Reconnect Rochester is a non-profit organization I founded a few years ago to advocate for transportation alternatives in Rochester. We work for pedestrian-friendly streets, and we push for improved public transportation. These things are important to me because I’ve seen firsthand what happens to places that focus too much attention on providing spaces for automobiles, and not enough on spaces for people.
If you don’t quite get what I’m talking about, you can listen to me blabber on . But if you’re already with me, please make plans to leave your car at home this Thursday; a day we’re calling “ROC Transit Day”…
A $500 CASH prize is up for grabs in The Great ROC Transit Day Treasure Hunt!
On June 19, FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS (U.S.) will be hiding somewhere in Rochester. The first person (or team of people) to find it will take all. There’s just one catch… no cars allowed. To claim this jackpot you’ll need to use the bus system, walk or bike. Get your first clue now at www.ROCtransitday.com .
For ROC Transit Day 2013 we gave away nearly 1,000 transit fare cards and asked Rochesterians to ditch their cars for one day in support of a healthier community. 30 different forward-thinking organizations (and many intrepid individuals) pledged to ride public transit that day.
The days are getting longer, and (slowly) the air is getting warmer. Soon enough the sweet scent of Lilac will be in the air. This can only mean one thing… ROC Transit Day will soon be here!
If you drive in your car to work alone each day, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why would I want to ride public transit when I can just drive my Nissan Leaf (or whatever)?”
Well, I could list all the reasons why public transportation is healthier for our earth, healthier for our bodies, and healthier for our community. But that would be boring. Instead, watch this video and hear it straight from the mouths of your fellow Rochesterians…
In 2013 I gave myself a photo assignment. Pick 13 subjects, and take 13 snapshots of each… 13x13x13. Turns out this was much more work than I thought. So I’ve been accepting submissions from others. Today’s series of 13 comes to us from Tiny Fish Printing , a custom apparel printing company located near the public market.
T-shirts are an American staple. We all have our favorite one that we wear until our belly button shows through. They’re a great way to show our support for our favorite local institutions… restaurants, bands, clubs, etc. They allow us to show off our creative side, even we don’t have a creative bone in our body. And best of all, they keep us from being naked.
Uh, ok… Let’s just take a look at 13 awesome local t-shirt designs…
Reconnect Rochester has alerted us to an important informational meeting tonight about the Inner Loop’s future (or lack thereof). As we wait to find out whether or not this project will be a recipient of a USDOT TIGER grant, the City is moving forward with plans to scale down a large portion the underutilized 12-lane highway. Ultimately that will mean greater connectivity between downtown and the neighborhoods to the east, and lower road maintenance costs in the long run. If there was ever a big road project to support, this is it.
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!
Rex the Rhino is planning his bus ride as we speak. Music buskers are tuning up for their performances during the evening rush hour on Main Street. Murphy’s Law on East Avenue is priming the kegs for our happy hour celebration (RSVP here ). And our volunteers are wrapping up HUNDREDS of prizes to deliver to random transit riders.
Get Your Fare Card!
Best of all, we still have 300 limited edition ROC Transit Day fare cards left to give away before the 20th. And we’re making them available to you now – first come first serve. Send us your mailing address and let us know how many fare cards you’d like (no more than 5 per person please). Email your request to email@example.com.
We can’t guarantee on time delivery for requests made after Sunday, June 16. So email us now!
A few short weeks ago I told you about ROC Transit Day 2013. The idea is simple… pedestrians make for a vibrant city. The more people Rochester has walking the streets instead of driving, the stronger our community will be; and the stronger our local economy will be. ROC Transit Day is a holiday from our cars. It’s a day to celebrate local businesses. And it’s a day to cast a symbolic vote for a stronger transit system…
A year and half ago I managed to convince RGRTA to try something new. I said, “let me give away free bus rides for one day.” I imagined most people would say “no thanks, the bus isn’t for me.” But I also knew my mom was right when she said, “try it, you might like it.” That year I think maybe 200 people participated and left their cars at home for the day.
What began as a fun little experiment, has turned into ROC Transit Day – a full blown Rochester holiday from our cars. This year ROC Transit Day will be on Thursday, June 20.
In this, its second year, the volunteers at Reconnect Rochester are giving away 1,000 special edition RTS fare cards – designed by yours truly. And we’re asking Rochester’s business community to get involved too…
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…
If you’re like most people, you’ve used public transit in other cities—maybe while sightseeing in NYC or backpacking through Europe—but then you come home to Rochester and you get right back in your car and drive everywhere you need to go. We may not even think about it. It’s just habit.
On those days when I do leave my car at home and take the bus to work, it’s like being on vacation; from my routine. I don’t have to hunt for a parking space and lock up my car, or hike thru a nasty parking lot or gloomy garage. I just step off the bus and I’ve arrived.
I still remember the way I felt the first time I used the bus in Rochester. It was almost euphoric, really. I felt like I was free. Exactly the opposite of the way this video makes me feel…
Sorry if we caused a mass panic last week with all of the reports of UFO’s and abductions. We staged the whole UFO thing. But we can’t apologize for the adbuctions. As it turns out, every dollar we spend on gasoline, over $1.5 MILLION each day*, leaves the local economy never to be seen again. Vanished! The numbers are real. The UFO’s are not. We can do something about the vanishing resources.
Did you know every $1 invested in public transportation generates approximately $4 in economic returns. It’s true. Households that use public transportation and live with one less car can save on average $9,000 every year.
The volunteers at Reconnect Rochester find these numbers downright frightening. And we’re doing something about. We’ve organized a ‘human resistance’ movement have been getting the word out this weekend at the Greentopia Festival about Critical Mass Transit Day.
ON THE 3RD THURSDAY OF OCTOBER, AND EVERY MONTH THEREAFTER, WE WILL LEAVE OUR CARS AT HOME & JOIN TOGETHER FOR A “CRITICAL MASS” TRANSIT RIDE. EVERYONE IS INVITED! NO ONE IS IN CHARGE! LOOK FOR YOUR COMRADES ON RTS BUSES WEARING THIS PIN…
ON OCTOBER 20 SHOW THIS PIN TO YOUR RTS DRIVER AND RIDE FREE ALL DAY!
THAT part is no hoax. RTS has kindly agreed to honor our NO-UFOs pin as free entry onto any RTS bus all day on October 20. Just flash this pin at the friendly driver. Even if you’ve never ridden RTS before, now is the perfect time to give it a try. If only for one day. To get to work, or for a leisurely trip around the block.
Visit Reconnect Rochester at the Greentopia Festival (High Falls, vendor area, booth 55) and grab your FREE pin today… before they VANISH.
A RocSubway reader (who has asked to remain anonymous) submitted the above photo a little over an hour ago. All we know is that the picture was taken at a gas station on Main Street near downtown Rochester. The victim has not been identified. At this time the FBI has stepped in and taken the scene over from RPD.
Yesterday, this photo (left) went viral after it was posted to Reconnect Rochester’s web site. It was taken at a Greentopia event in the High Falls neighborhood on Wednesday. The object in the sky has yet to be identified.
Have you seen this photo? It was posted yesterday on Reconnect Rochester’s site. The organizers of the Greentopia Festival turned Commercial Street (in High Falls) into “green” space and hosted a lunch picnic for workers in the neighborhood. As if that weren’t strange enough… Then I looked a little closer at the photo. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT IN THE SKY?!?
I took the liberty of digitally enhancing the area of the photo that caught my eye. Tell me this isn’t the least bit curious…
While Rochester searches for its next mayor to take office and begin the arduous task of planning the City’s future, Reconnect Rochester is taking the issues to the candidates and the candidates to the people.
This month Congress will begin reauthorizing federal highway and transit dollars. To kick things off, the U.S. Congressional Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will hold a series of field hearings around the country, including a February 18th stop in Rochester.
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On Monday June 28 at 7:00pm you are invited to a FREE screening of PBS’s eye-opening film, BLUEPRINT AMERICA: BEYOND THE MOTOR CITY. The documentary is touring cities across America to raise questions—and seek answers—about the future of transportation in America. Can we build the “infrastructure of tomorrow” today? Can the cash-strapped and car-dependent cities of the so-called Rust Belt become new models for fast, clean, public transit? The links and similarities between Rochester NY and Detroit MI are glaringly obvious—and I think you owe it to yourself to see this film.
Howard Decker is new to Rochester. He moved here last Fall after spending much of his professional life designing transit systems from Chicago to Houston to Washington DC. He is a lifelong historic preservationist, an FAIA, architect, urban designer, and former Chief Curator of the National Building Museum. As a self-proclaimed “transit-geek” he is now spending time familiarizing himself with, and blogging about Rochester and working with groups such as the RRCDC and Reconnect Rochester . Last week Howard attended the public input meeting on RGRTA’s planned transit center on Mortimer Street. Today he posted his opinion on the whole thing. Read his article (below). And please attend the final public input meeting tomorrow night (May 5).
Buses and Subways and Trains, Oh My
A Town Square (May 4, 2010) — Our home place here is in the midst of considering a change to its transit system. As usual, Rochester is the perfect case study of how cities can screw themselves up with the greatest of ease. My newly adopted city, like so many of its sister places, has made a vast litany of urban gaffes over the last century, and we are about to see yet another. Let me explain.
In the early 20th century, Rochester had a system of streetcars and interurbans and even a subway, all of which provided transit options to citizens. In those days, say the 1920s, the population of the city was quite a bit larger than today, though the region was much smaller – sprawl was only just getting started.
By the mid 1950s, everything was gone. Streetcars gone. Interurbans gone. Subway gone. Left on the roads? Cars, and buses. Retail was headed out of town, following all those who began to sprawl. Downtown’s fate was sealed…
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.