Reconnect Rochester and Rochester Cycling Alliance, two groups working to promote transportation alternatives in Monroe County, recently combined operations.
Reconnect Rochester was founded in 2009 to engage the community and local leadership in creating more robust public transportation, complete streets and safer transportation alternatives.
“People tend to attach themselves to their vehicle of choice, but it’s not about bike people vs. bus people vs. car people,” said Mike Governale, founder of Reconnect Rochester. “Our hope is that by bringing the groups together, we can begin to break down ‘mode silos’ and encourage the community to view transportation options as an interconnected system.”
RCA started in 2008 with the goal of uniting bicycling advocates, enthusiasts and organizations to provide a public voice for cyclists. It promotes the use of bicycles as transportation, sport, recreation and health, and advocates for improved cycling infrastructure, education, programs and legislation.
“Under the leadership of late RCA co-founder and past President Richard DeSarra, the RCA has been instrumental in helping create bicycle/pedestrian master plans in the city of Rochester and the multiple surrounding municipalities, and expanding bike lanes and infrastructure to keep moving us toward the goal of being a top-tier bike-friendly community,” said Scott MacRae, immediate past president. “It was Richard DeSarra and others who envisioned combining forces of the two organizations synergistically.”
Reconnect Rochester will be the umbrella organization. The new organization welcomed Jesse Peers as cycling coordinator this summer, joining Mary Staropoli, director of planning and development.
“We’re better together,” Peers said. “The youthful energy and creativity within Reconnect’s organization, and the decades of experience in advocacy work that RCA members bring to the fore, is the perfect combination.”
Bill Collins, Susan Levin and Brendan Ryan joined Reconnect’s board of directors as RCA representatives. Work groups will concentrate on furthering bus system innovation, rail transit and pedestrian safety.
“It takes a village to bring about change in our transportation network,” said Renee Stetzer, board president. “Our collaboration will give our collective multimodal efforts a huge boost as we share resources, infrastructure, ideas and energy.”
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