WXXI AM News

public transportation

We’re talking about road diets. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it refers to reducing lanes or roads in order to minimize traffic accidents, reduce the amount of traffic, and create more space for all modes of transportation. Transit experts say road diets "can be seen as one of the transportation safety field's greatest success stories,” but, despite the research, critics say the best way to reduce traffic is to create more lanes.

The state DOT says it is moving in a direction of road diets in places like Pittsford and Brighton, but bicycling enthusiasts are concerned about what’s going on along East Avenue, where there’s a debate about how wide the turning lane should be. Our guests weigh in with their perspectives. In studio:

  • Heather O'Donnell, Leadership Team for Transportation, Rochester People's Climate Coalition
  • Robin Wilt, member of the Brighton Town Board
  • Dr. Scott MacRae, president of the Rochester Cycling Alliance

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ New York City's subway system handles about 5.7 million riders every weekday, more than 10 times the combined daily ridership of all other public transportation systems in the rest of New York state.

Even though their ridership is nowhere near the Big Apple's, upstate New York's largest public transit face many of the same challenges their big-city counterparts at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority deal with on a regular basis, including aging infrastructure and increased demand for service.

Are urbanists trying to push cars out of American cities? A recent piece in The Urban Phoenix, which was created by a Rochesterian, argues that cars will always be king in this country, but we need to strike a much better balance. The piece was hailed by urbanists and mocked by some who saw it as an attack on the automobile.

So what does a balanced mode of transportation truly look like, and are we close to achieving it? Our guests:

The idea of walkable communities and multi-model lifestyles gets a lot of hype, but are we really getting rid of our cars? Many millennials say they are living without automobiles. We talk to one young woman, Sara Jenks, who says she got rid of her car more than two years ago. She says living without it has informed her view on Rochester as a city, how our community is structured, and how employers view employees who don't have cars. Jenks is our guest for the hour.

If you own a car, think about how easy it is to get in, drive yourself to work, and park near your building each day. It’s something you may take for granted. Yet, for thousands of people living in poverty in the Rochester area, it’s an unattainable goal. 68,000 people in the City of Rochester live below the poverty line, and 26 percent of households in Rochester do not own a car. Those residents often rely on the bus system, spending sometimes more than an hour commuting to their jobs. The inaccessibility of affordable and reliable transportation limits the economic mobility of people living in poverty, further perpetuating the cycle.

Reconnect Rochester is exploring the connection between poverty and transportation, and the group will share its findings at its upcoming Rochester Street Films event on Wednesday. We preview that presentation and discuss possible solutions with our guests:

  • Dr. Leonard Brock, director of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative
  • Maggie Brooks, vice president of strategic initiatives for RTS, and co-chair of the transportation work group for the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative
  • Bill McDonald, program officer for the United Way of Greater Rochester, and co-chair of the transportation work group for the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative
  • Peter Nabozny, early childhood policy director for the Children’s Agenda, and board member at Reconnect Rochester

In a previous program, we discussed how transportation intersects with poverty. This hour, the CEO of RGRTA, Bill Carpenter, joins us to discuss what RTS is doing to serve as many people as possible.

How does transportation intersect with poverty? Peter Nabozny, with the Center for Governmental Research, published a series of articles to find the answer. He explored bus commutes, car ownership, sprawl, and what can be done to improve matters.

We discuss what he found, and what can change to offer more opportunity for those living in poverty in Rochester. Our guests:

  • Peter Nabozny, associate principal for the Center for Governmental Research
  • Brenda Massie, Innovation and Strategic Initiatives for the City of Rochester, and board member and secretary for Reconnect Rochester