Advocates, Agency Staff, Local Electeds, U.S. Senator Agree: Bikeability Counts in Rochester
Rochester, New York was the location for Advocacy Advance’s first Action 2020 Workshop since the new transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) went into effect. Forty participants collaborated on ways to maximize active transportation dollars available to the region.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Rochester Cycling Alliance, City of Rochester, and Genesee Transportation Council (Rochester's Metropolitan Planning Organization) hosted the workshop. The Senator’s support for maximizing federal bicycle and pedestrian funding in New York State was echoed by Rochester mayor Thomas Richards, who stressed the need for livability improvements to revitalize the rustbelt city in its post-Kodak era.
“The most useful part of this workshop was understanding the way funding has changed, what is expected (of applications), who to talk with and what can be funded,” said Rudolph Harris from Conkey Cruisers, a grassroots organization working to utilize bicycling to get neighbors moving towards a more active healthy lifestyle.
Two exciting announcements were made at the workshop that recognize and bolster Rochester’s active transportation efforts. The League of American Bicyclists presented Mayor Richards with a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community award – the only city other than New York City to receive a BFC designation in the state. Additionally, the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency announced the much-anticipated Transportation Specialist position, funded by the Center for Disease Control. Monroe County’s partnership with the CDC and commitment to professionally promote active transportation is a model for communities and states around the country.
“This workshop - and seeing the support for active transportation - re-energizes me,” said Steve Beauvais from the New York State Department of Transportation. “It was the discussion we wanted and needed to have” added Rich Perrin, Executive Director of the Genesee Transportation Council.
After collaboratively developing local priorities, participants left with a plan to organize local decision makers throughout the state to ask Governor Andrew Cuomo to spend federal transportation funds on bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Advocacy Advance workshops are designed to provide the knowledge, skills and resources to access untapped or under-utilized federal funding sources at the state, regional and local level to build bicycling and walking infrastructure and programs. With a focus on navigating the new federal transportation bill, MAP-21, workshop participants learn how to maximize funding in the new Transportation Alternatives program and utilize all MAP-21 funding programs for bicycle and pedestrian projects at the state and local levels.
Contact the Advocacy Advance team for information on applying for or attending a workshop in your community.