Updated: Mar 26, 2019
On February 7, CALC Community Connectors Christian Steward and Phuong Tran attended Bicycle Colorado's 2019 Moving People Forward Conference to hear about the state of mobility and biking in Colorado and beyond. Their reflections on the conference are below, thank you Christian and Phuong for sharing your experience!
PART I: MORNING MUSH
by Christian Steward
My name is Christian Steward, I am the Community Connector for Montbello with the Community Active Living Coalition (CALC). Since working with CALC I have taken more mass transit since the 90’s, seriously. I have not taken this much mass transit since before I owned a car. I am guilty of buying into a transportation model that follows the dangerous and environmental unfriendly path of motor vehicles. I have not given up on the car entirely, but I only sprinkle the roads with drive in important tasks like picking up my daughter or going to the mountains. When my supervisor, Kayla Gilbert, offered my counterpart, Phuong Tran, and I tickets to the Moving People Forward conference, we couldn’t say no. Plus, it is not wise to say no to your supervisor in the first two weeks of employment. It is ok to laugh here.
WED2/7 38°/0° 0.19 in 1.7 in 45°/18°
Above are the weather statistics for the day of the Moving People Conference. The first set of numbers was the high and low for that day. I want you to pay attention to the 1.7in number. That was the snow amount for the day. Most of that snow fell between 6am-9am. The conference started at 10am. Oh boy! As you imagine, it was a wet slippery mess getting to the conference. I took the bus. It is kind of stress free on days when snow makes motorist go crazy, especially people who move here that are not use to driving in blizzard conditions.
I have arrived. Peep the sign.
PART II: BREAKOUT SESSION 1- Bringing Transportation demand management solutions to diverse communities
Transportation has added barriers for populations who are economically disadvantaged. This breakout session addressed the challenges of effective strategies to include people with disabilities, elderly, or culturally underrepresented groups in mobility planning. The following were panelists in this session: Angie Malpiede (Northeast Transportation Connections), Dr. Sofia Chavez (Denver Health Southwest Clinic), Ann White (Montbello 2020), Yoal Kidane (Street Fraternity).
Each panelist shared their successes and challenges surrounding mobility for people who operate on the fringes in our society. In this conference I took a picture of the presentation about Montbello. This is one of those neighborhoods impacted by the lack of equity, that dreaded word that is overused, but not really understood. In the graphics you see some of the statistics associated with Montbello.
PART III: KEYNOTE SPEAKER- Janette Sadik-Khan
by Phuong Tran
“Street life improved by virtually every measure. But it was the pushback to this approach that got the biggest headlines. When you push the status quo, it pushes back, hard. Everyone likes to watch a good fight. And this most surely was a streetfight: A politically bloody and ripped-from-the-tabloids streetfight. I was-and still am-deeply embedded in that streetfight. Call me biased, call me crazy-many people have-but I am convinced that the fight to wrest back New York City’s streets holds lessons for every urban area, and that the future of our cities depends on it.”
– Janette Sadik-Khan
In a conference room with eager participants we are introduced to Janette Sadik-Khan. Janette is one of the world’s foremost authorities on transportation and urban transformation. She served as New York City’s transportation commissioner from 2007 to 20013. She is the chair for the National Association of Transportation officials, implementing new people-focused street design standards.
All of this information was in the pamphlet that was given to us upon arrival. But these words are minimally impressive compared to her speech. She approaches street design in a creative and simple way. Sometimes the solutions were as simple as sectioning off streets and opening it up to the public as open space. In doing this she witnessed fewer pedestrian/vehicle collisions. Just one of the many statistics that improved under her watch. She was inspirational, fierce, intelligent, informative, and funny.
BREAKOUT SESSIONS 1&2:
The Moving People Forward Summit allowed me to reflect on the changes when it comes to modes of transportation regarding Colorado’s mobility past, present and future. The two-breakout session I attended: Connecting the cities of tomorrow and Back to the Future, captured the progress and future innovations to see if transportation innovations will better connect and green our communities.
Connecting the Cities of Tomorrow
In this session the experts talked about smart cities, flying taxis and hyperloops as the future of urban areas.
Dr. Anita Sengupta discussed the technology around transportation, which began 3,000 years ago with the invention of the wheel. The wheel revolutionized human society in terms of transporting goods and services over long distances. Thousands of years later, the train adapted the wheel to encourage transportation of goods while introducing a new, fast way of mobilizing people. Continuing the journey of moving people forward, a few decades following the train, humans created cars on the consumer level, which allowed more convenient travel for people. Modes of transportation grew beyond the rails and roads, yet another adaptation on the wheel created air travel. Although now these innovations are widely used, our current transportation infrastructure is unsustainable and unequitable. For example, getting to the airport is usually not a big deal for some people, while for others, the time and cost of travel is prohibitive. We realize that not everyone has the same level of access of transportation.
Over the last few generations there is an increase of people using the airport. Should we care? YES! It is imperative that we assess the ways people are traveling. Many people will continue to travel to the airport, because of this we need to consider all transportation options, which may change the way we access the built environment in correlation to infrastructure.
Back to the Future: Lessons on Leading Change for the Coming Age, presented by Car2Go
Colorado has seen many transportation and mobility game changers throughout its history. Presenters in this session includes Dr. Patty Limerick and Dr. Andrew Duvall.
Dr. Andrew Duvall highlighted one of the biggest technological factors, the smartphone, that drives behavior toward adopting shared and emerging mobility. About 77% of all US adults have a smart phone. This enables interactions between infrastructure mobility options and humans in a way that hasn’t been possible before. What I found interesting in Dr. Duvall's talk was his argument that disruption cannot be the only solution for the current state of mobility. Disruption must be paired with sacrifice, meaning giving up some of the luxuries and/or conveniences of planning trips around or in a car, and making the cognitive and behavioral changes that make our roads safer for everyone.