Thursday, May 9, 2013

It's all about the connections...

Genesee Riverway Trail

Genesee Valley Greenway

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Lehigh Valley Trail Connection

The last few days have seen quite a few emails bandied about concerning the strip of land between the University of Rochester and East River Road. This land is of particular interest because it happens to be the most direct connection between the existing Lehigh Valley Trail that runs south to RIT and the Erie Canal Trail, University of Rochester, and the Genesee Riverway Trail.

The map below show a tax map of the land in question that indicates that it is in the Town of Brighton and owned by the University of Rochester. The bridges are permanent easements owned by the state.

There is currently a service road in disrepair that many people on mountain bikes or running use to get from one trail to the next, but that road is not friendly to thin road bike tires as I can personally attest.

Luckily, there is an alternative. On a recent trip back from RIT I attempted to explore a link to a nearby road, and accidentally discovered a fantastic trail about 30 yards west of the service road in the woods that leads to a concrete pedestrian bridge over 390 and the canal. This route could be the perfect alternative to the service road, and the current official Lehigh Valley route via Kendrick Road's sidewalk.

The pictures below tell the story even better than I can describe. I apologize for the non-sensical order.

This is the entrance to the trail facing north near the Erie Canal trail. You can see a vehicle parked in a University of Rochester parking lot in the background.

This is the trail facing south after crossing the pedestrian bridge. The trail is a single dirt track so it is difficult to spot here. It looks like most people who cross this bridge opt to walk or bike along the service road. Possibly because they are unaware of where the trail exits.

The view of the service road bridge from the pedestrian bridge.

The pedestrian bridge facing north.

The trail facing north somewhere in the middle.

The entrance to the trail from the Erie Canal trail facing south.

The entrance to the trail from the Lehigh Valley trail facing south. As you can see, this area of the trail will need some work before it is truly accessible. That mud is about as deep and nasty as it looks and impassable on a road bike. Luckily, this stretch is only about 30-40 yards long, and could easily be repaired.

The rest of the muddy section facing north from the same spot.

The entrance to the trail from the Erie Canal trail facing north.

It is evident that people are already using the pedestrian bridge, and to a lesser extent this alternative trail. With proper signage and a little work, this could easily become an excellent addition the the Lehigh Valley Trail, and serve as a vital intercampus link.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

THIS WEDNESDAY: the First Greater Rochester Active Transportation Symposium

Walk, Bike, Smile, Thrive
Jon Schull
Scott Macrae

Walking and biking is good for your health, good for your state of mind, good for Rochester.    And its about to get better.

Less than a year after the newly-formed Rochester Cycling Alliance began advocating for comprehensive bike-friendly planning and development, the City of Rochester has developed and released a Bicycle Master Plan that will encourage better bike lanes, neighborhood greenways, and urban trails, and stimulate similar developments in neighboring municipalities.  The Town of Brighton has just received a planning grant from the federally-funded Genesee Transportation  Council to develop a plan for bikeable and walkable connections between the University of Rochester, RIT, MCC, and downtown Rochester. 

And on April 27, forward thinking planners, leaders, and citizens will come together for the firstGreater Rochester Active Transportation Symposium , to celebrate a rich set of geographical and demographic assets, ripe for integration.  

The Greater Rochester Active Transportation Symposium  will feature national leaders who will report on how active transportation planning in cities like Madison Wisconsin, and Minneapolis Minnesota has made roads safer, expanded transportation options, and increased community liveability and attractiveness, especially for young people critical for regional vitality and growth. 

The April 27 Greater Rochester Active Transportation Symposium  will also include over 13 workshops, rides and fun events designed to help citizens and local leaders adapt these lessons to our own city.  

Consider the facts.  The average Rochester family spends 19% of its income on transportation--about $8,000 a year.  Yet over half of our trips are 5 miles in duration or less--perfect for biking.   If even a fraction of our car commutes became bike commutes, effective family incomes could increase by thousands of dollars, and most of those dollars (hundreds of millions of dollars!) would circulate in Rochester's economy, rather than Saudi Arabia's.   And by the way, mental alertness and fitness would increase along with life expectancies and productivity (cyclists live 2 years longer on average and lose 15% fewer days off work due to illness).   

Rochester's leaders  and planners are attending the symposium because they are ready, willing, and able to listen and respond to forward-looking cyclists and community builders.   But they need to know that the community supports and understands the incredible potential of active transportation planning for Rochesterian cyclists and non-cyclists alike. 

So here's what you can do to help make this vision a reality.  

·      Understand it.   Attractive bikeways and walkways create and preserve thriving communities populated by energetic and forward thinking citizens.    Energetic and forward thinking citizens create and sustain livable cities with rich transportation options, less obesity and heart disease, lower carbon footprints, less dependence on foreign oil.  (Its not rocket science.  Its better.)

·      Know that realizing this vision need not be expensive.  Portland Oregon's entire cycling infrastructure was built for less than the cost of a single mile of urban expressway (and Portland now saves twenty times that much money per year in miles not driven).   

·      Ask for it.  While the health benefits of cycling outweigh the safety risks 20 to 1, those benefits today go to those  who are willing to brave roadways that are often scary and unappealing.  Ask for better walkways and bikeways.  

·      Join us at the Greater Rochester Active Transportation Symposium Wednesday, April 27th  and help us marry an emerging global vision with emerging local opportunities 

·      Vote with your feet.  Bike more, walk more, smile more. You'll feel better, and you'll help the community thrive.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Greater Rochester Active Transportation System

Click on images for a printable PDF.
Spread the word!
Now seeking endorsements and logos from allied organizations.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

River Meadow Crossing

Allen Kerkeslager helped me find an even better link to connect the RITtweenway with the Genesee Valley Greenway, and Jay Jackson pointed out that a bike ferry could be a way cool and relatively easy way to get the job done.   

 Here is the site we are talking about in google maps.  On the east side of the crossing, the land is reportedly owned by developers planning to create a pond and preserve in the big open areas, and on the west side some unused NYState owned property seems to be waiting for our new lease on life.

The crossing would connect  the "River Meadow Preserve" to an asphalted former water testing facility reportedly owned by New York State.  The landing would offer  near-perfect access to to the Genessee Valley Greenway either via Scottsville Rd and Brook Rd, or southwest by way of the road that exteds from right across the landing.

.  Here is the eastward looking view back to River Meadow Dr.

As for how the crossing would be implemented, one could imagine a bicycle/pedestrian bridge or even a small cable ferry (which could be designed and built by RIT faculty and students!)  
·      River Meadow Crossing 
  • would create new recreational options for local residents,  
  • would create a short and safe bike-commute to and from RIT and RIT's new Global Village
  • would create a scenic and efficient 10 mile bike ride to downtown Rochester via RIT, Park Point and the Rochester Greenway.
  • would make us essential links in the emerging Rochester-Williamsport Greenway
  • would establish Henrietta, RIT, and Rochester as leaders in the  transition to more ecological, economical, and healthy  life styles. 
  • would enrich the community. 

The "Rochester Bicycle Ecology" is  a flagship project of RIT's Center for Student Innovation (which I now direct.) 
     We have been promoting the under-appreciated "Rochester Greenway" that connects Henrietta with Downtown Rochester by way of RIT and the Lehigh Valley North Trail.
     We organized last October's Rochester Cycling Summit , helped found the Rochester Cycling Alliance  and  helped put theRochester-Williamsport Greenway on the agenda for NY and PA planners. 
     In less than a year, we've had significant impact, and this  summer we are working with the Rochester Cycling Alliance to stimulate and coordinate a  "Greater Rochester Active Transportation System".