the conversation is always thought provoking. Also, what other show (besides Wease) can a guy from a blog called RochesterSubway.com call and actually be put on the air?

Councilmember Carla PalumboYesterday, Councilmember Carla Palumbo was Bob’s guest and the topic was the Mortimer Street Bus Terminal. Most of the callers denounced the project for it’s poor placement or lack of inter-connectivity with other modes of transportation. I wanted to try to move the conversation forward—beyond just this one project.

Take a listen to the show and pay special attention to Carla’s answer to my question at around 45 minutes in…

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I’ll share my thoughts on this later this weekend so stay tuned. And let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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This entry was posted on Friday, October 8th, 2010 at 8:13 am and is filed under Interviews, 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.

10 Responses to “Councilmember Carla Palumbo: “We Have a Transportation Plan””

  1. Carlos Mercado says:

    Just finished listening to the recording of yesterday’s broadcast. Carla does understand that an Intermodal Facility is Amtrak trains interfacing with Greyhound and Trailways buses.

    Important points that were not discussed were the fact that Main St. will remain crowded with buses getting to and from Mortimer St. and that riders will have to walk an extra block to get a bus.

    It is not recognized that better scheduling and inter-suburban routes will reduce the “ganging” of buses along Main, Clinton, and St. Paul. Some callers alluded to this.

    It looks like the bus barn is unstoppable, and that’s a real shame.

  2. Jay Rowe says:

    Was anyone satisfied that this “transportation plan” actually exists, beyond a handful of improvement projects? I didn’t hear anything in her answer that suggests otherwise.

  3. Harry Davis says:

    “Inter-modal train station on the drawing boards”

    I think this is the worst news to come out this week:
    Rep. Louis Slaughter changed her tune today. She told Ray Levato today (after some apparent prompting from Mr. Levato,) that we will have a shuttle between the TWO transit hubs Rochester is about to build. Was it in response the barrage Carla Palumbo took yesterday on Bob Smith? Was it in response to pressure from other Dems?

    Slaughter said, “We’re hoping they will circulate through there and pick up lot of people who want to go somewhere in the city of Rochester. I think a shuttle would work to meet the trains and take people where they want to go.”

    listen to audio here…
    http://www.harrydavis2010.com/node/485

  4. admin says:

    @Jay, I’m with you. If there is a transportation plan/document as Palumbo said, I have not seen or heard of it. Believe me, I’m checking deeper into her answer and will report back.

    @Harry, the shuttle bus between the RTS and Amtrak station is an idea that has been floating around and talked about by GTC for a while now. Problem is, contrary to what Palumbo stated, there’s no transportation plan or vision that would’ve cued the public into this. So I don’t think Slaughter has changed her tune; she’s simply verbalizing the “plan” that GTC+RGRTA has floating around somewhere in the ether.

    THIS IS WHY WE NEED A COMPREHENSIVE TRANSPORTATION PLAN/VISION — one that the City and the Public can have input into and use as a guide for future projects and planning.

  5. Harry Davis says:

    Mike, despite what may have been kicking around the GTC, I have never heard Louise talk about supporting the obvious stupidity of having two transit hubs in Rochester, let alone, trying to figure out how to make them “inter-modal.”

    Slaughter said, “We’re hoping they will circulate through there and pick up lot of people who want to go somewhere in the city of Rochester. I think a shuttle would work to meet the trains and take people where they want to go.”

    Inter-modal train station on the drawing boards.
    http://www.harrydavis2010.com/node/485

    This, as you know, is just plain irrational. Sure, of course there is no plan despite Carla’s lies. If Louise is just “verbalizing” the GTC plan that has been around, then someone is pressuring her to do this. It is political.

    Was this comment in response the barrage Carla Palumbo took yesterday on Bob Smith? Was it in response to pressure from other Dems? Something set off Louise to come out with this statement when she did. I think it was the Duffy/Morelle/RGRTA power click, determined to get what they want no matter what we think or need.

    Another question to ponder, “Who will build the Mortimer bus barn?” Christa, the company building PAETEC, the company who went into foreclosure recently in Florida? Christa, the company where the wife of Joe Morelle works?

    I just don’t think we are paying enough attention to the political. When I recently told Richard Rosen about the inter modal funding,

    ROC City Council Approves TIGER Grant of $2,459,450 to fund ROC Inter-Modal Trans Center
    http://www.harrydavis2010.com/node/457

    he told me, “We didn’t see this coming!” and immediately recruited the RRCDC to do a charrette on the inter modal site, complete with drawings. He said it “will be finished very soon.” But he also tells me at the same time that Mortimer “will never be built.” I presume he says this because of the lawsuits based on environmental issues that Mark IV has undertaken to stop the bus barn. Well, if he is so confident that Mortimer will not go forward, then why the need for a charrette, obviously designed to show the public what should happen? Again, it is all political miscalculation. When I first learned of the Mortimer bus barn back in January of this year when Council Member Dana Miller told me about it, “Harry, the RGRTA is pushing this. It will be under the radar until it pops up and then there will be nothing to stop it.” I told Anthony DiMarzo this and he told me, “Harry, Duffy is just blowing smoke your ass.” Well, if he had listened to me, we would have had 3-4 more months to gain the one more vote needed on city council to stop it.

    So I am worried about Louise. She has changed her tune publically & politically.

    We need to keep in mind the importance of all this. We learned from Beth Osborne, Asst Secretary of Transportation about fed transportation funds and the importance of “connectivity” in Rochester,

    “She will explain that multi-modal connectivity is very important and that spending DOT funds for a stand-alone bus terminal could adversely effect future funding for high speed rail.”

    “as non competitive projects funded by earmarks are matters for local determination. However she advised that Rochester officials consider their future applications for discretionary grant applications for Economic Recovery funds. In reviewing current NOFA’s, it will be hard to make a competitive case for funding when the criteria of “livability” (meaning intermodal connectedness) has been absent in past projects. This would include Train, Bus and Bike infrastructure grants from TIGER funds.”

    “She is prepared to discuss with members of Council and the Corp. Counsel the Obama Administration policy regarding future grants and high-speed rail lines and station criteria. She will explain that multi-modal connectivity is very important and that spending DOT funds for a stand-alone bus terminal could adversely effect future funding for high speed rail. Furthermore, she will explain that the present funding commitments for RGRTA will not be lost if the City states that it wishes to make a new plan for transit and transportation needs with different capital expenditures.”

    See “Emails”
    http://www.harrydavis2010.com/node/302

    I believe we are putting in jeopardy any future fed funds to truly develop transportation in downtown Rochester.

  6. admin says:

    I’ve never actually heard Louise come out *against* the Mortimer St. Terminal either so to say she’s changing her tune is your interpretation. Building a bus terminal in and of itself is not what’s going to put USDOT funding in jeopardy—not having a complete transportation vision for the future will. Without one we will be building an Amtrak terminal in the exact same silo’d manner as we have already built Mortimer. Charette or no charette.

  7. Harry Davis says:

    Mike, I totaly agree on the need for a transportation plan. We must have a transportation plan. We do not.

    Right, we probably have not heard Louise come out against the Mortimer. She says very little publically about transportation other than to praise HSR & inter modal.

    But I disagree about future funds. Building the Mortimer bus barn WILL put funds in danger.

    “She will explain that multi-modal connectivity is very important and that spending DOT funds for a stand-alone bus terminal could adversely effect future funding for high speed rail.”

    Mortimer is a “stand-alone bus terminal. Beth Osborne reiterated this to me on the telephone. She almost (may have) gotten fired because of this.

  8. MAT says:

    If stand-alone “bus barns” are counter-livability and somehow jeopardize our standing with the Federal government, please explain why Syracuse (CENTRO) was recently awarded $8.5 million from the Obama Administration for a stand-alone “bus barn” out of a competitive federal transit livability program.

  9. Harry Davis says:

    Is this “Matt Haag” writing this comment? It would be nice if you identify who you are.

    Can you show me the link? I would guess because we will have TWO transit hubs. Seems a bit redundant. Syracuse won’t have two.

  10. Eric Iversen says:

    Why do supporters of the downtown bus terminal constatnly say that it will revitalize the downtown area? Are there masses of people waiting to go downtown, but won’t go until we have a bus station? I doubt it. People who ride busses do so because they have no other choice. To revitalize downtown you need to have stores selling things that people want to buy, convenient parking, and safety. A new bus terminal will do only two things: 1) provide a climate controlled area to patronize the bus system 2) relieve main street of bus congestion.

    And speaking of main street, where is it written in stone that all busses must meet at Main and Clinton? People who use the bus system will go to where the busses are. A couple blocks to the north is a much better place for the terminal. The train tracks are never going to move. They’ve been there for over a hundred years, and they’ll be there for a hundred more. It make more sense to tie the bus terminal into whatever Amtrak/Trailways/Greyhound/highspeed rail center we end up with. Plus it is closer to the inner loop, which makes access to it easier.

    I support the development of a downtown bus terminal, and the revitalization of downtown Rochester. But I also think we should get it right the first time.


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