Monday, November 22, 2010

Does Rochester Really Want You Here?

It seems as though this year has brought about a handful of changes that I don’t believe are helping the concept of getting people downtown or within the city limits.

Earlier this year we learned we were going to get Red Light cameras to "increase safety."   I have not heard a thing that indicates that safety has been assisted in any way, but I have seen headlines indicating the City is making a lot of cash from them.

Second, we heard that the Mortimer Street bus garage was going into an area that not seven years earlier we designated as retail/residential.   People have poured millions of dollars into that area to find out that they have a new neighbor, a bus barn.   This was done in the name of getting the buses off of Main Street, which I agree is needed to start the rebuilding of our city center.

Then we learned that we need to overhaul our “intermodal station” which is not really intermodal with the absence of the RTS bus center.   It would make tons of sense to have all public transportation located in one single center within the city.   Much like just about every other major city is trying to do across the world.

Then today we learn in the news that we have a new way to pay for public parking on the street.   Sounds very handy as you can now use a credit card and take the ticket with you to another location if there is still time remaining.   AWESOME!

What is the catch, you ask?   And you were right, there is a catch.   The cost more than doubled! From $.60 per hour to $1.25 per hour.

What is the message here, City Government?

I can tell you what I am trying to defend to my coworkers who live in Fairport.   They look at me like I am crazy for sticking around the city and I keep telling them it is the best place to live in Monroe County.   You are making my arguments very difficult to defend.   Whatever track you are heading down, please stop.   You are driving people out of the city and making it difficult to attract new folks to come in and enjoy it.


Harry Davis said...

I have decided to run for Mayor of Rochester. I have brought Roger Lee to Rochester to be our campaign manager.

I am concerned about the future of development in downtown Rochester. I think we should organize against the Mortimer Street bus barn and advocate for TRUE inter-modal transportation in Rochester.

As someone who is a staunch and, perhaps, the most vocal opponent against the so-called Mortimer bus garage or the RGRTA transit bus terminal, I am against having two “transit hubs” in Rochester. I believe this is not only a contradiction in itself but it is a total waste of our money!

ROC City Council Approves TIGER Grant of $2,459,450 to fund ROC Inter-Modal Trans Center

I believe now is the time when we should not just talk about our opposition but we must show support for inter-modal transportation. We should put those words into action. John Robert Smith, CEO of Reconnecting America put into words what we in Rochester should seriously consider:

John Robert Smith on transit-oriented development (TOD) in Rochester

That is why we should start an organizing campaign to gauge support for inter-modal transportation and the opposition to Mortimer bus garage. This organizing campaign will be crucial for a myriad of reasons.

(1) A people-powered campaign can drive opposition and, in turn, garner support for intermodal transportation.

(2) It's not enough just to deny the city Mortimer bus garage. We need to promote sustainable transportation and that is where inter-modal comes in. I am a strong supporter of high-speed rail and this is one piece of the inter-modal equation. Inter-modal would include other elements, including light rail and accessibility for bicycles, to promote a greener, more environmentally friendly way to get to Rochester and, from the transit hub, around Rochester.

(3) To expand on point one, people matter. This group -- this campaign -- will have many parts. A key piece will be online. Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world. What we build online can be a way to organize for rallies and other events (i.e. news conferences) to draw people in support of our cause.

The reason for this campaign is to make this, again, about the people. As much as I oppose Mortimer and support inter-modal, I cannot do this alone. I need help. And building a campaign will give me, and others like me, the support we need to prevent Mortimer bus garage from coming to fruition.

After we form this campaign, we need to set our goals and objectives. Obviously, we have a general vision: To halt Mortimer and bring ONE inter-modal transportation center to Rochester. But we need to set our specific goals for how we are going to stop the Mortimer bus garage. It will take an organized effort and a strategic effort. Without that, we won't have success.

From there, the campaign must focus on how we will bring an inter-modal transportation center to Rochester. Just as we are opponents to the plan put forth by the city to build a bus garage, we will have our opponents. This is where an organized front is key. Our efforts in public and online (i.e. Facebook) will be key. Again, we must set our goals for this effort.

I believe strongly in these efforts, but I need help. We must organize our community. We must organize online. I can't do without your help. This isn't about one individual or me. This is about our community. This is about our future.

Let's come together for the future of Rochester. Let's stop the Mortimer bus garage in its tracks and let's advocate for true inter-modal transportation in this great city.

~Harry Davis

Anonymous said...

There are fundamental problems associated with any economic growth driven by the private sector and associated tax revenue. There are basically six uncontrollable (exogenous)factors that serve as barriers to entry for any would be business wanting to locate within any area, espeically the city of Rochester. Uncontrollable factors include: availabilty of qualified personnel, access to suppliers, availability of a viable locations, capital requirements, government policies, and of course reaction by competitors.

To some extent the city can influence government policy. But for the large part in terms of whats happening in Rochester, the city has very little to offer in overcoming such uncontrollable factors that are effectively barriers to expansion and or entry of any new business. So we are stuck with the reporting of the minutia of city government adminsitration, because thats all that is left to talk about for at least the next decade. Although millions of dollars sounds like a signficant amout, it pale in comparison to the hundreds of millions of dollars required from the private sector to enable the vitality that Rochester once claimed.

"Howling Mad" Murdock