FAQ - Hot Issues

PROJECT GRANT 
Planner Claim:    The  grant funding will be jeopardized by a narrower trail.
Coalition Position: These grants are never threatened by good faith consideration of alternatives.  Yet the planners have refused to develop other reasonable alternatives, specifically a 3' width alternative for RRMSEA, or  a "leave as is" option for that area. Neither of these alternatives have been considered in good faith.  The Coalition has offered a 3' compromise for over two years, and still offers to assist the Town in preparing the justification for the "design exception."
  • Funding is not threatened by the consideration of alternatives.
  • As of October 2009 the planners are recommending a 10' wide bicycle expressway paved with crushed stone  - and the total obliteration of the linear meadow habitat.  Even the 6' width,  a design exception which they gave lip service to for for two years, has been shelved. 
  • When exceptions from standard 'guidance' are made in transportation projects, there must be sufficient justification.  In RRMSEA, there is ample justification by virtue of the sensitive  environment, desires of current trail users, and the public input.
Read In Depth Discussion

SAFETY
Planner Claim:
   The trail must be wide enough for 2 bicycles (or other mixed users) to safely pass side by side.
Coalition Position: Safety is a Non-Issue. The existing Trail is safe now.
  • The existing Trail in RRMSEA area (a narrow 1' wide footpath with wide, vegetated shoulders) is safe.
    • It is essentially a straight path with excellent sight distance and wide shoulders.
    • The Draft Report acknowledges no safety incidents
    • Speeds are slow and users pass each other easily on the grassy shoulders of the existing footpath.
    • Current and projected use is low.  The Town acknowledges this in its Draft Design Report.
  • The Town has developed Dryer Road Park, a shared use facility for bicycles and pedestrians. 
    • Some trails are 'black-diamond' -  narrow, steep, and with limited sight distance. 
    • These are shared-use trails deemed to be safe.
  • The trail through RRMSEA is wider, and has significantly better sight distance, than most park trails. 
The Town of Victor claims it is unsafe for bicyclists and walkers to use the existing footpath, yet such encounters occur daily, and occur safely. The above photo (June 2009) of a Rochester Butterfly Club field trip with more than 20 participants, shows a typical encounter between pedestrians and bicyclists.  As is evident in the photo, these different uses, and users, coexist without problem on the existing trail;  there is NO SAFETY ISSUE on the existing trail, nor would there be on a 3' compromise, as the Coalition is advocating. 

The Town Planners, unfortunately, continue to use the bogus claim of safety to justify the need for a wider trail.  The Coalition believes in an inclusive solution that will work for all users.  However if the wide stonedust trail is created, the grassy verge, or linear meadow, habitat will be destroyed, and replaced by stonedust.  If that occurs, the Rochester Butterfly Club has stated that it will no longer have reason to visit RRMSEA, which has been recognized as one of the region's butterfly hotspots, and has been a regular field trip site.   If the proposed width expansion occurs,   the Trail will become another generic stonedust bike path.  Existing users will be eliminated.  The trail will become EXCLUSIVE instead of INCLUSIVE.


CONNECTIVITY
Planner Claim:
   The Trail will "connect" to part of a larger, regional trail network. 
Coalition Position: The existing Trail already connects and will at any width, however...
  • The completed project will not connect at the north end, but will end at Powder Mills Park.
    • Bicyclists are not permitted on park trails.
  • The future continuation northward of the trail to Pittsford will entail crossing Rt. 96 and the Barge Canal.
    • These are major logistical and financial hurdles: there are no specific plans for doing this.
    • The Town of Pittsford has stated it does not have funding for such a project, nor has any been identified.
    • Such continuation of the trail is unlikely in foreseeable future.
    • Is this a Trail to Nowhere?
When the planners and others claim the trail is important for “commuting” and “connectivity”, they are using "buzzwords" for the purpose of meeting the criteria of a “transportation grant”, rather than any objective reality.


EXCLUSIVITY
Claim: The Coalition and those in favor of a narrow trail are being exclusive, even selfish, and wish to keep others from using the trail.

Note: We originally believed this claim was outlandish enough to not warrant rebuttal. Many of these assertions have come from members and directors of Genesee Regional Offroad Cyclists (GROC). However, as this erroneous assertion continues to be stated in public meetings, in the media, in widely circulated emails, and in flyers posted around the community, we must respond.

Coalition Position: The trail is currently used by a variety of users, including bicyclists. Our proposal for a narrow trail is inclusive, and continues to welcome these users.
  • The Coalition views the trail as an asset to he Town as a special environmental area, suitable to many uses, including environmental education. We have proposed a narrower trail in the 3000’ environmentally sensitive area (a small part of the 2 1/2 mile trail). Our proposal will protect the special environment, that attracts most trail users to RRMSEA. The trail will remain open to all the current users, including bicyclists. 
  • The actual trail users and supporters, in addition to the Coalition member groups, are nature lovers, neighbors, bicyclists, joggers, dog walkers, and others. [See Trail Users.] These supporters of a narrow trail greatly outnumber (over 10 to 1) the special interest group GROC, that is normally a supporter of narrow single-track trails.  We have analyzed all the public comments through FOIL (Freedom of Information Law).  The members of this special interest mountain biking club are the main advocates of a wide trail.
The trail should reflect community desires, not those of a special interest group.

OTHER PROJECT OBJECTIVES
Planner Claim:  
 The project should support additional objectives of: alternate transportation, health and wellness, multi-use and inclusion.
Coalition Position: Special consideration for the RRMSEA area does not negate any of these objectives.

The Project Planners can, and should, give special consideration to the unique and sensitive environment in RRMSEA. Planners have a responsibility to recognize the current users, and their public comments in support of minimal width. There are plenty of wide bike paths throughout the area.  In the short, 3000’ sensitive environmental area of RRMSEA, an area highly valued by many users, this shared-use path should be considered differently. 

Protecting RRMSEA and highlighting this special natural area would be a great thing for Victor.  Victor’s trail system could have a unique component unlike any other regional multi-use trail. It is forward thinking, and a worthy green initiative. Such creative planning is in the best interests of the environment,  current and future trail users, and the Town.


Subpages (1): Project Grant