Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Reconnect Rochester, Rochester Cycling Alliance join forces

Reconnect Rochester and Rochester Cycling Alliance this week said they would merge operations. Both groups work to promote transportation alternatives in Monroe County.

“People tend to attach themselves to their vehicle of choice, but it’s not about bike people versus bus people versus 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. Transportation planning is about moving people, not vehicles.”

Reconnect Rochester was founded in 2009 by a group of individuals who saw a need to create a more multi-modal and robust transportation network that prioritizes people, regardless of their mode of transportation. Over the last decade, the organization has engaged the community and local leaders to create more robust public transportation, more complete streets and safer transportation alternatives.

The Rochester Cycling Alliance (RCA) began in the summer of 2008 with the goal of uniting local bicycling advocates, enthusiasts and organizations to provide a public voice for all cyclists. RCA has promoted the use of bicycles as transportation, sport, recreation and health. The organization advocates for improved cycling infrastructure, education, programs and legislation.

“Under the leadership of the 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, introducing bike share to our community 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 of RCA. “It was Richard DeSarra and others who envisioned combining forces of the two organizations synergistically.”

Reconnect Rochester, a nonprofit, added Jesse Peers as cycling coordinator this summer. He joined the organization’s Director of Planning & Development Mary Staropoli as its second official employee.

Bill Collins, Brendan Ryan and Susan Levin joined Reconnect Rochester’s board of directors as representatives of the RCA, whose membership will continue their bike advocacy efforts as a work group of the larger organization. Reconnect Rochester’s other active work groups will continue to concentrate on furthering bus system innovation, rail transit and pedestrian safety, officials said.

Governale has stepped into a new role on Reconnect Rochester’s board of advisers. In January this year, Renée Stetzer was named president and Pete Nabozny moved into the role of vice president. The board added Michael Damico as its new pedestrian workgroup chair. He joined longtime board members Brenda Massie, Jason Partyka, DeWain Feller, Dan Speciale, John Lam and Daniel Cordova.

The combined organization is planning a celebration on Dec. 12 at Fifth Frame Brewery Co.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer