It’s Easy Seeing Green

Yesterday, I saw some images on Twitter showing the start of protected bike lanes on one of our city’s major thoroughfares, Broad Street.  Excited to see for myself, I hopped on my bike and headed for downtown.

And there it was, a glorious strip of “Kermit-Green,” probably visible from space, separated from traffic by white, reflective barriers.  In fact, the crew was still there, painting the green carpet of asphalt.img_6100img_6098img_6104img_6103After flying across the Broad Street bridge a few times in the newly-painted cycle paths, I biked a short distance to the corner of Howell Street and Monroe near the famed Strong Museum of Play.  From there I started on another glorious new piece of cycling infrastructure, a dedicated bike path that follows Howell and Union Streets in the area adjacent to the Inner Loop East infill project.img_6072img_6084img_6082img_6077img_6081  This former sunken highway, now raised to street level, will soon play host to new development and literally welcome a new dimension to the city that simply didn’t exist a few years ago.

The bike path through this area not only connects several major streets (Monroe, East and Main) but it does so by giving cyclists and pedestrians a safe, easy and enjoyable experience.

Finally, I rode over to Main Street to see the progress on the downtown “road diet,” or the shrinking of the street from 4 lanes to 2.  Much to my surprise, the bike lanes had just been painted.img_6108Where I feared biking on this strip of road for years, I suddenly felt like I had the space to safely ride with traffic.  While not protected with barriers, I could feel that the traffic was slower moving around me (due to the lane diet) and it was somewhat comforting knowing I had dedicated space in which to ride.  The feel was completely different and tremendously satisfying.

The most important thing?  In one day, I change my perspective on the direction our city is taking.  These pedestrian and cycling amenities suddenly open the city up to a wealth of ways to move about it, and I could not be happier.  I posted pictures on Twitter and Facebook, which received a collective roar from Rochester residents who were excited to see the progress that will bring a new level of connectivity, livability and vibrancy to our downtown.  Furthermore, many studies show that these amenities spur local business culture and lead to a better overall perception of a city.

Bravo Rochester, this is a sustainable, incremental addition that will lead our city into a new generation of progress.