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Brighton wants to connect bike trails for students at 3 campuses

Bike handlebars against a forest background
File photo
Ruslan Ivantsov - Fotolia

Three of the Rochester area’s major colleges sit near biking and hiking trails in Brighton, but poorly marked — or nonexistent — connections make getting there a daunting task.

But Brighton is developing a plan that town officials hope changes that.

When finished, it will serve as a blueprint for an off-road, accessible multi-use trail system between the University of Rochester, Monroe Community College, and RIT campuses, said Tom Robinson, project manager for the town’s consultant, Colliers Engineering & Design.

“What we hope and expect is that it will deepen the connections between the schools and our communities and make it easier to get back and forth amongst them,” Brighton Supervisor Bill Moehle said.

That’s the technical vision, anyway. The plan will be based around the Rochester Multiversity concept that active transportation advocate and former Rochester Institute of Technology professor Jon Schull introduced more than a decade ago.

Schull said that making it easier for energetic students to bike between campuses and to downtown destinations like the future state park in High Falls will pay dividends for the region.

“It's going to connect everything and it's going to create a youth culture that will stay here and develop a really vibrant city that could become a leader in active transportation, but also ecosystem restoration, climate mitigation, and creative urban redesign,” Schull said.

The network’s backbone is largely in place between town trails and major paths such as the Erie Canal and Lehigh Valley trails, Robinson said. The plan will look to identify gaps in the trail network, trail segments that need repairs or enhancements, opportunities for direct connections to campuses, and inadequate signage. For example, there is not a well-identified crossing where the Lehigh Valley Trail intersects East River Road.

“Really the vision is that people can move between the three schools freely, and not have to interact with roadways and automobiles as pedestrians or bicyclists,” Robinson said.

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