The following is a guest post submitted anonymously with additional photos by Mike Governale
I was near the airport when Vice President Biden’s plane came in a few weeks ago. Held up by a road block, I happened to find myself near a junk yard full of old RTS buses. I knew traffic wouldn’t be moving for a while so I pulled over and got out to take a closer look. It was little bus graveyard…
Last year, as part of ROC Transit Day , we planned a city-wide treasure hunt where teams followed a series of clues (for over 19 miles) to be the first to find a $500 cash prize at the end. The only catch: No motor vehicles. All teams were required to use public transit, walk, or bike. (it’s in the rules!)
This year (Thursday, June 18) we’re doing it again. It’s completely free to enter, but you must pre-register here before June 17. Right now we only have 6 teams signed up, so your odds would be pretty good; as long as you have a good working knowledge of Rochester.
Still not sure if you’ve got the right stuff? Take a look at the clues from LAST year and see how well you’d fare…
ROC Transit Day is next week – Thursday, June 18. Rochester will be going car-free in support of a healthier community and we’ve lined up a fun day to celebrate… bus rides for you and the family, a street dance competition , city-wide treasure hunt , music all afternoon outside Rochester Central Library. Oh, and did someone say flash mob ?
So if you haven’t already, pull together a team of friends or co-workers and hop a bus on June 18. And if you need fare cards, contact us now …
It was nearly five years ago when I and a small group of RocSubway readers came together with a single goal; to strengthen our community by working to grow sustainable transportation options across our region. Together we formed Reconnect Rochester, Inc…
Have you ever noticed someone standing on the side a busy road or sitting on the curb while waiting for a bus? The lack of seating at bus stops in our area is a real problem, especially for seniors and people with disabilities. This week however, Reconnect Rochester unveiled a clever solution which they believe could change this picture…
I’m generally a pretty happy person, but this time of year I’ve noticed my spirit has a tendency to drop a few pegs. Probably has something to do with the shorter days or whatever. Who knows. Anyway, it occurs to me that I’m not alone. There are LOTS of unhappy people out there. If you drive on the highways and byways of greater Rochester, you’ll get to meet many of them.
This week I foolishly let myself get drawn into not one, but two ugly squabbles. The first was with a driver who sped up to catch me from behind (in the right lane mind you) and then refused to let me merge when our two lanes became one. So, like a bozo, I whaled on my horn for a while and shook my fist in the air at the guy to make sure he saw me in his rear view mirror…
Like, WOW! I stumbled upon this concept for an elevated transit terminal in a 1967 D&C article. The drawing shows how Rochester Transit Corporation president William Lang envisioned passengers would wait for their bus – suspended above the intersection of Main & Clinton. This view is looking east toward Clinton Avenue with Sibley’s in the background…
If you’ve been following along, you know how we’ve been trying to apply a little design for the betterment of our transit system. First we took a shot at designing a better bus stop sign for Rochester. RGRTA is currently studying that concept in anticipation of one day replacing their existing signs. Next we designed a better bus pass for which RGRTA gave a nod of approval. The new passes will be rolled out very soon!
But wait, there’s more! RGRTA has now asked for help redesigning one of the most important transit tools of all; their big, bad, bus schedules…
WHOA! Not so fast.
It appears RocSubway jumped the gun and accidentally published some information that wasn’t ready for primetime. New bus schedule designs are being worked on, but it will be some time before they are finalized and ready to be shared. If you caught the sneak peek, congrats. And thanks for providing your feedback!
Can you believe it’s been two years since I tried to redesign Rochester’s bus stop signs? Everyone seemed to agree that a makeover was in order – even the folks at RTS who were nice enough to meet with me. But a year later there had been no serious progress on that front. At which point I turned my attention to something else I thought I could improve on; the fare cards. This time I was able to make some real progress…
Sorry it’s been so quiet in the subway for the past week. It got crazy busy with many things happening on many different fronts, and I had to force myself into a self-imposed digital detox program. But here’s a quicky update…
I just got back from the Genesee-Finger Lakes Active Transportation Summit; a conference (held in downtown Rochester) where mobs of cycling and transit advocates gathered for a day of discussion about moving Rochester forward… literally. Believe me, Spiderman isn’t the only one sporting the spandex lately. There’s an undeniable groundswell of support for walkable, bike-friendly streets, and transit options in this town. Maybe you were following the tweets coming out of Reconnect Rochester throughout the day? But if you were at the conference, you understand what I mean. The excitement was palpable, and contagious.
Last November I had the ridiculously huge privilege to give a talk at TEDxRochester. The gravity of the honor may have been too much for my little brain to comprehend. In fact, when they initially asked me to do it I said “no thanks” – twice. Long story short, I gave in. And I’m glad I did, because the experience was one of those “once in a lifetime” things.
Since much of my talk was influenced by you, RocSubway readers and participants, I thought you’d like to watch (and share) the official video which has just been released. A word of caution: I’m not the most riveting public speaker, but there is lots of good stuff buried within this 12-minute presentation, so watch thru to the end if you can…
I just read an article in Sunday’s Albany Times Union that has me scratching my head. Mark Aesch, CEO of the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, wants to consolidate the four big transit authorities of upstate New York—Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo. On the surface it seems to make sense. They each do the same thing in relatively similar cities in a single state. But does Aesch really believe consolidating operations across a 250 mile wide region will lead to better public transit service for all four regions? Or are we witnessing the beginning of a power grab?
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?
Yesterday, 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.
A few months ago we took notice of a graphic designer named Jason Shelowitz who created a series of subway etiquette signs and posted them throughout the NYC Subway. Well the idea has spread north—to Toronto, Ontario Canada. The Canadian National Post liked Jason’s idea so much they formed a psuedo transit agency called the Toronto Transit Civility Commission (TTCC) and designed a series of posters to remind the Canadian public of the responsibilities inherent in travelling with fellow “human” beings. Take a look…
If we’re being 100% honest with each other I have to tell you I used to pee myself with fear at the thought of having to ride Rochester’s bus system. Not because the buses are dirty—they’re actually some of the cleanest buses I’ve ever been in. And no, I’m not afraid of the “people” who ride the bus—some my best friends use RTS to get everywhere they go. I’m ashamed to say I used to avoid taking the bus because I couldn’t read those damn bus schedules. Pathetic I know.
Traveling to and from downtown wasn’t the problem. All I had to do was find a bus stop and hop on—it’s a straight shot. But if I had to get anywhere involving a transfer (which, in Rochester, is pretty much everywhere) then I was lost. How in the world would I know which bus to transfer to once I got downtown? And how long would I have to wait? Would it be quicker to walk? How do I know if this is the most direct route? How much time do I have to leave myself to catch the 7 o’clock show at the Little? AAAAAAH! Forget it! I’ll drive.
The West Village artist behind these subway etiquette signs, Jason Shelowitz (aka jayshells ), is being embraced by the masses for his good deed/public art project. He’s created around 400 of the posters, all calling out straphanger’s on their unsavory underground habits. So far only 50 are up, and the NY Post notes that he used double-sided tape that won’t leave a mess once the sign is removed (he is the etiquette artist after all!).
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.
Long before hybrid cars, SUV’s, JetBlue, and even Amtrak, travel between American cities occurred largely by rail. With the industrial and technological revolution around the turn of the 20th century, America’s interurban railway developed so fast and connected so many of us, it must have seemed like the future had suddenly arrived out of nowhere. So when Henry Ford’s Model T was introduced who could have anticipated the turn transportation history would soon take.
If you’re interested in understanding the history of rail travel in American (its rise and quick fall), we’ve got a book for you. One of our readers, Laurence Keefe, recently brought this one to our attention. The following is Larry’s review…
“When we were children on summer vacation, the highlight of the day was when Dad got home from work. We would eat dinner at six o’clock, when the news came on the radio. That was because it took him 50 minutes to get from his office near the Four Corners in Rochester, NY to our farm in Victor…
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…
BECKY BOHRER (AP) NEW ORLEANS — The federal government is making available $280 million for street cars and other public transportation projects aimed at creating jobs and more walkable, environmentally friendly communities.
(Will Rochester see a dime?)
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made the announcement Tuesday at a streetcar barn in New Orleans. The city, which has been trying to overhaul its public transit system since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was LaHood’s first stop on a listening tour on federal transportation policy.
The last transportation spending bill expired in September. While President Barack Obama’s administration has sought a reprieve into 2011, given the federal stimulus package that passed earlier this year and was aimed largely at public works projects, Congress hasn’t agreed to an extension past mid-December.
LaHood said there’s a “pent up demand” for infrastructure work around the country… (more…)
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.