As much as Rochester residents have grown used to rough winters, colder weather can nonetheless be rough on all of us. It’s become particularly difficult to prepare for winter snowstorms due to the yearly fluctuations in temperatures, making them harder to predict. In this past season, the wintertime has already been expensive due to regular costs. Usually, you can expect to have about 42% of your utility bill made up through heating, though these costs can of course rise during particularly harsh winters. However, the seasonal costs will only rise due to the recent snowstorm. Many of them will be associated with damage done at home, and will, therefore, be taken care of by individual homeowners by and large. A big concern, according to a consumer survey, will be roofing — 65% of homeowners reported that this was their major concern following weather damage, and a snowstorm can certainly do a good bit of damage to a typical roof.
With that being said, it’s important that public grounds are made safe as well, and this will fall to the state. With that being said, let’s look into the road conditions following severe weather in Rochester, how to stay safe on these roads, and what is going to happen to make them safer for everyone.
Why Are Roads Particularly Dangerous During The Wintertime?
Winter is perhaps the most dangerous time of year to go driving. While summer and spring may see more rain — leading to many drivers losing control of their vehicles and spinning out — ultimately it’s much riskier to go driving after the temperatures lower. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. For one thing, the winter may seem dry but often includes a good amount of precipitation itself — not only in the form of freezing rain, but ice, snow, and even hail. The most obvious concern, in this case, is ice. It’s even harder for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles on icy roads as opposed to watery ones. Furthermore, black ice is a particularly dangerous factor consider, as it’s difficult for drivers to identify ahead of time. Snow can cake on roads, hardening and forming icy patches, or it can melt and become slush, which causes an involuntary slowing of vehicles similar to that of water, but more solid. And, when driving through a snowfall, it can be exceptionally difficult for drivers to see ahead, even when they use their headlights. Not only do they have to contend with the snow itself, but also the heavy cloud cover that will usually come with it. This can result in an increase in accidents, especially when layered on top of the ice and snow issues. If drivers end up spinning off the road and damaging their vehicles during a snowstorm, they could be at risk of being overly exposed to the elements. This is particularly dangerous when you’re driving on remote roads, and many people have fallen prey to the dangers of being stranded on the side of the road during the winter. The roads themselves can also be greatly damaged during bad winter weather. Not only are they easily damaged in the aftermath of bad car accidents — but the particularly heavy downfall of hail can cause the roads to become uneven and cracked, and they can even cause or exacerbate potholes.
What Can I Do To Be Safe When Driving During The Winter?
Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to stay safer on winter roads — even following weather events like the Rochester snowstorm. Many of them come down to being a more proactive and defensive driver. You will most certainly want to be on the lookout when driving. Not only will you need to worry about the immediate effects of bad weather like the snowstorm, but the aftereffects as well. Be prepared for road closings and the resulting extra traffic, as well as bumpier and more uneven roads. For that matter, don’t wait for the evening to turn your lights on if a day is particularly overcast. If you see the signs of a snowstorm brewing — even if it was not initially projected by the weather forecasters — you may want to consider not leaving your house or place of work until you’re sure that it’s cleared. This is especially true if your commute involves isolated roads. That being said, there are also steps you can take to ensure that your car is more prepared to drive on winter roads. If you haven’t already, have your vehicle inspected to ensure that it is road-ready. The last thing you would want to deal with would be an engine failure on a wintry road. You can also exchange your typical tires for a set of winter-ready tires. Be on the lookout for ice or leftover slush — and be aware that each year, there are 5.5 million car accidents in the United States alone. While not all of them are completely preventable, you must do what you can to ensure that you stay safe.
What Is The State Doing About The Roads?
The state is also doing what it must to aid in repairing Rochester’s post-snowstorm roads. In fact, it’s been announced that there will be $17.5 million allocated in funding for Rochester-area road repairs. These could include mending potholes as well as damaged guard rails and will ensure that the roads are safe moving further into 2020.
While this project is crucial to better the roads, you must also be alert regarding your own personal safety. Be careful when driving — and don’t underestimate winter roads.
Day by day, technology grows. Back in 2016, there were over 3.5 billion internet users. Over just three years, that number has increased to 4.33 billion. Not only is technological growth shown in internet usage, but in vehicles as well. In recent years, more and more consumer electric vehicles have been introduced and developed. With more than two dozen models now commercially available, some 800,000 Americans have made the switch to driving electric. These unique vehicles will supposedly help reduce fossil fuel consumption and curb carbon emissions over time. Keep in mind, if you plan on going off-roading, you’re going to need certain tires. There are four main types of off-road tires: all-terrain, mud-terrain, snow/winter, and sand. However, is this really the case? What are the benefits of driving electric? Like any vehicle choice, electric cars come with a series of pros and cons.
No Need For Gasoline
When driving an electric car, there’s no need to stop to fill up your tank. When you’re anticipating a drive, simply plug in your car and get ready to go. This ultimately results in reduced carbon emissions from burning gasoline. However, you’ll need to know in advance when you’re planning a trip, since fueling an electric car takes longer than just adding a few more gallons of gas to your tank. Additionally, while you’ll still be saving money by not paying for gas, expect your electricity bill to climb a bit. One thousand watt-hours equals 1 kilowatt-hour. Your utility bill usually shows what you are charged for the kilowatt-hours you use. More than likely, you’ll see increased usage as a result of charging your electric vehicle at home.
High Performance, Low Maintenance
One of the best benefits of switching to an electric vehicle is the changes it will make to your vehicle maintenance schedule. Electric cars tend to require less maintenance than their hybrid or traditional counterparts. Why? In traditional cars, you have much more to worry about, particularly when it comes to caring for the engine and selecting the right oil. According to a recent survey, 89% of lubrication professionals consider an oil’s viscosity index when selecting a lubricant.
However, because electric cars operate differently, you won’t need to worry about changing the oil in your car’s engine ever again. Likewise, electric cars tend to be easier on the brake pads as well. If you’re looking for a car with low impact that’s easy to maintain, an electric vehicle could be a good match for you.
All Energy From Somewhere
While your car might not use gasoline anymore, the electricity your car now uses has to come from somewhere. While many people don’t think about the source of their electricity on a regular basis, not all electricity is necessarily renewable. Forests are often felled for the purpose of clearing space for generating electricity. Since hardwood trees can take upwards of twenty years or more to reach maturity, that clearing alone has a significant impact on the environment. If you want your electric car to really help with reducing emissions, you’ll have to make sure your home’s electricity is coming from a renewable source.
Not So Cost-Friendly
By value, ocean vessels carry 53% and 38% of U.S. imports and exports, respectively. In 2018, the U.S. imported $325.3 million worth of electric vehicles — the 10th most across the globe. Driving electric might mean you don’t have to pay for gas anymore, but that cost-saving advantage comes at a price. Electric vehicles, generally speaking, still tend to be a bit more expensive than traditional cars. Additionally, because these cars are still so new, it’s much more difficult to find one to purchase used. If going electric is on your to-do list but still outside your budget, you may want to consider waiting a few years. As these cars advance further, more affordable options will start to become available.
All vehicles have their pros and cons, but this is especially true for new electric vehicles. While they might be great for some, they’re not always the best choice for everyone. Can you see yourself purchasing an electric car sometime in the near future, or is this environmental trend just a flash in the pan?
People of color in central New York aren’t getting a fair number of jobs in the construction industry, a local study finds. According to a new study by the Urban Jobs Task Force and the Legal Services of Central New York, there’s a major racial disparity in the New York construction industry despite people of color making up a quarter of the state population.
Dodge Data & Analytics’ 2016 Construction Outlook report predicted 6% growth, with the value of construction starts reaching an estimated $712 billion. Researchers analyzed a group of construction projects taking place in New York state including the I-690 project, the Syracuse Hancock Airport Renovations, and the Lakeview Amphitheater in Onondaga.
Researchers found that 88% of the construction workers on these projects were white. Approximately 4% of workers were black or indigenous and only a few workers were Hispanic and Asian.
“Workforces are white in Central New York and we’ve seen it driving by them,” said Andrew Croom, an attorney from Legal Services of Central New York who worked on the study. “Was I ready for how white they were? No.”
The U.S. construction industry is usually a good place for American workers to earn money. Construction projects have public money in them paid for by tax dollars, beneficiaries of government grants, or tax breaks. In 2016 alone, the construction market was worth $1,162 billion and the composite materials market is expected to reach $38 billion by 2023.
The lack of inclusivity in the industry is concerning for many reasons, but especially because it keeps impoverished New Yorkers from finding good-paying jobs. Up to 16% of Rochesterians are living in extreme poverty and 15% of those in Monroe County live below the poverty line.
“You know, living in a city that’s 50% minority and 50% white, I expected a project like I-690 that’s two blocks from my house to be represented by the city where it is,” said Croom. “And it was so far from that, that yes, I found [these] results shocking.”
Urban Jobs President Deka Dancil says there are historical reasons why many people of color aren’t working in construction. The construction of Interstate 81 caused economic and racial segregation, urban renewal, and redlining.
“[This] made the networks of minorities only be with other poor minorities,” said Dancil. “And the networks of white people, for people who had the paying jobs, [were] exposed to the construction trade. I tell you … my whole time growing up in high school, I never even heard a thing about it.”
Dancil also points out that barriers such as non-paid training, lack of transportation, and lack of childcare prevent those who are already living in poverty from getting into construction programs that could lead to higher paying jobs.
Croom says that there are ways to ensure inclusivity in construction projects. LA Metro in Los Angeles is creating workforce agreements within their PLAs and have unions in the community working together.
New York state could see more collaboration with unions and have them more actively recruit in the city with targeted training, Croom says. Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh recently launched Syracuse Build in an effort to train those in the city who are looking to work on the I-81 project.
However, Dancil says she isn’t as optimistic after seeing years of meetings on the topic of boosting inclusivity in the construction industry. The voices of local residents need to join those of policymakers, she says.
“I think what it comes down to [is] that there has to be a big table,” says Croom, “there has to be collective action to say ‘we’re all here. We all want the same thing.’ So, we have to work together to make those policies.”
February is Black History Month, and this year’s celebration is a special one for Rochester residents in particular. That’s because February 2019 is also the bicentennial anniversary of famed abolitionist and author Frederick Douglass, who later made his home in the Flower City. Not only is Douglass immortalized throughout Rochester in the form of statues for all to see throughout the year, but the University of Rochester’s Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies will partner with the school’s Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation library facility to showcase Douglass’s work and life.
Of course, this is not the only way Rochesterians are celebrating. Mayor Lovely A. Warren and Rochester’s Black Heritage Committee are hosting a month-long events program to pay tribute to our country’s proud black heritage. The City Hall Link Gallery hosted a special event to kick off the month with flair. Live jazz music by the Art Beaty Band could be heard as guests appreciated the artwork of 25 local African American youth and adult artists. Attendees also had the chance to sample a variety of specialty African American foods. Considering that an estimated 65% of American consumers purchased specialty foods in 2017, it’s likely the crowd left the event satisfied on several levels. The event may have passed, but the artwork will remain on display through the middle of March.
City Hall isn’t the only place you can experience incredible works of art, either. The Memorial Art Gallery also hosted a Black History Month event that included live jazz performances, art activities for children, storytelling, and even a Frederick Douglass impersonator. During February break, kids can also receive free admission to the museum with the purchase of an adult ticket. Since studies have shown that seeing a beautiful painting can increase the blood flow to the “joy response” part of the brain by 10% (the same effect you experience when you look at a loved one), this can be a wonderful cultural experience for families.
If art isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate Black History Month in Rochester. There are several gospel concerts planned throughout the month, including one that will take place in the City Hall Atrium on February 27 during the lunch hour. The U of R’s Tournees Film Festival features several selections for Black History Month, as well. The celebrations put on by the city actually continues into March, with the 16th Annual Black Heritage Gala on March 9 and the Community and College Gospel Explosion on March 30. The Memorial Art Gallery will also host a multi-screen film and video installation called Lessons of the Hour, which is inspired in part by Frederick Douglass, from March through May. Residents can also do their part to support black-owned businesses during this month by checking out Embellish Boutique, Simply Simone Naturals, the Arnett Cafe, and more. Black-Owned Business Rochester is an excellent resource to learn about other establishments in the area. Should you feel like staying home and tuning into some local programming instead, WXXI will broadcast television and radio programs throughout the month that feature influential black men and women.
Clearly, there are countless ways to celebrate Black History Month in Rochester, thanks to the city’s diversity and commitment to cultural appreciation and understanding. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn more about the iconic figures that have shaped the black experience, both past and present.
Rochester’s arts and entertainment community is in the final stages of preparation for the 2016 First Niagara Fringe Festival , which takes place Thursday, September 15 to Saturday, September 24, all across Rochester. There will be more than 500 performances at more than 25 venues in and around the city. And 170 of those performances are totally free!
Imagine there was a way to do just a little extra work, but to make a huge difference doing it. Gloria Grattan, a local eight year old, has imagined just that and is hoping that you and the rest of Rochester can join in and lend a hand by growing just a little extra in your garden this summer (or gardening for the first time, if you don’t already!).
Temperatures are falling and the Fringe Fest is a distant memory. Well, technically it’s only a few days in the past, but given the rapid change in temperature it feels like a season ago.
This was the fourth year for the First Niagara Fringe Festival, but it was the first time I’d ever attended. I love Rochester and I love going downtown. But to be honest, I generally avoid events where there are lots of people or the potential for traffic congestion. Since I had a press pass, though, I decided to take full advantage of it, and for 10 days I immersed myself in the fun.
And I do mean fun. Here are a few of the highlights from my week at the Fringe…
Back in May, we noted National Nurses Week with a piece on Ida Jane Anderson, New York State’s first registered nurse. John Zicari, a reader from York, Maine, wrote to tell me that he’d been doing some genealogical research on his family from Rochester, and shared a family photo of his great aunt, Katherine Fitzgerald Osborn. She was a nurse at what John had been told was Rochester’s Park Avenue Hospital. There’s no date on the photo but, John says, “She died in 1925 so it is pretty early picture of the facility.”
I love genealogy and especially old photos. But I had to confess: I’d never heard a hospital on Park Ave. Cafes? Yes. Art galleries? Yes. A hospital? No.
But as my grandfather used to say, you learn something new every day…
Driving down East Main Street recently, I spotted the name “Martha Matilda Harper” engraved on a building near the old Beech Nut packaging plant. My interest was piqued, since the building at 1233 East Main Street currently houses Tire Trax sales and service. It turns out that the facility is the former laboratories for Martha Matilda Harper, Inc.
I can’t believe that I’d never heard of Martha Matilda Harper, but we can thank her for just about everything having to do with our modern salon experiences, as well as her groundbreaking business methods that pioneered modern retail franchising…
The First Niagara Fringe Festival is winding down, with just tonight and tomorrow left to check out some of the fun. I’ve been blogging daily on my personal blog about the festival, so hop over there to see everything I’ve been up to this week. But if you’re hitting the festival for the first time this weekend, here are a few things that you can still catch…
The First Niagara Fringe Festival opened this week, with over 500 shows happening at more than two dozen venues over ten days. But the heart of the Fringe is the Spiegelgarden, located at the corner of Main and Gibbs Streets, across from the Eastman Theater. There are shows, artwork, food and more, including the centerpiece Spiegeltent, which is home to the Cabinet of Wonders, Princess Wendy’s Late Night Tease Room, comedian Jamie Lissow, Silent Disco and Brown Bag Disco.
I confess I’ve never been to the Fringe, now in its fourth year, but after I did the Remote Rochester tour this week I just had to go downtown for opening night festivities at the Spiegelgarden. What amazing wonders await you! Here are a few of the things happening at One Fringe Place…
The opening of a medical marijuana dispensary in Kodak’s old Theater on the Ridge at Eastman Business Park has recently been in the news . Columbia Care will turn the leaves, stems and stalks of the cannabis plant into medicine for people with cancer, AIDS, epilepsy, and other neurological conditions. The facility is expected to be up and running this January…
I’ve got a bit of a dilemma reviewing the Remote Rochester event at this year’s First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival. If I tell you too much, I might give away some of the surprises and ruin the experience. If I don’t tell you enough, you may not understand what it’s all about and miss what might be the most fascinating journey you’ll take through the streets of Rochester.
So I need to find a balance. I’ll begin with this question:
Do you trust me?
If there’s a cemetery tour happening in Rochester, you can be sure I’m there. For anyone interested in local history, there’s no better place to find unusual stories and bits of trivia, and I’m fascinated by the history buried all around us.
A few weeks ago, the City of Rochester hosted the annual Genesee River Romance weekend celebrating the Genesee River and its surrounding trail and gorge system. In 2014, I took full advantage of the weekend of events that include tours of the old subway and aqueducts, the Rundel Library, the Falls, and cemeteries. Somehow, I missed the adverts for this year’s event, so I only had time to catch one thing: the tour of Charlotte Cemetery…
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.