A few weeks ago I was driving home from my downtown office and happened to have my camera with me. Not sure why but I thought it be interesting to see what I’d capture if I left it on my dashboard for the ride. Now don’t try this at home—distracted driving is not cool. I’m a professional… idiot that is.
Anyway, the results I thought were pretty cool. And it got even cooler with some quick editing and quadruple speed playback. Throw in a mirror effect and some of that dope-ass hip hop music all the kids are listening to… and now we’ve got something worth sharing.
So go ahead—turn down the lights, pump up the volume, and hit it full screen. Let me know what you think in the comments.
The City of Rochester has been busy busy busy. Last week we took a look at our new Bike Master Plan. This week we’ll get a chance to review and ask questions about the proposed Center City Circulator. What? You have no idea what a “circulator” is? No worries. Watch the video clip below and learn about Washington D.C.’s new-ish circulator system with Gabe Klein, Director of Washington D.C.’s Department of Transportation (DDOT).
Yesterday the little boarded up Victorian house on Conkey Avenue caught the attention of Rachel Barnhart, reporter for WHAM 13 News. And for all of my ranting and raving on this site, I could never have told the story as eloquently as she…
The latest subway performance making the rounds actually has a tech-angle. A band known as Atomic Tom recently staged an “impromptu” show on the B train, but played one of their songs using only iPhones. The video was uploaded to YouTube and has since logged more than 633K views.
In light of some of recent civic developments in our town over the past few months (high speed rail, transit centers, new theaters, etc.) I thought it appropriate to pull this old film out of the archives to take a look at the history of Rochester through the eyes of some good old-fashioned propaganda. Rochester: A City of Quality is the title of a film made in 1963 by Rochester Gas and Electric. The film presents Rochester in the most glowing light possible through a narrative that is clearly a product of Cold War industrialism. In one section the narrator declares “Rochester has made peace with the automobile”. And in another, “Change is necessary to keep competitive in industry as well as cities. If you don’t change, change will change you.”
The story of the Rochester Subway is not complete without at least mentioning Rochester’s deep-rooted hip hop culture. If you’re less than familiar with Rochester, I assure you, this shizzle is fo’ real. The “Flower City” has street cred, and our abandoned subway tunnel has long been used as a canvas to show off some of our best underground talent…
In Oregon, a battle raged for nearly twenty years over the construction of a highway project, proposed by the once acclaimed city planner Robert Moses. If approved, the Freeway would have removed more than 1% of all housing stock in Portland. In the mid 1970s, after the proposal’s defeat, the city opted to build a mass transit infrastructure instead. The result can be seen today in the form of a more pedestrian-friendly and livable city.
About a year ago I had the awesome pleasure of riding Seattle’s new South Lake Union Streetcar—a 1.3 mile line that opened in December 2007. Peep this video from Streetfilms.org. Seattle’s state-of-the-art streetcar line features real time arrival message boards, solar-powered ticket vending machines, and human-activated doors to save energy while the train is in layover mode. And check this out, you can find out the next arrival time and actually watch the streetcars moving via GPS trackers all from the Seattle Streetcar web site.
But what has this hi-tech investment done for the South Lake Union neighborhood? For one thing, a Whole Foods Market moved in—downtown Seattle’s first full service supermarket in decades. Plus, new condos, mixed-use development, and Amazon.com’s brand new world headquarters. That’s impressive.
Oh and while I was there I made sure to ride the monorail ! You know I love you Rochester, but I had some serious reservations about returning fromthat trip.
America seems to have taken a renewed interest in mobility. Maybe due to President Obama’s recent commitment to high speed rail—or perhaps the positive results seen in towns like Portland and Denver have caught our collective attention. Whatever the reason, from the top down, people are rethinking our automobile-oriented culture—and getting excited about the possibilities.
There’s also good reason to focus on transportation as a way of jump-starting economic development. Industry requires access to people. And people need to have easy access to centers of employment. Continually improving access makes further development possible. Interrupting access will have the opposite effect. Likewise, doing nothing or simply maintaining existing infrastructure for an extended period of time will also hinder development.
For 30+ years Rochester has relied on the infrastructure choices it made in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s. At that time we made development choices that encouraged our population to emigrate from the downtown core. We scrapped our extensive streetcar system, choked off downtown with the construction of the inner-loop, and paved super highways to take us from the city to the NY State Thruway and beyond. Since then that’s exactly where our money, our workforce, and our future have gone—down I-490 and out of state.
It’s been widely reported that RochesterSubway.com is spending millions on a new Super Bowl TV spot this year featuring rapper and hip hop megastar 50 Cent. We’re not going to rain on the parade—maybe the ad will air during the Super Bowl, maybe it won’t. You’ll have to watch the game to find out. But you won’t have to wait to see it. Watch the spot… then read the rest of this post to find out how we got 50 to star in our Rochester Subway production…
Similar to how the Interstates reshaped America 50 years ago, the Chinese landscape is now being reshaped by historic levels of infrastructure spending. While the U.S. government seeks to revive it’s struggling economy in part by spending billions on shovel-ready, band-aid projects (i.e. re-surfacing roads), it seems Beijing’s goal is to put 26 million Chinese to work building new high-speed rail connections between its cities.
Wow, this match wasn’t even close. An Arizona driver runs a red rail crossing signal and gets plowed into by an oncoming commuter train. Her van is then dragged… well, I don’t need to give you the play-by-play. The entire violent fiasco was caught on the train’s onboard surveillance camera! Watch the video…
Until now I’ve tried to keep the subway stories I post limited to those out of the abandoned Rochester Subway. But recently there have been a rash of great stories from the underground I’ve just had to share. There was the drunken lady who fell onto the tracks in the Boston Subway. Then the unfortunate murder on the “D” train in Manhattan. And here’s another one. We’ve all heard stories of people living in New York’s subway tunnels. And you might immediately conjure up an image in your head of what such a person would look like. But how about a mild mannered 13 year old boy? Watch the video…
All I can say is… holy smokes! The woman in this surveillance video narrowly escaped death last Friday night when she fell in front of an oncoming subway train at Boston’s North Station. The driver of the train, who pulled the emergency brake stopping the train just inches away from the woman on the tracks, is now being called a hero by many.
On September 15, 2009, there’ll be a gentleman on the Democratic primary ballot for Rochester City Council. Harry Davis is a big advocate for Rochester, sustainable urban planning, and rail transit …That’s all it took for us to take notice. Mr. Davis doesn’t have a long political resume or a lot of connections with big names. He’s a graduate of Brighton High School (1969), owned an antique store on Park Avenue, ran a small alternative Rochester newspaper called The Journal, and traveled around a bit while working as a video producer for Greenpeace. From my brief conversation with Mr. Davis, I’d say whatever he lacks in political experience he more than makes up for with heart and enthusiasm. Take this self-produced anti-RenSquare ad for instance…
I hope you like model trains. Because if you don’t, you’re about to get an eyeful. This is simply unbelievable. The Miniature Wunderland model railroad in Hamburg, Germany is the largest in the world, covering 16,146 square feet of space with more than 10,000 train cars running around its 6.8 MILES of HO scale track! Now that’s large, but it’s not even the size of this plastic micro-world that’s most impressive—it’s all in the details. See for yourself…
If you’re visiting Rochester, or you and the kids are looking for something to do this weekend, the New York Museum of Transportation should be at the very top of your “to-do” list. The NYMT, located just off the New York State Thruway and I-390 in Rush, NY, focuses on not only the State of New York’s rail history but also its transportation history in general as well. Its exhibits range from railroading equipment and trolley cars to historic vehicles and carriages. Jim Dierks, a member of the NYMT Board of Trustees, tells us the museum also boasts plenty of Rochester Subway artifacts. “…not the least of which is the Casey Jones speeder… the only surviving piece of Subway rolling stock that is in operating condition. We also have models, station signs, and a video that operates continuously in our gallery.” Dierks adds, “We also operate a mile-long electrified interurban trolley line…the only trolley operation in New York State.”
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.