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Transportation plan seeks to make Rochester safer for pedestrians and cyclists

A cyclist on a city street.
File photo
A cyclist on a city street.

A new city plan identifies more than 180 projects aimed at improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as accessibility for people using mobility aids such as wheelchairs.

The city’s first Active Transportation Plan is meant to help staff and elected leaders incorporate walking, biking, and accessibility considerations into decision-making and planning for infrastructure investments.

Roughly one quarter of Rochester’s households do not own cars, according to the plan. The city’s Department of Environmental Services Commissioner, Rich Perrin, said the transportation plan’s objectives are rooted in equity. Most roads were designed to prioritize motor vehicles.

“Somebody who just cannot afford one and has no other way of being able to travel around, again, has to expect that they have as much of a right as anybody else to get from where they are to where they want to be without undue risk to life.”

Between 2017 and 2021, 26 pedestrians were hit by cars and killed, while 172 were seriously injured, according to the report.

The plan identifies key intersections and street segments for pedestrian safety improvements. It also calls for a few dozen miles of new bike infrastructure, with an emphasis on developing comfortable networks that are direct, predictable, and connect cyclists with places they want to go.

Reconnect Rochester’s Cycling Manager Jesse Peers said he’s happy to see the emphasis on complete cycling routes. He added that the plan’s recommendations for the city to build north-south and east-west spine networks for cyclists are especially important. It suggests a handful of potential routes.

"We’re optimistic,” Peers said. “The city will definitely have to build political will and it'll have to harden its resolve to get this thing done. But we like what this plan is aiming at, in terms of bikeability.”

Jeremy Moule is a deputy editor with WXXI News. He also covers Monroe County.