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Next month Rochester’s transportation authority, Regional Transit Service (RTS) will open a new $50 million transit center at Mortimer Street in downtown Rochester. According to a D&C story RTS has requested that the City change the name of Mortimer Street to “RTS Way.” Mortimer Street has quietly existed between N. Clinton Ave and Saint Paul Street since Rochesterville was incorporated in 1817.
I’ve spent the last five years of my life advocating for Rochester’s public transit system and building a good working relationship with folks at RTS. That’s why I know they will take what I’m about to say as constructive criticism, and nothing more. Here it goes:
Renaming Mortimer Street after yourself is a bad idea. Don’t do it!! Now, let me explain…
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…
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.
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).
If you were at the Circulator Study Public Meeting tonight, THANK YOU! Turn out was good. It could’ve been even better… but there were plenty of people there asking questions and giving input and the room had a constant buzz. Even the media thought enough to make an appearance. There will be another public meeting in June/July to share the preliminary findings of the study so stay tuned and continue to share this story with friends and neighbors. We’ll need even more of you at the next meeting.
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.
With the latest wave of federal stimulus , suddenly a storm of ideas and proposals are pouring down on downtown. In one corner, Governor David Paterson and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter are reigniting a movement in support of a new high-speed rail line from Niagara Falls to New York City. Slaughter wants to see Renaissance Square funds reallocated toward building a new train/bus station built where the old Amtrak station is now on Central Avenue . In the opposite corner, County Exec Maggie Brooks and Senator Charles Schumer are pushing ahead with demolition plans in preparation for Ren Square. Poor Mayor Duffy doesn’t know whether to take sides or run for cover.*
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.