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The Urban Phoenix Podcast

The Urban Phoenix Podcast

By The Urban Phoenix Podcast
Conversations around our urban environments and a better tomorrow for our cities
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Why Is It So Important For Amtrak To Make A Profit?

The Urban Phoenix Podcast

Why Is It So Important For Amtrak To Make A Profit?

The Urban Phoenix Podcast

Two Things We Can Learn From 2020
2020 was a devastating year for our cities. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the experience
February 07, 2021
Street Closures Are Suddenly The Rage
Covid-19 has thrust our nation into a paralyzing reality... but the re-dedication of car space to people might be just the thing out cities need
July 24, 2020
Bike Infrastructure Sends A Message
Even if it’s seldom used, bike infrastructure sends a clear message to everyone that two-wheeled transportation is welcome
June 02, 2020
The Quietly Splintered World Of Cycling
For the most part, cyclists want the same thing... safer streets, better infrastructure, more advocacy. But within bike culture is a vast array of different reasons for riding on two wheels. The infighting between these groups is crippling the effort to improve cycling for everyone
June 01, 2020
For E-Scooters, Ownership Will Mean Legitimacy
The shared model has brought the E-Scooter into the light. Now it’s time to legitimize them with ownership
May 10, 2020
Driving Is A Privilege, Not A Right
Americans have become blind to the privilege of driving, so much so that driving is almost seen as an American right.
May 07, 2020
Isn’t This What We’ve Wanted?
At some point... and maybe quite often... we have wished for a simpler time. We have wished for fewer distractions or more time with our families, or the ability to work from home. Now that many of us have these things, how much of this time will we take with us going forward!
May 05, 2020
A Small Biz Pivots To Help In This Difficult Time: An Interview With Teagan White, from JN White
A company that makes membrane switches, graphic overlays, and custom labels in Perry, New York is now making over 100,000 face shields per day to help front line workers combat Covid-19. Customer Service Manager Teagan White talks about the mission of JN White to help protect us in this time!
May 02, 2020
Urbanists Are Translators
People are inherently drawn to attractive urban environments. It’s our job as urbanists to inform them WHY these places make them feel good
April 30, 2020
Will The Threat Of Vandalism Hinder Urban Automation?
We are at the point where the ability to automate anything from park maintenance to public transit is a reality. But will the lack of an authority figure welcome vandalism and illegal activity?
April 23, 2020
The Reduction In Pollution As A Result Of The Coronavirus
If there is a positive result of shutting down our economies, it’s the short term environmental relief our planet is experiencing
April 23, 2020
Remote Work Will Change Urban Design
Even after the Coronavirus pandemic is mitigated, remote work will continue to rise. Cities should be thinking about what that means now, rather than later.
April 19, 2020
I’ve Gained 6 Pounds Not Biking To Work
I had lost 17 pounds, until the Coronavirus caused me to work from home. Now that I’m not biking to work every day, I’ve quickly gained 6 pounds back.
April 16, 2020
Now More Than Ever, Billionaires Need To Be Leaders
In 2018, the country’s richest man donated 0.1% of his net worth. Now more than ever, we need our economic leaders to do just that... lead.
April 14, 2020
The Interstate Highway System Changed Everything
Yes, the Interstate Highway System destroyed regional transit, but it also spelled the end of local transit too... and our cities would never be the same
April 12, 2020
Rochester Lost Bike Share... For Now.
Zagster/Pace has pulled out of Rochester. Another company will take its place in the future. The important thing to remember is this is not our fault.
April 11, 2020
A Car-Light America Is Here
With far less traffic on the roads during this time of social distancing, now is our time to truly see what it’s like to live walk and bike along a busy road and feel comfortable
April 10, 2020
Why Don’t We Have Balconies?
We’ve seen the videos of entire communities singing from balconies in Spain and Italy while in quarantine. Why don’t we see this in US cities?
April 10, 2020
An Interview With Rochester’s Maria Furgiuele
Maria is the Executive Director of the Community Design Center of Rochester. We talk about quality urban design, public space, transit, balconies, and the future for our cities in the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic
April 02, 2020
The Fate Of Public Transit In A Time Of Social Distance
Public transit is taking it at the shins during this time of social distancing. And understandably so. How will these uncertain times change public transit forever?
April 01, 2020
What Will Our Cities Look Like?
Just weeks ago, our cities were trending back to walkable places with restaurants, bars and shops. Will that vision ever be a reality again?
March 30, 2020
An Interview With Utica’s Stephen Keblish
Stephen and I talk about Utica, Urbanism, small city life, the importance of livability and Stephen’s service in the National Guard... and more!
March 28, 2020
The Best Last Mile Has Been Here All Along
I’m 39 years old. This year, I taught myself how to skateboard. While learning requires an incredible amount of patience, I can now say that this is the best last mile transportation option ever created.
March 28, 2020
An Interview With “Crafty” Mask Maker Rachel Walsh
Rochester’s Rachel Walsh is deeply rooted in the arts, crafting, music, theater and general creativity. Today, she’s using her talents to make masks in an effort to mitigate these difficult times.
March 26, 2020
An Interview with Sandusky Ohio Assistant City Planner, Tom Horsman
Tom talks about his journey to an Urbanist life in the small city of Sandusky
March 25, 2020
An Interview With Rochester’s Jeremy Cooney
Jeremy Cooney was born in an Indian orphanage, and raised by a single mother in the City of Rochester. Today, he is a lawyer and the Democratic and Working Families Party candidate for the NYS Senate, District 56
March 22, 2020
A Hopeful Outcome From The Coronavirus
Our lives are about to change dramatically. My hope is that it’s only temporary. Here’s another hope that I have...
March 13, 2020
Narcissism And The Four Way Stop: A Lesson For Our Cities
A study shows us that the more expensive/newer the car, the more the driver is likely to drive through the intersection out of turn. It’s a metaphor for wealth in our cities today
March 11, 2020
Car Crashes, Coronavirus & Public Health Priorities
The Coronavirus is a serious health epidemic, and it’s one we are taking very seriously as a society. But other solvable public health issues that kill tens of thousands of Americans go unaddressed
March 11, 2020
The Seldom Appreciated Benefits Of Walking
Rarely to we realize the health benefits of walking. The obesity epidemic in our country is, in part, due to the fact that our communities are rarely built for walking. Dense urban areas are the exception
March 10, 2020
Pedestrian Malls In Midsized Cities? Not So Fast...
Pedestrian malls sound awesome and they are, but historically they have not always performed well in the USA. Here are some thoughts on how to take a “middle ground” or incremental approach to this subject
March 08, 2020
Same City, Different Cultural Narratives
A recent article highlights how different cultural narratives of the same event in Detroit can have deeply “rooted” effects in how we see our cities today. You can find the article here
March 08, 2020
Micro Mobility & The Volatility Of Venture Capital
The popular electric skateboard company Boosted Boards abruptly went belly-up last week, raising fears that other similar companies may eventually follow suit. While venture capital companies have added flare to urban life, there are serious questions about the sustainability of this funding method
March 07, 2020
Micro Mobility And A Short Trip To Buffalo
I spend 4 hours in Buffalo a few weeks ago... with nothing other than a skateboard.
March 07, 2020
How Our Cities Became Corporations l
Government policy and suburban subsidies ruined our cities’ financial status... their only recourse was to function like corporations.
February 21, 2020
Overestimating The Economic Impact Of Sports Teams
We love our local teams... but in most cases, we highly inflate the economic impact they have on local economies
February 12, 2020
Preservationism Versus New Urbanism
While it’s important to preserve the history of our landmarks and districts, we cannot preserve every building and every neighborhood. Doing so leads to higher living costs and exclusivity
February 10, 2020
Fastest and Most Exclusive: An American Transportation Problem
Our country has been built around the car and the airplane, that fastest and most exclusive forms of mobility
February 08, 2020
Utica: More Parking Won’t Improve Your Community
A recent opinion piece by the Utica Observer Dispatch calls for more parking in order to create a more accessible downtown. But great cities aren’t suburbs, and thus are not made better by more automobile access
February 06, 2020
Scary Spaces: The Places Where Walkers and Cyclists Feel Forgotten
Anyone who walks or bikes for transportation knows the feeling of anxiety when approaching those spaces that are designed for cars
February 02, 2020
Welcoming Outside Investment
There’s a lot of money coming out of New York City. Our Upstate cities have the potential to tap into this tremendous exodus of wealth
January 31, 2020
The Importance Of Promoting Chaos in Urban “Order”
Order sounds good in our cities, until we realize that order usually means stratification and strict prioritization that favors one population over another
January 30, 2020
Bike Commuting, Group Rides & Legitimacy
I love group rides, recreational cyclists and any reason people get on two wheels. But building true legitimacy and infrastructure means talking about bike commuting first and foremost
January 18, 2020
Breweries: The Sure-Thing Activator
Few things activate desolate urban landscapes like breweries. We need to start appreciating just how important they’ve been with regard to change in our cities
January 18, 2020
If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now: A Book Review, An Urbanist’s Rebuttal
Recently I read a nice book titled “If Your Were Here You’d Be Home By Now” by Christopher Ingraham. While I enjoyed the read, there are some interesting things the author misses with regard to the breadth of urbanism and the conversations surrounding the urban/rural construct
January 15, 2020
Interview with Utica Superfan Ken Smith
Sometimes I interview urbanists. Sometimes I interview business owners. This interview? This is about a man who truly loves his city, and does everything he can to help others realize that love too.
January 14, 2020
A Man Tried To Hit Me With His Car
Last week while biking with my coworker to work, a man tried to intimidate and drive into us with his car, completely unprovoked
January 04, 2020
Do Urbanist Publications Really Speak To Midsized Cities?
CityLab and Streetsblog are amazing online publications that address Urbanist issues... but do they really address the issues of small-to-midsized metros?
December 31, 2019
When Did Cycling Become a Liberal Thing?
Bikes have been associated with a liberal construct, when in fact they personify some of the most basic Republican ideals...
December 23, 2019
Fairport NY: Blending Suburban Feel With A Micro-Urban Twist
Fairport, New York is a small suburb of Rochester, my home city. There, a mix of suburban life and an amazingly walkable downtown has created a beautiful blend of small town with a hint of urbanity
December 21, 2019
Taking Comfort With Us: How Earbuds Are Helping Our Cities Thrive
A follow up to my latest blog piece, earbuds and smart phones are allowing people who might not otherwise be comfortable with city life a chance to adapt
December 19, 2019
Cities Must Keep Moving
Cities don’t do well when they stand still. Investment, movement and development must be constant. Unlike their suburban counterparts, cities thrive on fluidity and change
December 11, 2019
When Transit Works
I had an amazing transit experience couple weekends ago on a short trip to Buffalo. It made me think about what it would be like if transit worked conveniently and efficiently in this country!
December 11, 2019
Stop Telling Is Beg Buttons Don’t Work!
In the last few years, major publications have been telling us that those buttons you push to activate the “walk” sign at an intersection don’t work. This might be true in major metros, but for the rest of America, the are very much alive and well, unfortunately.
December 07, 2019
Three Weeks On An Electric Bike
I’ve owned my Sondors E-Bike for 3 weeks. Here’s my take...
November 24, 2019
Thoughts On Schenectady, NY
Recently, I revisited Schenectady, New York. Here’s my take on this emerging center of Micro Urbanity
November 22, 2019
Talking Schenectady With Haley Viccaro
Haley Viccaro is the communications director for New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, former writer for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, NY, and current Schenectady resident
November 19, 2019
Talking Geneva, NY and Small City Development With Matt Horn
Former Geneva City Manager Matt Horn talks about the intricacies of small city revitalization.
November 15, 2019
Why Is It So Important For Amtrak To Make A Profit?
Recent reports show that Amtrak is poised to do something it’s never done... Make a profit. So why, when every form of transportation is government subsidized, is this key for rail in the U.S.?
November 14, 2019
Talking Utica NY, State Grants and Urban Revitalization With Joseph Wicks
Joseph Wicks is a special project manager at the Community Foundation of Herkimer/Oneida Counties.  Today I asked him about the $10 million state grant in Utica, huge economic projects on the horizon and how our cities can collaborate to create a strong roadmap for the future.  NOTE: This is a remote podcast (with me in Rochester and Mr. Wicks in Central NY)... the sound is not outstanding, but I hope the content trumps the quality!
November 14, 2019
Five Years Of The Urban Phoenix
A look back at what started this journey 5 years ago!
November 10, 2019
Interview With Transit Apparel’s Matt Rogers
Matt Rogers doesn’t just make t-shirts, he tells a story of a city or neighborhood with every design he creates. Check out to see his work
November 10, 2019
Don’t Disparage Our City
A recent New York Post article calling Rochester “Grim and Depressing” has me fired up
November 07, 2019
Small Moves
We don’t need everyone to sell their car and move from their suburban homes into city apartments... we just need to help everyone take small steps
November 06, 2019
Interview With Rochester Cycling Advocate Jesse Peers
Jesse and I talk about bike infrastructure, advocacy, attitude and more
November 06, 2019
Redefining Freedom
What used to be symbols of American freedom, like attaining a license, are quickly becoming a burden
November 04, 2019
Three Reasons I Bike In The Rain
People often ask me why I ride to work in the rain when I had a perfectly good car. Here’s my answer.
November 02, 2019
Interview With Rochester Community Cyclist Laura Mack
Laura and I talk about cycling in our communities, bike infrastructure, the challenges women face with cycling today and the fun of group riding opportunities
October 31, 2019
Interview With Civil Engineer Nicholas Russo
Nicholas Russo is a civil engineer from Pittsfield Massachusetts, and the creator of, an online publication that talks about smart urban design in his home city
October 30, 2019
Challenge Yourself To Bike Through The Winter
Are you a “warm weather” cyclist? Grab some gear and challenge yourself to bike year round!
October 28, 2019
New Tech Is Enabling Distracter Drivers
The newest safety features in cars accommodate careless driving... but we still put the onus on pedestrians to look out for themselves
October 27, 2019
The Big Reason Drivers Disrespect Crosswalks
Drivers have been given ultimate priority in our country. But that doesn’t stop them from disrespecting the little space pedestrians have left
October 27, 2019
Some Thoughts On Rome, New York
Why a downtown that draws is a must for this sprawling city
October 25, 2019
Rochester’s Decreased Vehicle Emissions Are Likely The Result Of A Later Decline
A recent NYT article implied that automobile emissions have decreased in Rochester since 1990, where our neighbors in Buffalo and Syracuse saw an increase. Here’s the likely reason why...
October 19, 2019
Uber, Postmates, Grubhub and Instacart Are All Bleeding Money... Until The Robots Come
A recent article in The Atlantic was the latest to reference the eye-popping financial losses from nearly every venture-capital-funded, app based ventures. But these companies aren’t losing money... they are changing the culture and banking on the fact that 10 years from now, automated tech will alleviate their financial responsibility to human workers
October 18, 2019
Buffalo’s Skyway, Transit Infrastructure and a Reprioritization of Urban Mobility
A recent opinion piece in the Buffalo News got me thinking about adding transit infrastructure versus reprioritization of transportation priorities
October 14, 2019
Interview With Carly Reynolds, Owner Of Vine & Fig in Rome, NY
Carly Reynolds brings an “elevated” but approachable vibe to Rome with a new bistro. We talk about her business, her vision and how it ties in with Rome’s future
October 14, 2019
Interview with Rome New York’s Jake DiBari and Danny Frieden
Recorded at Copper City Brewing, this interview features two “game changing” influencers in the small Central New York city of Rome
October 14, 2019
UP Interview: Michael John Heagerty From Syracuse New York
Michael is not only one of Syracuse’s greatest cheerleaders... he’s an instrumental part of that city’s re-emerging fabric. In this remote interview, we talk about the arts, architecture, urban revitalization and his vision for Syracuse’s future!
October 10, 2019
Following Up On Scotland Vs. U.S. Rail Battle Post
Yesterday I launched a UP post that compared Scotland’s rail network with that of the U.S. Here’s a short 6-minute follow up!
October 08, 2019
Interview With Rochester City Planner Kevin Kelley
In this episode, I talk to Kevin about the Rochester 2034 Comprehensive Plan, Roc The Riverway, family life in the city and a host of other fantastic city-centered topics.
October 07, 2019
Why I’m Obsessed With Micro-Mobility
Someone asked me recently why bike riding, skateboarding and scootering was so important to me. I thought I might answer “on air.”
September 13, 2019
Where Our Cities Are Safer
People move out of cities for safety from crime. But cities provide a safety net when we make bad choices or just get dealt a bad day...
September 04, 2019
What Uber And Lyft Are Really Trying To Do
Uber has lost an incredible amount of money... or have they? Investors are changing people’s minds about how we move about, and that could pay huge dividends down the line.
August 11, 2019
The Range of Micro Mobility
In a follow up to a recent blog post, I talk about the importance of micro mobility range
August 11, 2019
Wide Roads and Tons of Trails: Iceland’s Unique Transportation Build
Recently I spent a day in Iceland... while a new rush of tourism has led to the construction of wide roads, trails, pedestrian and bikes access still cover the landscape
August 03, 2019
Electric Cars Aren’t The Answer
Most of our electric power is still generated from fossil fuels. The answer to our energy and environmental crisis isn’t electric cars, it’s smaller vehicles and living closer to everything
July 21, 2019
E-Scooters In Nashville: A Tragic Death and Misplaced Blame
A 26 year old man was killed when his e-scooter was struck by an SUV in Nashville. Now scooters are banned from the streets. Why not cars?
July 05, 2019
An Interview with Brooke Fossey from Bagel Bike in Pittsford, NY
Brooke Fossey found a beautiful way to blend her love of biking with a small business venture that adds character to her community
July 01, 2019
UP Commute: Chicago’s Amazing Public Spaces
I was in Chicago last weekend. Chicago’s dedication to public space is simply incredible! Here are some thoughts on this, and on how other cities can apply these ideas.
June 26, 2019
What Is Walkability?
There are many different definitions of a walkable environment. Here’s mine.
June 17, 2019
Sprawling Within: Bigger Homes, Smaller Families
Sprawl isn’t just happening with regard to our metro areas, it’s happening within our own homes. Clearly, we are a nation moving farther apart in every way.
June 15, 2019
Backseats and College Campuses: Why Millennials Are The Way They Are
We spent more time in the backseats of cars at a time when traffic congestion was the highest... it’s not wonder we want our cities to look more like the college campuses
June 06, 2019
It’s Time To Stop Right On Red
Legal right-on-reds on our American roads become a federal allowance in the 1970s as a result of the oil shortage. It’s time to make this unsafe practice illegal once again
June 03, 2019
Bikes and Scooters on Sidewalks Just Want to Be Safe Too
I’m learning how to ride a skateboard. It’s given me a new perspective on why we should be patient with bikes and scooters on the sidewalk!
May 25, 2019
Looking Up
Our cities have work to do... but there’s nothing wrong with looking at the powerfully positive things we have accomplished
May 25, 2019
Bike Advocacy: Safety or Legitimacy?
Bike organizations and active cyclists try to educate drivers on how to share the road with cyclists. But are they educating drivers on WHY people bike in the first place?
May 20, 2019
Scooter Share in Rochester
Scooter share is coming to Rochester as soon as this summer. What should we expect?
May 17, 2019
A Different Direction
Summer 2019 will lead the UP down the path of multi-media as I attempt to show you why I love city living
May 05, 2019
Who’s Responsibility Is It When A Local Business Fails?
When a business closes due to lack of patronage, who deserves the blame? When people want transit but no one uses it, who should be on the hook!?
April 17, 2019
City Streets or Highways: Which Would You Remove?
City Streets Or Highways: Which Would You Remove?
April 08, 2019
Cars: A Tax On The American Dream
Urbanists aren’t against cars. We are against an America in which the most expensive form of transportation is actively subsidized about all else
April 02, 2019
The Difference Between A Suburban Village & A City Neighborhood
Small town Main Streets are great, but here’s where they differ from Urban Neighborhoods
March 29, 2019
The Urban Phoenix Podcast #3: Stop Blaming and Get Involved
Blaming political movements does nothing for our cities. Get involved and activate something positive
March 13, 2019
The Urban Phoenix Podcast #2: Rochester Bike Share & A Year In Limbo
In 2018, two-thirds of Rochester’s bike share fleet was stolen. What does that say about our city and our city’s ability to move forward?
March 07, 2019
The Urban Phoenix Podcast #1: A New Direction
The Urban Phoenix has morphed and adapted in its 4 years of existence. In 2019, we will talk a great deal about the relationships we have with our cities. We will talk more about social capital, and the ups and downs of our own connections with our urban environments
March 01, 2019