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Posts Tagged ‘New York’...

Worst Public Speaker EVER Award, Goes to Me

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

24 citizens spoke regarding the Mortimer Street Bus Terminal Tuesday night at City Hall in front of Council members, the media, and a standing-room-only crowd.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:

(more…)

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
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Posted in Opinion, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | 7 Comments »

RGRTA Pushes Ahead with Bus Terminal

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Proposed transit center looking northeast along Saint Paul Street.
According to an article external link 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…

(more…)

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
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Posted in Opinion, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | 27 Comments »

21 Stories for Scouts

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Woman rappels down the side of the First Federal office tower Friday afternoon as the lunchtime crowd looked on from Main Street. (photo: Copyright (c) 2010, Paul Baker. All rights reserved.)
If you happened to pass by Main Street on Friday afternoon you would have seen crowds of downtown workers staring up at the sky. That’s because more than 70 members of the local business community were dangling from the First Federal Building as part of a fundraiser organized by the Seneca Waterways Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Participants each raised $1,000 to earn themselves the opportunity to rappel down the exterior of the 21-story, “flying saucer” capped building at 28 East Main Street. Proceeds will be used to support urban programs of the Boy Scouts.

(more…)

Friday, May 21st, 2010
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Posted in Events, Rochester News | 1 Comment »

‘Google Transit’ Tames Rochester’s Baffling Bus Schedules

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Rochester's bus routes and schedules can be intimidating for someone who doesn't frequently ride the bus.
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 external link 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.

Not so fast… There’s an app for that…

(more…)

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
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Posted in Transit + Infrastructure | 5 Comments »

Hey It’s Lilac Time in Lilac Town

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Holy smokes this woman is enjoying 'Lilac Time in Rochester'. Over 1,600 bushes... you don't say? (postcard, circa 1965)
Stop everything… do you smell that? No sir, I showered yesterday so it’s not me. That lovely aroma you just caught a whiff of is coming from Highland Park. Oh yeeeyah, since 1898 Springtime in Rochester means more than just flowers. Flowers are for pansy-ass towns. Here in the R-O-C we do LILACS. So grab your old lady and your Kodak—we’re taking a trip to the early days of Rochester’s Lilac Festival…

(more…)

Friday, May 14th, 2010
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Posted in Events, Rochester History, Rochester Images | 6 Comments »

RGRTA’s Transit Center as seen from ‘A Town Square’

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

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 external link. 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 external link tomorrow night (May 5).

Buses and Subways and Trains, Oh My

Rochester's Main Street and Clinton Avenue looking South. 1929.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…

Read the full article at ‘A Town Square’ external link

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
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Posted in Opinion, Rochester History, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | No Comments »

NYC Subway Etiquette

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Jason Shelowitz, a NY graphic designer, created about 360 of these subway etiquette posters. Photo via leonem's flickr.

The West Village artist behind these subway etiquette signs, Jason Shelowitz (aka jayshells external link), 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 external link 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!).

(more…)

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
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Posted in New York City Subway | No Comments »

Upcoming Lecture: John Robert Smith

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Rochester is buzzing with talk about new downtown development, new transit stations, high speed rail, and downtown circulators. But how do these pieces fit together? Cities across America are using transportation investments like these to transform themselves in a big way. And, if we play our cards right, we too can join the list of revitalized American cities.

On May 10, 2010, John Robert Smith external link — CEO of Reconnecting America external link and one of the people who helped spark this revolution — will be in Rochester to help give us some perspective. Come see how he and others are reconnecting America and find out how transportation can help shape a new Rochester.

This event is presented by the Rochester Regional Community Design Center. Get event details and ticket info…

Sunday, April 18th, 2010
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Posted in Events, Transit + Infrastructure | No Comments »

More Discussion with WHAM 13’s Evan Dawson on the Cost of High Speed Rail

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Evan Dawson, WHAM News 13Yesterday I wrote to Evan Dawson from WHAM News 13 in an effort to find out why he chose to compare HSR to the Rochester/Toronto fast ferry in his recent article, High Speed Rail: Fast Forward, Not Fast Ferry… Right? external link My concern was that this was an unfair, apples-to-oranges comparison. After all, passenger rail has served our region for over 150 years and if NY doesn’t want the upgrade it will go to Florida, Texas, California, Ohio, etc. To Dawson’s credit he took the time to write me back. He didn’t have to and I appreciate that. BUT, he missed the point I was trying to make and for the record, I still take issue with his comparison to the failed ferry and his line of questioning directed at Congresswoman Slaughter. Below is his response to my first email. Below that is MY response to his response. More to come I’m sure…

(more…)

Friday, April 16th, 2010
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Posted in Opinion, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | 1 Comment »

WHAM 13’s Evan Dawson: High Speed Rail = Fast Ferry

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Rochester's outdated Amtrak Station. (photo: www.thebluecomet.com)
Last Friday (April 9, 2010) Louise Slaughter held a press conference at Rochester’s Amtrak Station along with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to officially announce the arrival of High Speed Rail to Western NY. In addition to the track improvements made possible by $151 million in federal stimulus money, Slaughter said Rochester’s outdated Amtrak station will receive modest updates to the building and platform. She also announced that Amtrak, Greyhound, and Trailways (who were in attendance) were committed to building a new multimodal station as a separate project. Also in attendance was WHAM 13’s Evan Dawson [[email protected]]. Dawson asked some tough questions. For example, “Who will subsidize the project?” Good one Dawson. Hey, does WHAM have any openings? I’d like to apply.

So this past Monday Dawson posted his commentary, High Speed Rail: Fast Forward, Not Fast Ferry… Right? external link It’s quite the masterpiece. The article points to a list of questions that he’d like answers to. But since he hasn’t found the answers yet… he’ll just assume that these upgrades to the nation’s rail system are unnecessary and will be the next “fast ferry”.

While I applaud Dawson’s quest to find answers to certain outstanding questions, I take issue with his use of metaphor. And since WHAM doesn’t allow user comments on their site anymore, I had to send him this email in order to let him know how I felt…
(more…)

Thursday, April 15th, 2010
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Posted in Opinion, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | 8 Comments »

RochesterSubway.com Quoted In Today’s Democrat & Chronicle

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Construction crews rip a section of West Broad Street off the channel that once held the Erie Canal. (PHOTO: MAX SCHULTE, Democrat and Chronicle)
Today’s Easter Sunday edition of the Democrat and Chronicle featured fairly extensive coverage of the Broad Street Improvement Project and future plans for the subway tunnel. Three articles and a short video dominated the print and online versions of the Local section and gave RochesterSubway.com and ReconnectRochester.org some much appreciated press. The story below is from the D&C and includes comments from myself (Mike Governale of RochesterSubway.com) and Tom Grasso, who’s canal rewatering plan will likely wash away any chance of ever using the old subway tunnel as a rail corridor again…
(more…)

Sunday, April 4th, 2010
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Posted in Rochester News, Rochester Subway | No Comments »

Graffiti: Rising Up From Rochester’s Underground

Friday, March 26th, 2010

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…

(more…)

Friday, March 26th, 2010
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Posted in Art + Culture, Interviews, Rochester News, Rochester Subway, Video | 9 Comments »

City of Rochester Squashes Subway Tunnel Excursion

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Our subway excursion WOULD HAVE started at the east end of the tunnel... near the Dinosaur BBQ. Oh well. Guess I'll have to go to Disney this year instead.
A few months ago two of my readers (I’ll call them Tim and Jeff) contacted me to find out if RochesterSubway.com gave tours of the abandoned subway tunnel. I explained that while I wasn’t in the business of giving tours, I would be happy to go down there with them when the weather warmed up. Tim and Jeff were both on board and I soon posted an “event” on the RochesterSubway.com Facebook page external link to invite others to join us—cause “safety in numbers” is my credo. Anyway, I figured I’d get 3-6 people to come along and it’d be a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Soon enough that little Facebook event had attracted 43 Yes’s and 55 “Maybe’s”. Oh shit!

(more…)

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010
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Posted in Events, Rochester News, Rochester Subway, Urban Exploration | 14 Comments »

Your Chance to Voice Your Support for a Streetcar Loop

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

The City of Rochester is conducting an online survey for the downtown workforce to provide information on their commuting habits, preferences, and opinions. TAKE THE SURVEY. PLEASE.
Do you work downtown? The City of Rochester wants downtown workers to take their “commuting” survey external link. But this survey is about way more than just parking. The City is considering the possibility of a “circulator” system (i.e. Shuttle Buses or Trolley/Streetcars) to move people around downtown.

Although the survey only mentions RTS Buses and Shuttle Buses as options for mass transit commuters, there is a comment box on the very last page. This is your opportunity to voice support for a downtown streetcar circulator. We want the City to give strong consideration to the impact that a streetcar line could have on economic development in Rochester. A shuttle bus is a nice idea but will have the same effect. So be sure to leave a comment in that final box!

Read Rochester’s Case for a Streetcar Line, then PLEASE take the survey external link and forward it to your co-workers. Plans for downtown are being made. THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO HAVE YOUR SAY.

PLEASE PLEASE take the survey! external link

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
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Posted in Events, Transit + Infrastructure | No Comments »

Roll Up Your Sleeves. Let’s Reconnect Rochester.

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Don't confuse her with Rosie the Riveter. The model for this WWII poster is actually Geraldine Doyle. We're borrowing this powerful illustration from Howard J. Miller to help us Reconnect Rochester.
Hopefully by now you’ve read Rochester’s Case for a Streetcar Line. If you haven’t, go read it. Go on, I’ll wait.

…Okay great, now here’s an update. Since that article, traffic to RochesterSubway.com has doubled, our Facebook fan club external link has grown from 100 to over 400 (and counting), and my inbox hasn’t had a moments rest. This is all very encouraging and a sure sign that the people of Rochester really want to see their city thrive. The big question is; do the people of Rochester care enough to make an effort? All signs point to yes. So far we’ve got 12 people (including myself) who have risen to the challenge. Together we will lead a city wide movement to Reconnect Rochester.

(more…)

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
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Posted in Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | 1 Comment »

High-Speed Rail is a Necessity

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Rochester City NewspaperA letter to the editor in this week’s City Newspaper caught my eye tonight. It echoes many thoughts that have been rattling around my own head since the feds announced $151 million in high-speed rail money for New York—but stated much more eloquently than I could ever wish to. The gist of the commentary is clear from the title, “High-Speed Rail is a Necessity”. But the real golden nugget… and the point I’d like to scream from the top of Xerox tower… was this: News of high-speed rail funds should have been hailed as a positive breakthrough for our region. Instead it drew an avalanche of skepticism and negativity—two ugly characteristics that have become hallmarks of this town and will ultimately hurt us all.

Here is the letter from Roger Brown, president of the Rochester Regional Community Design Center…

(more…)

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
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Posted in Opinion, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure | 1 Comment »

Rochester’s Case for a Streetcar Line

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Photo simulation of a new Rochester streetcar on Main Street.

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.

(more…)

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
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Posted in Opinion, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure, Video | 38 Comments »

Powers Building & Four Corners, 1904

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

The Powers Building, Rochester, N.Y. (photo: Detroit Publishing, 1904.)

We found this old photo of the Powers Building and Rochester’s four corners recently on a vintage photos website called Shorpy.com external link. Not only is this a photo of one of Rochester’s most celebrated structures at one of the greatest times in the city’s history, but it’s incredibly detailed for such an old photo—right down to the logos painted on the office windows (click on the image to enlarge).

Hey, here’s a bit of fun for you… we hid the RochesterSubway.com logo somewhere in the photo. Let’s see which one of you can find it first. And while you’re searching for our hidden logo, here are a few other things you should take notice of…

(more…)

Sunday, January 31st, 2010
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images, Transit + Infrastructure | 9 Comments »

Harry Davis asks Rochester City Council to Give Up Their Cars

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Harry Davis and his newly formed PAC brought their 'green' development and transportation agenda directly to Rochester City Council last week. (photo: Rochester City Hall, 2009)

Some of you may remember our story on Harry Davis last September. At that time Harry was running a long-shot campaign for Rochester City Council. He didn’t win any of the 5 open council seats. But that didn’t discourage him. He turned right around and announced he’d be write-in candidate for Mayor in November. Mayor Duffy squashed that dream pretty easily on election day. But Harry kept at it. He promptly asked to be hired by Mayor Duffy to lead a “green” urban renewal plan for the city. The Mayor turned him down.

So now Mr. Davis is coming at things from a different angle. Last month he formed his own Political Action Committee (PAC). According to Mr. Davis this new group stands for “green, sustainable development and transportation.” Davis affirms, “The importance of sustainable and efficient transportation for Rochester cannot be overstated. This would include light rail, high-speed rail, bike paths and additional pedestrian options – all of which should complement a rational and minimalist approach to automotive traffic.”

(more…)

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010
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Posted in Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development | 3 Comments »

The Electric Interurban Railways in America

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

A vintage postcard (available on RochesterSubway.com) entitled 'Electricity versus Steam'. The photo shows the tracks of the Rochester and Eastern Rapid Railroad and the Auburn branch of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad where they parallel each other between Rochester and Canandaigua, with the trains of each railroad running at full speed in the same direction. The electric car shown here was capable of reaching speeds of sixty miles per hour.
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…

(more…)

Sunday, January 17th, 2010
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Posted in Opinion, Train/Railroad Stuff, Transit + Infrastructure | No Comments »

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