Something outstanding is happening in our community—Rochester is catching Bike Fever. Over the past decade or more Monroe County and local municipalities have been steadily making investments in existing off-road trails and in new ones, especially around our colleges, universities and along the river and lake shore. You may have noticed some new ones near you. Bicycling Magazine even placed Rochester on their list of America’s Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities this year. Albeit at #50, but hey, it’s a good start!
Tonight was the City Council’s final public hearing and vote on whether or not to release a portion of Mortimer Street (in the heart of downtown Rochester) to the transit authority to build a 26-bay bus terminal. I used the opportunity not to denounce the bus terminal but more so to point out that the City of Rochester has no transportation plan. Also to sharpen my public speaking skills, which, after tonight I realize can only get better. I stumbled, I was shakey, I lost my place several times, and my mouth was so dry my tongue kept making this annoying clicking sound with every syllable. But, I delivered my message and that’s what counts. Anyway, here is the text of my statement:
According to an article in today’s Democrat & Chronicle, RGRTA has decided it does not need to produce an environmental study for it’s proposed bus garage on Mortimer Street. And the project that was despised by the public and the City when it was part of Renaissance Square looks like it will be embraced warmly at next week’s City Council meeting.
Let’s be honest, this is more than just a project…
Last Tuesday I attended a public presentation by the Genesee Transportation Council (GTC) to review their Draft 2011-2014 Transportation Improvement Program Project List . It contains over $500 million in new transportation spending for our region over the next few years. And I don’t mind pointing out that I was the only one in attendance. I don’t mean the only one from RochesterSubway.com… or the only one from my neighborhood… I mean THE ONLY PERSON in the entire city of Rochester and 7 county region in attendance. No one from the community, no one from the press, no raging activists… no one. It was literally me and about 5 or 6 representatives from GTC.
Fast forward or rewind? The dream of high speed rail in Upstate NY is nothing new. Back in 1993 Mario Cuomo wanted to see Amtrak service upgraded to 125mph between Albany and Buffalo. And the idea has been studied up and down since the 70’s. But now with Obama and Biden calling for a new high speed rail network to ease congestion on U.S. roadways, and Representative Louise Slaughter spearheading a new push to bring high speed upstate , what’s old just may be new again. Check out this poster…
If I said Rochester may one day have a rapid transportation system linking RIT to downtown Rochester and beyond, you might automatically think ‘light rail’. Think again. RochesterSubway.com recently discussed the future of Rochester’s transportation infrastructure with Richard Perrin, Executive Director of the Genesee Transportation Council and an AICP certified city planner.
NOTE: If you’ve got a question that we didn’t ask in our interview, please leave a comment at the end of this post and we’ll pass it along to Mr. Perrin who will do his best to answer it as time permits.
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.