Rochester, We Can Do Better.

I will always be positive Rochester, I will always try to highlight the best parts of our city.  But occasionally I will feel the need to tastefully comment on a place where I believe we can improve.  This is one of those times.

As many of my regular followers know, I am an advocate of cycling for leisure and transportation because I have seen the clear cut data on how a pro-cycling urban environment is key to creating a thriving city.  In fact, simply adding dedicated bikes lanes and cycling infrastructure can be a lift to a local economy.

I have a worry here in Rochester.  So many cities our size and even smaller are making bike lanes a priority on roads old and new.  But here in Rochester, I’m seeing so many missed opportunities to create these vital cycling safety amenities.  The initial plans for College Town called for bike lanes as a major piece of the project, with a first-of-its-kind in Rochester protected bike lane, exclusively for cyclists on Elmwood.  Not only was this protected bike lane scrapped, there is no bike lane striping whatsoever around college town or the University of Rochester Medical Center, save a section on Crittenden which is shared with buses.

Today, while hopping around the city for Small Business Saturday, I viewed the newly repaved North Winton Road near Blossom, which, surprise surprise, does not include a bike lane.

Construction continues on the bridges between Monroe Community College and City Gate, and I can only hope that bike lanes are in the future for that project… if not, the city will once again miss out on a valuable opportunity to stand with the safety and proliferation of cyclists in Rochester.

As our downtown hails the coming of a bike share program in 2017, Rochester administrators need to start seriously considering where cyclists who use this service, as well as current cyclists, are going to ride.  Countless four-lane highways parading as streets still exist in our city and worse yet, continue to be defended.  Until we truly make a commitment in this city to walkability and a pro-cycling environment, we will never truly realize the potential of Rochester and it’s initiatives.

I love my city, and I stand with those who we elect in the hopes that they will make these important decisions.  I know that, eventually, we will all see the right way and move forward to maximize our infrastructure for everyone, not just cars.

Until then, it’s time to make a little noise Rochester.  Tell your city that we need to make these initiatives a priority.  Tell your city that these markings on the road are not enough.

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It’s time to realize how investments in walking, cycling and pro-transit culture in places like Minneapolis has changed that city’s economy.  Let’s not fall behind Rochester, let’s take a stand and let our leaders know that we demand walkability and cycling infrastructure for a better tomorrow!

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