Rochester Residents, Left Out of Transpo Bill Hearing, Create Their Own

As we’ve been reporting on Streetsblog Capitol Hill, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has been touring the country gathering suggestions about the reauthorization of the six-year transportation bill. And as we’ve reported, congressional representatives are hearing a lot from state transportation officials, who tend to be decidedly highway-centric.

When Rochester area residents learned they wouldn't be able to address congressional leaders at a local hearing about the next national transportation bill, they organized their own forum. Photo: ##http://blog.tstc.org/2011/02/23/the-public-speaks-at-federal-transportation-town-hall-in-rochester/## Tri-State Transportation Campaign##

So kudos go out to the folks in Rochester, NY for taking matters into their own hands. After local transportation groups learned that only a few select people would be invited to share their concerns with representatives, they organized a separate town-hall meeting where anyone’s ideas were accepted. The event turned out to be all the more necessary, since the Rochester field hearing had to be postponed because of a scheduled vote in Congress.

Ya-Ting Liu at Mobilizing the Region has this account from the event:

Over 30 people from the Rochester area attended, including bus riders, cyclists, and representatives of community-based organizations, transportation advocacy groups, unions, and advocates for the aging and disabled.

Among the challenges identified by Rochester residents on Thursday were a lack of affordable transportation options, insufficient access to safe bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, poor planning by the Rochester Genessee Regional Transit Authority, not enough public participation and accountability in the transportation planning process, and a lack of responsiveness from local politicians and transportation agency heads.

Addressing congressional leaders, Liu made these comments:

We are the end users of transportation bills, plans and projects. We have to live with the consequences of decisions made about the built environment, often without much public input.  We hope Chairman Mica and NY members of Congress will consider the experience of community groups and users of the transportation system as they deliberate the next federal transportation bill.

Let’s hope that message reaches its target.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Bike Portland calculates the total cost savings to the region from the recent decline in traffic injuries and fatalities. The Dirt relays a message from Jaime Lerner, the mayor of Curitiba, Brazil famous for developing the world’s first bus rapid transit system, who says that cities are the solution to climate change. And The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia reports that Philly was one of 10 “Smart Cities” honored by the NRDC for progressive transportation planning.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Rochester Residents, Left Out of Transpo Bill Hearing, Create Their Own

|
As we’ve been reporting on Streetsblog Capitol Hill, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has been touring the country gathering suggestions about the reauthorization of the six-year transportation bill. And as we’ve reported, congressional representatives are hearing a lot from state transportation officials, who tend to be decidedly highway-centric. So kudos go out to the […]

The Long, Ugly Road to a Federal Transportation Plan

|
You’ve likely been hearing a lot, on this blog and others, about the coming expiration of the federal transportation bill. Come September 30, Congress has to have a plan in hand to fund the nation’s trains, buses, bikes, bridges and roads — or pass an extension of the 2005 federal bill, locking in the same […]

What Washington Can Do For — And Alongside — Metro Area Planners

|
At one point midway through yesterday’s Brookings Institution forum on metropolitan planning, moderator Chris Leinberger quipped that Portland was deliberately not represented. It’s not that Portland isn’t a model of sustainability, he explained, but that "we all have Portland fatigue" — that urban policy thinkers are eager to expand the models of local development beyond […]

Mica Transpo Bill Shrinks Spending 33%, Eliminates Bike-Ped Guarantee

|
House Transportation Committee Chair John Mica’s proposed transportation reauthorization bill includes $230 billion over six years, a reduction of 33 percent compared to spending levels in the last multi-year bill. The proposal, which he unveiled at a standing-room-only press event in the committee hearing room today, eliminates any federal guarantee (he calls it a “set-aside”) for […]

Highways Take Center Stage at Columbus Transpo Field Hearing

|
Make federal transportation dollars more flexible. Tie infrastructure investment to economic development. Streamline the construction process. Those were the suggestions of a panel of Ohio officials at a Congressional Field Hearing on Transportation held Saturday in Columbus. In a conversation that focused heavily on roads and highways, Ohio leaders implored the federal government to reduce […]