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Saving the planet

I wonder if this tumultuous winter has triggered for others the same dread that I feel when I think about my son's future in the era of climate change. We all know the facts – consistently record-breaking global temperatures, increase in extreme weather, etc. – and yet recycling and car sharing don't seem to be enough.

It turns out, however, that there is a simple yet extremely effective measure we can take collectively to mitigate the impact of climate change. As a customer of RG&E, you can change the source of your electricity (but keep your contract with RG&E) to a 100 percent renewables supplier. Mothers Out Front recommends Clean Choice Energy, though there are others to choose from.

We know that if we can reach a tipping point of just 3.5 percent of the population changing their energy supply, we can drive a movement toward the adoption of renewable energy sources statewide. For our children, please consider being one of the pioneers.


Residents don't want cyclists' parks plan

Regarding Jeremy Moule's article "Cyclists Want to Connect Parks": Greater Rochester Off Road Cyclists began building a network of trails to connect Tryon Park and Irondequoit West Bay Park last year. Access to these trails is behind a home on Club Drive and within 10 feet of another homeowner's driveway.

Last summer, 30 homeowners in this small neighborhood of five streets signed a petition opposing the expansion network. Subsequently, county parks director Larry Staub suspended GROC trail construction.

Irondequoit West Bay Park has two parking areas for trail users: north and south, both located in isolated areas away from residential neighborhoods. Tryon Park has a south access parking lot, also far from residences.

GROC's proposal is to create the north access point in back of homes on a narrow strip of land that also borders Irondequoit Creek wetlands. The plan is to direct trail users through a residential neighborhood.

There are no provisions in GROC plan for parking. This means trail users park on narrow, one-lane residential roads and lawns as they've done in the past. GROC members say they will "discourage" users from parking here, but in reality, they have no control over users' access or parking.

Trails are as close as 25 feet from property lines and within sight of residences.

The Parks Advisory Committee, which advises the county parks director, includes several GROC members.


The future of Parcel 5

On a reader's letter supporting Visionary Square, a multi-use open-space proposal for Parcel 5 in downtown Rochester: While Ms. Lupien's proposal for a Rochester version of Buffalo's Larkin Square certainly sounds good, I'd have to point out that Rochester's track record for such projects isn't too hot. If we're honest, we have to admit that the claims made for the pre-ordained success of Visionary Square sound a lot like the hype used by Bob Duffy to promote his scheme to tear up the Broad Street Bridge, re-water the Erie Canal aqueduct, add on a park, and sit back and watch the crowds flock in. (And by the way, whatever happened to Renaissance Square?)

And I suspect that following the ferry fiasco and the on-going debacle of the port redevelopment, the residents of Charlotte might have a tale to tell about misplaced optimism for the success of future city-lead projects.

As my grandpappy used to say, the trick is knowing when someone's a visionary, and when they're just seeing things.


Part of the problem with past projects was always a "If you build it, they will come" philosophy. Visionary Square addresses this by requiring active programming of the space with events and vendors. We've seen an actively programmed park take off in Buffalo with Larkin Square and Canalside. We even see glimpses of it at the Public Market with the Food Truck Rodeo and other non-market events.

If we build it, and work to give people a reason to come, they will. The ferry and Renaissance Square failed in part because they were a means with no end. This is a much better planned project.


We shouldn't stop dreaming and creating and trying for our city simply because other projects have been disappointing. The fast ferry was not a project that was accessible to all income levels. This is about creating a space that is unifying and raises quality of life for everybody.


The power of Trump's drama

I believe there is another factor in Trump's victory that Mary Anna Towler misses ("Lessons from Democrats from 'Hillbilly Elegy'"). Trump found a way to communicate more directly, using the media and the force of his personality. He became a cartoon character that clicked.

By contrast, Obama and Hillary were verbal and intellectually aloof. They talked and talked, and many voters walked away from them. "No Drama Obama" gave nice speeches, but it was hard to grasp his messages in emotional terms, and it was hard to remember what he said.

We may not like Trump, but when he speaks, when he lies, when he tweets, people pay attention. And I fear that he may succeed with his tweets and his lies.

I hope we can all learn to become better communicators, with drama, the internet, humor, etc. And I hope that Towler and City News will learn how to reach readers with more thoughtful and more dynamic uses of the media.