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Dear RocSubway Friend,

You may know me personally or maybe you’ve just followed my writings on local history, infrastructure and development. My name is Mike Governale. I’m 34 years old, a web designer/blogger, and a dad. Through my writings and research, and by sharing ideas with my readers, I’ve learned a few things about our region and why it looks the way it does today.

The image in the background is an aerial photo of your city, downtown Rochester. Believe it or not, this vast expanse of asphalt is the economic and cultural hub of your 9-county neighborhood. And the view looks very similar all across our region. From Greece and Henrietta to Pittsford and Webster we've got an over abundance of asphalt where there could be walkable urban neighborhoods, shops, restaurants or greenspace. We continue to borrow against the equity of our children’s future to finance this inefficient, ugly, and ridiculously expensive infrastructure — car storage.

In 2010 my family spent $9082.97 on our two cars. $2500 on gas alone. Now consider that almost every dollar we burn on gasoline leaves the local economy. Over $1.5 MILLION each day — Vanished. The price America has paid, and the price our kids will pay to maintain this lifestyle is immeasurable.

Simply by making smarter transportation choices we can all save significant money, turn parking lots into usable land, and grow a more sustainable regional economy.

I’m writing to ask you to join me in doing something about this. I have personally worked out an arrangement with our Regional Transit Service to allow you to ride our transit system for FREE on Thursday October 20 — simply show the driver this pin (shown left). We're calling it Critical Mass Transit Day – by using public transit you will be casting a symbolic vote for the future of public transit in Rochester and smarter regional planning policies.

I know, this is a crazy idea — one that hasn’t been tried anywhere else as far as I know. For it to work I need you to take at least one bus ride (any local bus, anywhere) on October 20 using this pin. Our Transit Authority will be watching closely and your participation WILL be counted.

If you use a car for most of your travel as I do, PLEASE do not pass up this opportunity to take public transit for a test drive. The more we all use the transit system we have, the easier it will be to improve upon it, and Rochester.

Remember, kids under 5 are always free! Try Google Transit to plan your trip. Reply to this email and I will send you a pin, or you can pick one up at local farmer’s markets this week.

I hope you will join me and Reconnect Rochester in this unique experiment on 10/20. Sincerely,
Mike Governale