RENewsletter | August 29, 2010


The Free environmental newsletter from

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

[8/22/2010 – 8/29/2010]


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* Found an important Rochester environmental story from a credible source that you think needs attention? Or, an Environmental Event, Please, SEND ME THE LINK. If you think this newsletter, which continually informs our community on our local environmental news, events, actions, is worthwhile, please encourage others to sign up


Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. -- Carl Sagan


Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |



[Hyperlinks work by CTRL + click to follow a link]




Opening Salvo:  “Rochester’s Bicycle Plan, why bother?”


There’s still time (until August 31st) to comment on the Rochester Bicycling Master Plan: “While the plan will provide conceptual design and inventory work with respect to on-street bike lanes, it will also consider shared lane markings (sharrows), bicycle boulevards, bicycle parking, commuter facilities (e.g. showers, lockers), bicycle sharing, and more. ” 


But why bother, especially if you don’t have a bike, wouldn’t bike on our streets even if you did, and wish those who do bicycle would lend an air of predictability to their bicycling behavior?  Before I bury my lead, let me say you should comment because bicycling as an alternative transportation is the transportation mode most likely to be acted upon by those who decide on such things in our region.  I could quote a lot of boring statistics about how bicycling is healthier for you and better for our environment than driving your greenhouse-gas-emitting vehicle.  But this you can probably figure out without a lot of supporting data.  Data and reason are not the problems with changing our transportation behavior, motivation is.


Connecting existing trails, bicycle boulevards, putting up signs to slow down vehicles for pedestrians and bicyclists, bicycle parking, creating bike lanes, and updating traffic lights are factors of magnitude cheaper than high speed rail or hydrogen fuel  infrastructure.  (Though, back in the day, you could hop on a Rochester Subway train and go downtown.)  However, most people today just find it more convenient to get into their cars, even for short distances, and drive their expensive, encapsulated dream machines via millions of tax dollars worth of roads and bridges.  Far more expensive to our environment and your pocketbook than you can imagine.


Yet, it’s what we do because we’re used to it.  Because we think our vehicles identify to the world who we are.  Because we massively external the costs of this behavior, so we’re tricked into thinking it’s much cheaper than it is.  Because there a lot of really neat gadgets to play around with while you drive.  Because it’s quicker.  Because by the miracles of corporate advertising, political inertia, and media neglect we can still do it without having to face the real consequences of our vehicles and their accompanying infrastructure on our environment.  Realistically, we won’t get motivated to change our behavior on transportation until we are forced to (pay the real price for gasoline), have our cake and eat it too (electric cars become really inexpensive), or begin internalizing the fact that our present mode of transportation is unsustainable (because building more cars and roads and bridges only results in the need to build even more cars and roads and bridges: it’s a formula that doesn’t work in the real world).   


Before all that becomes uncomfortably obvious, why not help support the bicycle as a transportation option in Rochester?   If you believe bus rapid transit, light rail, subways, high speed rail, or even monorails are better than getting behind bicycle transportation, you have to ask yourself why would city, county, and transportation officials consider such major changes to our existing structure if the public doesn’t show an interest in even the least expensive and structurally intrusive modes? 


Wouldn’t it be better to demonstrate that the most inexpensive and doable modes have traction and then try for more radical modes of transportation that might make our transportation system sustainable?  Think of it:  Showing an interest in bicycle transportation, even if it isn’t your thing, could help smooth the way for other modes that would take more infrastructural change. 


In any event, it won’t take but a moment of your time to add your thoughts on the Rochester Bicycle Master Plan--City of Rochester | Bicycle Master Plan Comment Form.  Your suggestions might make our existing transportation system more bicycle-friendly, so that those who are willing to bicycle to work and play have the same chance as you to arrive safely—though with a lot fewer gadgets.  (Click on my email for feedback)




NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]





UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]





EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: with (EV event) in the subject line.


September 2010



October 2010



November 2010





ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 





AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]



Frank J. Regan ( or ( ) - Please visit: Where you can get all the environmental news, events, documents, and services on the Internet for Rochester, New York. is the most complete, non-profit environmental site for any one city in the world. You can also subscribe to RochesterEnvironment.Com. Once a month, get's "RENewsletter in your mail" - Or, join in discussion on Rochester environmental matters at Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY -