James Brown / / WXXI News

All RTS rides will be free starting Friday until further notice. CEO Bill Carpenter said that'll limit the amount of times the fare box is touched during the coronavirus outbreak. 

An RTS employee tested positive for COVID-19 this week, but Carpenter says this decision is unrelated.

Local cyclist Bryan Agnello was hit by a car in early January, and now the driver of that car is suing him for damaging the vehicle. As reported by CITY Newspaper, the driver, Jovonte Cook, struck Agnello from behind and propelled him onto the car's hood. Agnello was taken to the hospital, but did not have serious injuries. Now, Cook is suing Agnello and seeking $700 in damages. He says Agnello was riding his bike on 490 at around 60 miles per hour. According to CITY reporter Jeremy Moule, the top speed recorded at the 2019 Tour de France was 63 miles per hour during a descent in the Alps.

This hour, we discuss Agnello's story, and broader bike culture in Rochester. Our guests discuss the changes they'd like to see when it comes to sharing the road, policy, and more. In studio:

The Community Design Center's (CDC) Reshaping Rochester series continues with a conversation about multi-modal transportation in urban areas.

Shin-pei Tsay is the director of policy, cities, and transportation at Uber. Previously, she was a commissioner of public design in New York City. She'll be in Rochester next week for the CDC's series, but first, she joins us on Connections to discuss how we can reasonably assess public demand for different forms of transportation in cities, what kind of buy-in is necessary to achieve significant change, and how transportation can be a key component in creating a sustainable urban future.

Our guests:

No cash? No problem soon for RTS riders

Jan 16, 2020
CITY File Photo

Regional Transit Service bus riders will soon be able to board buses without cash or passes.

The public transit agency is aiming to launch a cashless, mobile payment system for riders in April. RTS spokesperson Tom Brede told CITY the new option will work through the agency’s app and online accounts linked to a source of funds, such as a bank account, enabling riders to pay their fares as they board by scanning a code displayed on their smartphone screens.

CITY Newspaper editor David Andreatta’s recent op-ed, “New York’s high-speed rail fail,” has reignited the local debate over high-speed rail in the state.

Last week during his State of the State address, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his proposal to develop a strategy to build high-speed rail in New York. The plan will include a panel of outside experts that will re-examine previous designs for the Empire Corridor. Cuomo has argued that high-speed rail service can transform economies.

In his piece, Andreatta asks if the state can support it. He points to academic studies that show mixed results, and a lack of foot traffic at Rochester’s train station, which can’t support a coffee shop or other retail options. But local urbanists are pushing back, saying the issue is more nuanced and the region has the potential to transform mass transit. Our guests debate the future of high-speed rail in New York. In studio:

Jacob Walsh / CITY Newspaper

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP & WXXI News)  New York's governor has vetoed a bill to allow electric scooters and bikes statewide, his office said Thursday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's veto message said the bill overwhelmingly passed by lawmakers this year didn't include enough safety measures, such as a helmet requirement.

"Failure to include these basic measures renders this legislation fatally flawed," he said.

Lawmakers may try to pass a bill with more safety measures next year. Cuomo said electric bikes and scooters must be regulated to protect public safety and said he looks forward to working with lawmakers on the issue in 2020.

Does urbanism die in the winter? After the first major snowstorm of the season, a social media thread about a man who walked through the middle of the street went viral. Some community members said the man was trying to make a point about the sidewalks not being plowed. The thread lead to conversations about urbanism in the cold months.

We sit down with local urbanists who discuss how to develop urban areas that remain multi-modal year round. Our guests:

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.

Rochester has a bike lane problem. That’s according to research and reporting done by WXXI’s health reporter, Brett Dahlberg. He spent eight weeks recording video and studying issues related to Rochester’s more than 60 miles of bike lanes. He found the lanes are often filled with parked cars and there’s little cyclists can do about it.

What does this mean for a city working to expand travel to and from work by bike? Dahlberg joins us to discuss his reporting, along with the health benefits of commuting by bike or on foot. This conversation comes in advance of an upcoming summit on active transportation hosted by Common Ground Health. Our guests:

First, there was a Streetcar Named Desire; now there is a question about whether Rochester has a desire for a streetcar. A new film called “The Trolley” is coming to the Little Theatre as part of Reconnect Rochester’s Rochester Street Films series. It tells the story of trolleys as shapers of our urban environments; it describes their disappearance; and finally, it calls for their return to prominence in the American future.

But is that realistic? What impact would that have? Our guests are ready to talk about how we get around:

  • Howard Decker, author, architect, urbanist, and member of Reconnect Rochester's Advisory Council
  • Carlos Mercado, rail advocate and member of Reconnect Rochester's Advisory Council
  • Stephen Low, filmmaker for "The Trolley"

The suburbs are often left out of conversations about modernizing transportation systems and environmental goals. But as City Lab recently pointed out, more than half of all Americans live in suburbs, and the burbs are here to stay.

So what are the options for making suburbs more suitable to multimodal options and green goals? Our guests debate it. In studio: