Thriving Communities Toolkit

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Through many years of research and experience, the Genesee Transportation Council has gained considerable knowledge about how transportation improvements can be used to strengthen a community's residential livability, business climate, aesthetic appeal, environmental sustainability, and social inclusiveness.

Thoughtfully planned and designed transportation-related facilities and techniques (e.g., sidewalks and trails, traffic calming and parking management, streetscaping and landscaping, mixed-use and cluster development, etc.) can help create economic and social vibrancy, added levels of public safety and personal security, desirable connections between origins and destinations, protections for scenic and working landscapes, dependable alternatives for when we cannot or prefer not to drive, and lower public service costs - all essential qualities of thriving communities.

How the Toolkit Can Help

This toolkit offers information and tips for enhancing economic vitality and quality of life, as well as detailed examples of how other communities in our region are addressing challenges similar to those facing your community. It is designed so you can pick and choose the methods that appear best-suited to your context and your situation - because you are the expert in your community.

How the Toolkit is Organized

The toolkit will guide you through a process that allows the desires of community stakeholders to direct the creation and implementation of solutions. The process is loosely-structured (feel free to jump in or out at any point according to your needs) and consists of four parts:

Gauge Where You Stand - Presents a mechanism for evaluating local laws, policies, and practices, with an emphasis on what works and what should be avoided.

Stay Informed - Provides overviews of typical community planning issues such as creating walkable communities and providing safe routes to school. A series of Fact Sheets and other resources summarize key topics and can be used to catalyze community discussions.

Dont Overlook the Small Things - Tips for implementing relatively small, inexpensive actions that accumulate to noticeable change over a short period of time.

See What Other Communities are Doing - Illustrates how other communities in our region are preparing for change and prosperity.

Gauge Where You Stand

Community reviews of local land use codes are being undertaken by an increasing number of cities, towns, villages, and neighborhoods across the country. This review, in the form of a checklist or audit, was put together by the Genesee Transportation Council specifically for communities in our region. It is intended to help communities recognize that their zoning and subdivision regulations are an important key to long-term quality of life and economic growth.

The audit examines concerns that many communities in our region share, such as safety and connectivity, providing alternatives to the car, parking, housing choice, and community character. The audit provides an easy-to-understand assessment of municipal regulations in these areas. It can help stakeholders identify regulatory gaps that may be a barrier to attaining community desires. The audit can become the basis for discussing community goals and potential implementation strategies.

How well do your community's development regulations foster prosperity, livability, sustainability, and mobility for all?

Stay Informed

This part of the toolkit contains information on key transportation and land use issues facing our region. Transportation and land use are closely linked. Transportation investments influence development patterns, and development patterns determine where, when, how, and how far we travel. Transportation facilities such as streets, parking lots, and even driveways, occupy a significant portion of our land. And it is expensive for our families to own and operate personal vehicles and for our communities to build and maintain roads and other transportation infrastructure, as well as support public transit.

The information presented in this section is based on our belief that we have the ability to shape both transportation and land use to our advantage. With a little planning and foresight, we can make our transportation experiences more enjoyable and less expensive for all of us.

The Fact Sheets are brief and accessible. They put information into a planning context which communities can use to effectively address particular issues. The GTC Web Topics provide more detailed summaries of important subjects and links to national best practices. Planning Briefs are directed at decision makers and outline a particular course of action for various subjects.

Communities can use this information to begin a community conversation, place local issues in their proper perspective, find the right method to address local needs, and learn from the experiences of others.

GTC Fact Sheets

Automobile Parking and Pedestrians
Automobile Parking Site Location
Bicycle Parking
Build-Out Analysis
Concentrating Development
Construction Performance Guarantees
Corridor Access Management
Designing Great Places
Health, Land Use, Transportation
Housing Options
Managing Unpaved Roads
Mixed-Use Development
Parking Management
Preserving Rural Working Lands
Protecting Scenic Views
Revitalizing Village and Neighborhood Centers
Sidewalks and New Development
Sidewalks and Existing Development
Stormwater Management
Successful Planning Processes
Supporting Sustainable Rural Food Production
Supporting Urban Agriculture
Tree Preservation and Management
Universal Design
Vegetated Buffers

NYSAMPO Fact Sheets

Complete Streets
Designing Signalized Intersections to Accommodate All Users
Electric Vehicles & Charging Networks
Know Your Pedestrian and Bicycle Laws
Timing Traffic Signals to Accommodate Pedestrians

GTC Web Topics

Access Management
Context Sensitive Design
Greater Rochester Area Bicycling & Trails Information
Integrating Safety into Transportation Planning
Rural Transportation Planning
Safe Routes to School
Technology Tools for Community Engagement
Transportation System Management & Operations
Walkable Communities

GTC Planning Briefs

Mixed Use: What Makes It Work?
Using SEQR to Get to Sustainability

Don't Overlook the Small Things

Meaningful community change can sometimes appear too difficult, too expensive, or too time-consuming to accomplish. Just getting started may seem really tough. In many cases, small and simple changes may be the best way forward. Theyre manageable and sustainable. Theyre quick. They dont require a lot of money or experts to implement.

The primary tool in this part of the toolkit is a GTC publication called Small Changes that Make a Big Difference. It describes small, affordable interventions that can provide new energy to a community. They can work on their own to improve a communitys appearance, vitality, and prospects, or provide assistance during a long-term planning process.

See What Other Communities are Doing

The Genesee Transportation Council funds local and regional studies that develop feasible planning, design, and regulatory concepts to improve circulation, accessibility, parking, and safety for pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists. In many cases, the studies also identify opportunities for economic and community development while respecting the scale, character, and context of the community.

Individual communities as diverse as Hilton, Macedon, Perry, Geneseo, and the Browns Square neighborhood of the City of Rochester have undertaken such studies. GTC also sponsors studies of major urban, suburban, and rural corridors throughout the region. The corridor studies are often multi-jurisdictional, recognizing that transportation- and land use-related issues do not stop at municipal boundaries.

These studies can be valuable learning tools for other communities. They evaluate situations that are common to many communities in our region, emphasizing detailed contextual analysis of local conditions as a basis for identifying and applying appropriate solutions. The studies are a great resource for those who wish to delve more deeply into community planning and problem-solving.