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Jan 26 14

RCA Joins NYBC

by Charlie Leccese

The Rochester Cycling Alliance is now a member organization of the New York Bicycling Coalition. The NYBC advocates for pro-bicycle policies at the local, New York state and federal levels. They educate New Yorkers about the benefits of bicycling and walking, offer technical and training resources, assist bicycle advocates and government entities, and promote safe riding.

Sep 20 13

RCA Bike Corral at Greentopia

by Charlie Leccese

RCA Bike Corral at Greentopia
Sept 14-15, 2013
By Harvey Botzman

Once again the Rochester Cycling Alliance performed a valuable service to the entire bicycling community. At the Greentopia Festival, Sept. 14-15, 2013, we maintained a bike corral for the secure parking of bicycles using the City of Rochester’s portable bike racks. Bicycle safety brochures and materials (e. g., the “Share the Road” bumper sticker; kid’s “use your helmet stickers”) were available to the public, bicyclists and non-bicyclists, on the display table.

 

Aug 19 13

2013 Rochester’s Spokes & Ink Bike & Poster Festival

by Charlie Leccese

Spokes & Ink Bike & Poster Festival
Monroe Center for the Arts & Education
August 18, 2013
By Harvey Botzman

The Rochester Cycling Alliance did it again!

We were at Rochester’s Spokes & Ink Bike & Poster Festival, on Sunday, August 18, 2013. Spokes & Ink is a festival produced by the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education, 713 Monroe Avenue. If you don’t know where Center is just look across Monroe Avenue from where Oxford Street ends and there, just to the south (left) of Dog Town Hots is an old firehouse emblazoned with the Center’s name.

 

The intersection of Wilcox Street & Monroe Avenue was filled with bike racks in front of the RCA’s display. Further down Wilcox Street the Conkey Cruisers were promoting their program of encouraging neighbors in the northwest section of Rochester to “get out & bike” for heath, fun, & knowing your neighbors.

Local trick bike riders from Rochester Action Sports Park performed on their own street stage near the intersection of Wilcox & Richard Streets to the delight of the festival attendees.

Scott Wagner and his crew distributed safety brochures and information about RCA’s role making Rochester a premier bicycling destination. Over the course of this one day festival the RCAers staffing our booth estimate they spoke with to more than 100 bicyclists or potential bicyclists.

Two featured bicycling events at the Spokes & Ink Festival were led by RCAers. At 12:30 PM, Scott Wagner gave a well attended Urban Cycling Safety Clinic. Scott described the new Sharrow and Bike Lane markings on Rochester’s streets. He explained why these markings are used and more importantly where the bicyclist should be positioned when riding on a street with or without sharrows & lanes. He emphasized the importance of riding with traffic and stopping at stop signs and red traffic signal lights. “Bicycles are vehicles and bicyclists & vehicle operators according to New York State and most other states’ laws.”

Helmet use by adults brought forth the refrain, “If you have no brains, don’t wear a helmet; if you have some brains, keep them covered with a helmet,” from those watching and listening to Scott’s presentation.

 

The RCA’s Zack Declerck (who with Scott Wagner organized the very successful Rochester Bike Week & Film Festival in May, 2013) led a 5.3 mile ride through downtown at 4 PM. Earlier in the afternoon Shawn Brown led a 5.3 mile ride to and around Cobbs Hill.

Inside the Genesee Center for the Arts, Print Shop, the exhibition of bicycling posters included two by the RCA’s very own Karen Lankeshoffer, RCA representative from Henrietta. All the posters are individual designs hand printed on the Genesee Center’s letter presses in the Print Shop. The Print Shop as well as the Genesee Pottery and Community Dark Room offer courses throughout the year. View the poster exhibition at: http://www.geneseearts.org/spokesandink/photos/. (Note: the 2013 posters will be on the Spokes & Ink web page by the end of this week.)
You may be able to purchase some of the posters by contacting the Center & Spokes & Ink director, Kate at office@geneseearts.org

Near the band stand on Wilcox Street, the Genesee Pottery displayed hand built wares as Mitch Messina kept the Festival’s attendees intrigued with his description and demonstration of the process creating and firing raku pottery.

Rounding out a wonderful day on the Avenue with a gecko as signature icon were bands and food vendors. Gin & Bonnets, Tin Can Set, Hieronymus Bogs The Pickpockets entertained us with music throughout the day. The delicious food and beverages served at food trucks, the vegan/vegetarian ice cream bike cart, by local sponsoring grocery stores and restaurants rounded out a fun filled, exciting, and low keyed bicycling and art (print, photographs & pottery) day in Rochester NY.

Spokes & Ink Bike & Poster Festival was sponsored by: Abundance Food Store, Archimage, Dog Town Hots, Electronic Merchant Systems, Monroe Avenue Merchants Association (MAMA), Monroe Real Estate, O’Callaghan’s Tavern, Wegmans, Woman Tours, and Yelp.

Aug 8 13

Amtrak Unboxed Bicycle Carriage Demonstration

by Charlie Leccese

Amtrak Unboxed Bicycle Carriage Demonstration
Empire Service, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, and Ethan Allen Trains
July 17-31, 2013.
By Harvey Botzman

Amtrak has been demonstrating the use of bicycle racks for the carriage of unboxed bicycles in passenger cars on its Empire Service (including the Maple Leaf and Adirondack trains) and Ethan Allen routes in New York State and Vermont. For over 35 years I, other bicyclists, the New York Bicycling Coalition, and tourism promotion agencies have been advocating for Amtrak to allow unboxed bicycles to be transported in the passenger cars of trains traversing New York State.

In the 1950s through the-mid 1970’s Amtrak and its predecessor railroads allowed unboxed bicycles to be carried in the passenger cars or the baggage cars on trains traversing New York State. For some unspecified reason this bicycle carriage policy was changed. By the late 1970’s trains traveling through New York State and Vermont no longer allowed unboxed bicycles to be carried in either a baggage car or the passenger cars.

 

 

Oversize luggage area in Empire Service Passenger Car

Same area in the Bike Rack Demonstration Café Car

 

 

 

 

 

 

Same area in the Bike Rack Demonstration Café Car

 

 

 

Only the Lake Shore Limited train between New York City and Chicago has the facility, a baggage car, to carry bicycles. Bicycles must be boxed for carriage on this train. It is not difficult to prepare a bike for placing in a box. Nonetheless for many bicyclists boxing a bicycle an intimidating operation involving removing the bike’s pedals and turning the bike’s handlebars.

Limited means the Lake Shore does not stop at all stations in New York State. In particular it by passes both downtown Buffalo and Niagara Falls since the train’s route follows the southern shore of Lake Erie.  Other stations between Albany and Buffalo and Albany; and Albany and New York City with relatively light passenger use are also passed by this Limited train. These bypassed are served by Empire Service or Ethan Allen service trains.

Unless bicyclists are using folding bicycles they must transport their bicycles by some means other than an Amtrak train resulting in a loss of passenger revenue for Amtrak. The major intercity bus lines (Greyhound, Trailways, Vermont Transit, etc.) allow bicycles to be carried “in a sturdy canvas like bag” in a bus baggage hold. All of the scenic railroads in New York State and Vermont make some type of accommodation for unboxed bicycle carriage if not in the passenger cars then in a baggage car.

To demonstrate the feasibility of transporting unboxed bicycles in Amtrak’s passenger cars the railroad has retrofitted one café car to accommodate four unboxed bicycles on specially designed racks. When bike racks are eventually installed on Empire Service, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, and Ethan Allen trains they should be placed in the passenger cars rather than the café car. This will allow each typical three passenger car train to transport 12 bicycles to upstate New York, Vermont, Ontario, or Quebec.

 

 

 

Loading a bicycle from a low level platform

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bicyclist with bike alighting from a train to a station platform level with the train car’s floor

 

 

 

At most stations in New York State and Vermont the train passenger car’s floor is higher than the station’s platform. At these stations bicycles are handed up to a train conductor who holds the bicycle until the bicyclist enters the train using the adjoining train car’s stairs and door. At the intersection of a passenger car’s vestibule and corridor the conductor gives the bicycle to the bicyclist who wheels the bike and secures it to the floor affixed bike racks. This is a simple process which does not appear to delay the boarding and alighting of passengers from a train. The bicycle is secured to the bike rack using Velcro® straps. The Velcro straps allow for quickly securing the bike as well as quickly releasing the bike at the destination station. The conductor checks each bike to make certain the bicycles are secure in the bike racks.

 

 

Bicyclist securing bike to the bike rack with Velcro straps

 

 

 

 

 

 

Different sized bikes in bike racks on Amtrak train

 

 

 

Bicyclists, tourism officials, parents of students (“Students can take their bicycle instead of a car to college.”), and Amtrak officials all agreed that unboxed bicycle carriage would be a boon for tourism throughout New York State and Vermont. Many of participants in this demonstration submitted survey forms pointedly suggesting that at a minimum there should be four bicycle racks in each Amtrak passenger car on each train wrote the survey respondents made a point of writing that there should be four racks in each of the passenger cars on each train. More than four bicycle racks per train most likely will be needed to accommodate the demand from bicyclists wanting to travel to a destination in New York State or Vermont. A minimum of 48 bicycle racks would be available if all the Empire Service, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, and Ethan Allen train were fitted with bike racks. Of course Amtrak would have to do some marketing to tell bicyclists the bike racks were available for their use (reservations and a small fee needed). Rather than leave the marketing to someone at its Washington headquarters, Amtrak should provide a significant grant to both the New York Bicycling Coalition and the Vermont Bicycle Pedestrian Coalition to market this service to their constituencies.

Bicyclists, tourism and Amtrak officials consider the Empire Service, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, and Ethan Allen trains’ unboxed bicycle carriage demonstration to be a valid and cost effective method to transport unboxed bicycles on trains.

When will bike racks actually be installed in Empire Service, Adirondack, Maple Leaf, and Ethan Allen train passenger cars? This is a question without a forthcoming answer. It took Amtrak one year to design and build the racks, floor/wall fittings and to retrofit the demonstration café car. One New York State bicycle advocate, myself, suggests Amtrak and the New York State Department of Transportation recondition the Turbo Train passenger cars in storage for the past two decades as the first passenger cars be retrofitted with bike racks. Reconditioning the Turbo Train’s passenger cars for carrying unboxed bicycles in racks would not necessitate taking any rolling stock out of service while retrofitting the cars. Then Amtrak and the NYS DOT could simply use the Turbo Train passenger car with its bike racks on a train while another passenger car is being reconditioned and retrofitted with bike racks. It’s like a game of musical chairs or should it be termed musical bike racks!

A glitch in the plan to implement the program to fit all Empire Service, Adirondack Maple Leaf, and Ethan Allen trains with unboxed bicycle carriage facilities might be the transfer of the operation of these trains to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT) in December, 2013.

Almost all elected officials including New York State’s United States Senators, its U. S. Representatives, and most New York State legislators favor stimulating economic growth through tourism development. Finding ways for residents and visitors to use public transit to easily travel from large cities to the scenic, historic, and interesting smaller cities, villages, and rural areas of New York State is certainly a valid way to achieve this tourism development goal. Unboxed bicycle carriage on Amtrak trains affords residents of New York City, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Boston, and Washington DC who do not usually drive or own an automobile (40% of the population of those megapoli’) to tour New York State and Vermont on their own bicycles.

Article & photograph use only with by line & acknowledgement, “Photographs by Harvey Botzman, Cyclotour Guide Books.

Jul 23 13

Shifting Gears: Promoting Rochester’s Two-Wheeled Revolution

by Charlie Leccese

Introducing the most amazing final publication from the Genesee School 6th graders.

Shifting Gears: Promoting Rochester’s Two-Wheeled Revolution!

A Project of the
Genesee Community Charter School
Sixth Grade Class of 2013

Read the entire report here, find out how these students disprove the 11 myths of bicycling in Rochester, and most importantly join in on promoting Rochester’s Two-Wheeled Revolution!

Apr 6 13

Press Conference Detailing Final Plans for Rochester Intermodal Transportation Center

by Charlie Leccese

March 4, 2013. At a press conference announcing the receipt of proposals for the final design and construction of the Rochester Intermodal Transportation Center Congresswoman Slaughter spoke with RCA VP Bill Collins and RCA Director Harvey Botzman.

The Congresswoman reiterated her advocacy of including safe, secure short and long term bicycle parking, a bicycle assembly area, and other bicycle/bicyclist facilities in the design and construction of the new Transportation Center. She was very receptive to comments made by Harvey and Bill in regard to bicycle facilities at the Transportation Center.

Read the full press conference report here

As a bicycling advocate, go to the project web page and sign up to receive regular notices of its progress. http://www.dot.ny.gov/rochesterintermodalcenter 

Mar 29 13

Genesee-Finger Lakes Active Transportation Summit

by Richard DeSarra

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 from 8am – 5pm!
Click here to register!
We envision a future in which every community has transportation options that are healthy, fun, safe, and environmentally friendly.

The purpose of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Active Transportation Summit (G-FLATS) is to help educate, inspire, and mobilize our nine-county region to achieve that vision by making walking, biking, and transit easier, safer, and more available to all.

Join us for an exciting full-day program: To view the current working agenda, click here.
– Innovative and influential speakers
– Dynamic morning educational sessions
– Networking with national and local leaders
– Afternoon working groups to share best practices and mobilize for action (Group descriptions found here)

Keynotes & Discussion with trailblazers:
– Earl Blumenauer, U.S. Representative, 3rd District, Oregon
– Jeff Olson, Author “The Third Mode”

Registration Cost: $50, includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks

Feb 19 13

Save the Date! Genesee-Finger Lakes Active Transportation Summit Tuesday, April 30th

by Richard DeSarra

Save the Date!
Genesee-Finger Lakes Active Transportation Summit
Tuesday, April 30th

We envision a future in which every community has transportation options that are healthy, fun, safe, and environmentally friendly. The purpose of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Active Transportation Summit is to help educate, inspire, and mobilize our 9-county region to achieve that vision by making walking, biking, and transit easier, safer, and more available to all.

Join us for an exciting day-long program that includes:
• Innovative and influential speakers
• Dynamic educational sessions
• Networking with national and local leaders
• Working groups to share best practices and mobilize for action

Keynote addresses by two of the most important active transportation leaders in the US:
• Earl Blumenauer, U.S. Representative, 3rd District Oregon
• Jeff Olsen, former New York State DOT Bike/Pedestrian Program Manager and author of The Third Mode

When: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 from 8am-5pm
Where: Rochester Riverside Radisson Hotel (120 East Main St) Registration Cost: $50 (includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks)

More details and registration information available soon.

Contact: elizabethmurphy@flhsa.org for more information.

Jan 26 13

Rochester Cycling Alliance New Year’s Update

by Jon Schull

 

We don’t often send mail to all of our friends and followers (in fact, never before).  But in honor of the new year and several exciting announcements, we thought we’d provide this factsheet and the attached photo(s), explained below.

Our Facebook page is at http://www.facebook.com/rochestercyclingalliance.  it’s the usual Facebook “moshpit”, and a good way to communicate with the community

You can subscribe to our email list by writing to info@rochestercyclingalliance.org This is how our active activists communicate with each other.

Our website is at http://www.rochestercyclingalliance.org.  It includes

  • lots of announcements (including this one)
  • a list of our some of our signal achievements for 2012.  http://goo.gl/Zafd9
  • a paypal link (in case you want to support our activities)
  • a calendar of RCA meetings and events

Among our signal achievements in 2012  was a “bike corral” at the Rochester Greentopia festival which benefitted  hundreds of cyclists who got to park their bikes and learn about the RCA

  • We have another bike corral planned for the Fairport Canal Days festival http://finditinfairport.com/fairport-canal-days.html , and we are seeking volunteers (2 hours to help check bikes in and out).  Email RCA VP Bill Collins,  alameda@frontiernet.net
  • The attached photo(s) are from the Greentopia Bike Corral.  If you participated, you may find a picture of yourself!

Among our signal achievements in 2013, will be the Second Bi-Annual Greater Rochester Active Transportation Summit (GRATS)  on April 30.  Mark your calendars!  The first GRATS was a watershed event, and most of the presentations (but none of the hallway conversation) can be found at at http://www.rochestercyclingalliance.org/?page_id=129.   This year, you, too can help shape the future of Active Transportation in Rochester, and meet  our keynote speaker,  (…get ready…)  US. Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon.  Please keep April 30 free, and share this message with other interested parties.

Finally, please add your voice to the City’s Master Plan Survey!  It will make our job so much easier, and will make your city so much better!  http://www.cityofrochester.gov/centercitysurvey/

Best wishes from the Rochester Cycling Alliance!

Jan 18 13

Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency Hires Active Transportation Specialist

by Richard DeSarra

It is a great pleasure to announce that Elizabeth Murphy has joined our Healthi Kids Team – effective Monday, January 28th. Elizabeth assumes the position of Active Transportation Specialist funded by our community’s H.E.A.R.T. Grant (CDC Community Transformation Grant).

This position focuses on engaging, organizing, and educating the community to achieve public-policy and practice changes that promote active transportation in Monroe County. Ms. Murphy will serve as project manager, focusing on four key areas to best attain systems changes:

1. Increase decision-maker’s awareness of the benefits of active transportation by facilitating educational and informational public workshops, meetings, including an Active Transportation Symposium;
2. Offer technical support and assistance to communities that wish to develop and implement active transportation plans;
3. Give technical support and assistance to schools to develop and implement Safe Routes to School programs and practices; and
4. Provide support to businesses, organizations and municipalities in planning and executing events, to increase community awareness of and support for active transportation.

We are really pleased to have Elizabeth join us – Here’s a little bit more about her:

· Elizabeth is a Rochester native and a graduate of the City School District. Elizabeth completed her undergraduate studies at Bard College with a major in Economics and her Masters in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University.

· Elizabeth started her career in Sacramento, California co-managing a joint project with the California Department of Health Services to conduct “walkability workshops,” with a focus on Safe Routes to School and “Safe Routes to Transit.” Elizabeth organized, trained, and certified California-based “walkability experts” to lead future workshops and build internal capacity on walkability issues statewide.

· For the past five years, Elizabeth worked with US Department of Transportation/Volpe Center, Policy and Planning in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Strategic planning, project management and implementation of the FHWA-FTA’s jointly funded Transportation Planning Capacity Building (TPCB) program were key elements of the position. The TPCB Program provided education, professional development, information dissemination, and exploratory research on issues of primary concern for transportation planning agencies nationwide (state, regional, local, tribal).

· Elizabeth brings a wealth of experience in project management and budget development; peer exchange workshop coordination; research, analysis, and report writing; meeting facilitation; communication and outreach.

Rachel A. Pickering
Associate Director of Community Engagement
Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency
www.flhsa.org