The RCA works to create better cycling infrastructure and a stronger voice for cyclists in Rochester, NY.

For information on getting involved, visit

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Take our bike use survey!

The RCA is trying to gather some basic information about how cyclists in Rochester use their bikes and what they think would make Rochester a better biking city. It's not very long - please take a minute to fill it out and let us know what kind of cyclist you are!

RCA Bicycle Commuter Survey

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dewey Avenue Reconstruction

I was stuck at LaGuardia airport last night, and wasn't able to get to the public meeting until 8:30. By that time, the meeting had broken up. However, the one person left was Richard Koss, an engineer with the City of Rochester. He was very helpful and was nice enough to stay and give me a run-down of the meeting and the repavement plan. The main part of the plan is to reduce Dewey from 4 lanes to three, while keeping existing on-street parking for the apartment dwellers and merchants along the street. I noted that on the plan drawings, bike lanes were NOT visible. Richard said that the bike lanes were an "option" that the City was discussing (would involve narrowing the lanes), and that he believes that the City has gotten the County "on board" with allowing the bike lanes. Bike lanes WERE brought up at the meeting in a positive way, with residents noting that the area has a large immigrant (Burmese and Bhutanese) population who use bicycles as their main transportation. However, the desire was expressed to have arrow pavement markings showing the correct direction of travel, as bicyclists along Dewey are often seen going the wrong way. Richard indicated that the City was going to check to see if arrows were an allowable pavement marking.
The presentation will be re-given at the monthly Maplewood Neighborhood Association on March 3rd, at the Aquinas Cafeteria.

Monday, February 22, 2010

National Bike Summit 2010 March 9-11 Wash DC

Jon and I are strongly considering going to the National Bike Summit, March 9-11 in Wash. DC. thanks to Jaesun's earlier posting. Is anyone else planning to go? The more the merrier, since there are many sessions we will not be able to attend since they split them into 2 separate breakout sessions, each with 6 different meetings.

We look at this as an opportunity to learn and network. If anyone has gone to the meeting previously and has tips on how to maximize the meeting, we'd love to hear it. Better yet, come with us.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tour de New York

The Tour is Coming...

The Tour de New York is a 6-day professional cycling stage race that's coming to Upstate New York in August 2010. The race will explore the Greater Rochester area and portions of the beautiful Finger Lakes region.

The inaugural 2010 UCI 2.2 Tour de New York will explode onto the international cycling scene and showcase the beautiful Western New York and Finger Lakes Regions of upstate New York from August 7th through August 12th. The six-day stage race will bring world-renowned professional teams to the Rochester Twilight Criterium on Saturday, August 7th, a 10-mile Individual Time Trial on August 8th and the tour will continue through August 12th with three road races and one circuit race.

Rochester-Williamsport Greenway in the Williamsport Sun Gazette

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rochester-Williamsport Greenway in the Williamsport Sun Gazette

NY-PA trail blends recreation, conservation
POSTED: February 21, 2010
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When they decided they had a common interest of creating recreational trails, two professors determined it was time to band together with one another and others to blaze a 230-mile path connecting Williamsport and Rochester, N.Y.

Jon Schull, Rochester Institute of Technology associate professor of innovation and invention, said he and Allen Kerkeslager met a couple months ago in Philadelphia, where Kerkeslager is a professor at St. Joseph's University.

"We talked about the synergy between his (Kerkeslager's) work in the Genesee Wilds Association and my work which I call the 'Rochester Greenway,' " Schull said. "We realized the two sections we had been focusing on were the two end points of this project."

Schull, one of the founders of the Rochester Cycling Alliance, is excited about the recreation possibilities.

Kerkeslager described different reasons he wants to get involved. He grew up in rural New York, near the proposed trail project, and continues to go home to see family there, driving through Williamsport on the way.

The trail project also is a chance for Kerkeslager, a religions of the ancient world professor, to delve into something he admits isn't as obscure.

'A breather ... for humanity'

"Much of this (trail project) is a breather to do stuff for humanity," he said.

It comes with a price.

Kerkeslager said the cost for the 230-mile connection could be $100 million, but he offered an explanation.

To offer it completely with trails, he expects a $50 million expense.

There would be another cost of $50 million for the water conservation measures he recommends.

It'll take time, too, as Kerkeslager said, "Twenty years, I think that's a fair estimate to be completely off-road."

Kerkeslager, who rides a bicycle 10 miles round trip on his daily work commute, said he's a proponent of the proposed cycling recreation.

Environmental improvements

But, he's also an advocate for environmental improvements possible through the trail plan.

The project spans the Susquehanna, Genesee and the headwaters of the Allegheny River, all watersheds Kerkeslager intends to protect.

Kerkeslager believes building a riparian buffer along the trail is a cost-saving conservation alternative to building expensive rock wall dams.

Greenway planning preserves forests and conserves nature, according to Rick Biery, regional planning program manager for Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission.

Biery embraces plan development and the possible trail if it's conducted responsibly.

"From a concept standpoint, these things are great," Biery said. "It brings an opportunity to tap into a resource hikers and bikers may not get to go through unless we look at the possibilities."

Through connectivity, the recreational system experience improves, according to Kerkeslager.

He said it will connect the nationally renowned Pine Creek Gorge bicycle trail to the Genesee River's gorgeous waterfalls.

Jobs will be created, Kerkeslager added, especially in the sectors of tourism, hospitality, recreation and tour guiding.

He intends to bring the plan to the forefront at meetings of the Northcentral Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission in Ridgway.

Facing up to the challenge

Some consider the most challenging interstate link to be completed as a 40-mile proposed trail running northwest from Wellsboro to the New York border.

A connection just west of Wellsboro is in the conceptual stage, according to Biery.

"We're working with a consultant to develop a greenways open space outdoors recreation plan. It's an overall concept plan," he said.

Matt Marusiak, project coordinator for the Northcentral Pennsylvania Greenways and Open Space Plan, said land deals still need to be made there to acquire trail property, much of which lack old railroad beds ideal for making recreation trails.

In areas where land can't be bought, Kerkeslager said the trail may have to go along Route 6.

Railroad beds ideal

A recreational trail using a road area isn't uncommon, as Kerkeslager said portions of the Appalachian Trail he's explored are the same way.

Railroad beds like what are used in the local Pine Creek Trail are ideal, but alternatives can be used if necessary.

Kerkeslager said there's often a section here and there where planners have to route a trail along roads where landowners want to keep their property or where an area is undevelopable.

Since July, Biery's been involved in what he described as an outreach process including public meetings, contact with stakeholders, and thousands of resident surveys in the counties of Tioga, Sullivan, Wyoming and Susquehanna.

Biery hopes to reach the next goal by early June, which includes a direct recommendations document he said is drafted for review by the planning partners.

"That's where projects will come from," Biery said of further details to be unveiled.

Project offerings

Bicycle recreation is important but so is waterways enjoyment, organizers say.

Like the canoe and kayak launches already offered along the Genesee and Pine Creek rail trails, Kerkeslager plans on offering more boat launches where possible.

He hopes his entire New York to Pennsylvania circuit can be as beautiful as the Pine Creek trail residents enjoy here, but he realizes some adjustments may be necessary.

A hurdle in New York is not to have a trail, but to have it off-road.

A 20-mile section from Belfast, N.Y., to Wellsville, N.Y., can be offered as soon as this summer if it's presented on an existing country road.

"In the long run, we'd like to get these trails off the roads entirely," Kerkeslager said.

Using a combination of existing roads and trails, he said a route from Williamsport to New York could be offered later this year.

Organizers would merely have to offer maps, a Web site and post some trail sections with markers honoring the trail.

"It could say future home of (the NYPA Greenways)," Kerkeslager said, reminding it's only a working name.

"To open for usage with provisional usage on roads, we can do that as soon as it gets warm," he said.

People already bicycle from Rochester to Williamsport, according to Schull.

"They ride on trails and ride on roads when the trail peters out," he said.

It can be done now, but Lycoming County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Jason Fink doesn't suggest competing with traffic along the Route 14-15 corridors.

'A safer way'

"This would be a safer way to enjoy it," said Fink, himself an avid local bicycle rider. "To ride up to Rochester would be a very exciting thing for a bicyclist."

Because the existing Pine Creek Trail is extensively used, he believes a new trail would be popular around here.

It would be quite an experience to explore a different terrain in the Great Lakes region up north, according to Fink.

The trail is more than just about recreation to Schull, who said, "it becomes a plan for real development and transportation development."

He said bicycling is especially popular among the five cycling clubs in his city.

Schull said there are great places to ride around the Erie Canal, Genesee Riverway Trail, Lake Ontario and Finger Lakes. He said his region already had wonderful trails but they can be improved.

"There are stretches where there's roads that we ride that could be more bikeable," Schull said. "And there's stretches that could be more scenic or more direct."

Extending their outreach

Attracting expanded stakeholders interested in conservation is critical to success, according to Kerkeslager.

"With more interest in the trail, we'll expand the profile," he said. "Get people using it and once they're using it, it promotes more stakeholders to build up funding."

"If there's enough support out there, the right people should be able to find those funds out there," Fink said of needed grants.

Separate but similar projects are happening elsewhere, as Schull said a national network of trails is developing.

"There's an emerging view of greenways all over the country," he said.

The East Coast Greenway project from Cape Cod to Key West, Fla., is being developed along a proposed 3,000-mile trail, which runs down the eastern seaboard, incorporating the Philadelphia area.

In addition to his planning involvement with the Pennsylvania Wilds, Jerry Walls also is a board member of the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, which he said may benefit from the NYPA plan.

From the headwaters of the West Branch in Cambria County to Williamsport to Sunbury to the Chesapeake Bay, Susquehanna Greenway partners including Walls are planning a 500-mile recreational route that he said could tie into Kerkeslager's plan.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brighton Monroe Avenue Charette

Any Brighton residents who want bike facilities on Monroe Avenue, Brighton is holding a "charette" (a community-led design process) to specify what the community wants to see for future Monroe Avenue road projects. This is an opportunity to get bike improvements into the charette design:

Brighton councilwoman Sheila Gaddis is overseeing the Monroe Avenue Streetscape Design Charrette, a $33,000 project that was part of the town's 2009-10 budget. It will define a vision for changes along the corridor between Highland Avenue and Clover Street to make it more attractive for use by shoppers, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders.
"If I can have my dream, Monroe Avenue would be one flowing, vibrant corridor of stores, restaurants, parks and bike paths from Rochester to Brighton and right on through to Pittsford. We are pretty close to this dream, but the goal this time is to build on our past successes and fill in the blank spots," said Gaddis.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Portland, Ore. 20 year Plan

The Portland, Ore. City Council recently approved a 20 year cycling plan which is very ambitious (site below) . The plan reaches far but has the strong backing of Mayor Sam Adams (he's former Head of Portland Transportation) and the city council with unanamously approved it. The mayor in his recent State of the City address announced that they want to increase their bicycle commuting rate from 6.5% (the nations highest) to 25% over the next few years. The Daily Journal of Commerce, the local business newspaper reported on a projection to spend $600 million Yikes! over the next 20 years on the bike plan, and they will need to tap multiple sources including the city's general transportaion revenue, Oregon Dept. of Transportation and the federal government are prime resources which they'll need to work with.
I spent some time at the site and it has a wealth of information on their planning and implementation process. The plan is rich in detail and can be helpful giving us an idea of how they approached and plan to approach their growth. The "Executive Summary" in the Introduction section nicely summarizes things.
I also found it insightful to look at their application (included below) to the League of American Bicycles which povides a great deal of detail on how they have made their city bicycle friendly. There is a lot of concrete information on what they did to become the first city in the US to get the first Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community status. Check it out. PS Ave. temp. in Portland in Jan. - 41 degrees F. vs 25 degrees F. Rochester & we've got more of that "Pesky Snow". More on that later.

Rochester City's Project Green Plan's Appendix on Bicycle Access Strategies

Who knew?  

Last year the City, along with our friends at the Rochester Regional Community Design Center published a most excellent document entitled "Project Green: From Blight to Bright."  The whole document is available here, but embedded below is Appendix 1: Bicycle Access Strategy.


ENVIRONMENT: Biking’s benefits �" realistically - Letters - Rochester City Newspaper

ENVIRONMENT: Biking’s benefits �" realistically - Letters - Rochester City Newspaper

...A pragmatic approach to improving cycling in a city like Rochester would include a collaborative effort between non-profit entities, residents, cycling shops and clubs, city government, and state legislators to consolidate funds for relatively low-cost solutions like painting bike lanes on arterial routes and installing bicycle racks at public meeting places.

For example, a bike lane along Monroe Avenue stretching from Cobb's Hill to downtown (or even more optimistically, from Pittsford), would have positive impacts on the businesses lining the route and on the quality of life of people living in or visiting that area. ...


Thursday, February 11, 2010

I just found out that the City will be holding a public meeting regarding the resurfacing of Dewey Avenue (including restriping) on February 25, at 7:00 PM, in the Aquinas High School Cafeteria. The project involves resurfacing Dewey from Driving Park up to Eastman Avenue, which is north of Ridge Road.

The community charrette for this area currently calls for bike lanes along the entire length, but a charrette is only a plan, and it will be up to the community to hold the City's feet to the fire and actually put them in the project. This is an excellent chance for bicyclists to make known their demands for bike lanes- and this would be a lane along a very long stretch of major thoroughfare. It enacted, it would undoubtedly be the longest and most useful bike lane in the County.

I plan on attending, but it would be great if we could get a bunch of cyclists there to advocate for the lanes. Some merchants may speak out against them, believing that they the lanes will interfere with their parking (it won't) or that narrowing Dewey from 4 lanes to three will hurt their businesses (it is likely to INCREASE their business). The more cycling advocates speaking out, the better.

Friday, February 5, 2010

RTS Town Meeting in Chili

I can't attend this meeting, as it conflicts with another meeting that night. However, it would be great if some west side cyclists could go and advocate for 3-bike racks and covered bike parking at park and ride locations:!/event.php?eid=276442592741&ref=mf

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Road Projects

It's great that the C of R is now sending us e-mails regarding public meeting for street improvement projects:
It was brought to my attention that the Rochester Cycling Alliance would like to be alerted when public meetings for street improvement projects are announced. I will be emailing you the notifications going forward. Please let me know if you need anything else.

Oakwood Rd

Mt Hope Ave

Kara A. Noto

City of Rochester | Dept. of Environmental Services- Commissioner’s Office

City Hall | 30 Church Street | Room 300B

Rochester, New York 14614


I looked at the Oakwood project, and it seemed to be a residential street, with no important connections to other streets, not really a priority for bike lanes.

The Mt. Hope project seems like it should be a priority for bike lanes, but the notice said that the meeting was for a final design presentation. I think we would have to make A LOT of noise before the city would amend a final design.

-Bill Collins