For anyone who missed Saturday’s (February 9, 2013) moveDC (http://www.wemovedc.org/ ) Idea Exchange, it gave the city a lot to think about.
At the session’s welcome address, Mayor Gray called for the integration of moveDC with SustainableDC (http://sustainable.dc.gov/ ) and WMATA’s Momentum Plan (http://www.wmata.com/momentum/index.cfm ). The Council’s Transportation Committee Chair, Mary Cheh, highlighted that more, and more equitable transportation options are not an age-thing, they are an “everyone thing,” worthy of a great world city. Councilmember Tommy Wells called for a transportation system that provides equitable access to opportunity and the chance for all of our residents to stay and thrive in our growing city. DDOT Director Terry Bellamy credited the city’s advocates as vital advisors.
During the panel discussion, Developer Chris Leinberger (http://chrisleinberger.com/) called streetcar and bike facilities the two most important transportation investments of our time – and that we were taking too long to build them. He and fellow panelist Matthew Yglesias (of Slate, http://www.slate.com/authors.matthew_yglesias.html) called for establishing value capture systems in the city so that the benefits these investments bring will pay for themselves, even while ensuring housing affordability. Leinberger reminded the audience that economic development is the goal and transportation was just a means to that end. “We’ve confused the means with the goal,” he said and have dedicated far too much right of way to cars rather than higher value uses. During another part of the panel discussion, Matthew Yglesias talked about the importance of the consideration of “aging in-place” and accessibility from the “ground-up” when planning for transportation systems of the future. As the panel approached closure, panelist Anita Hairston of Policylink presented a revelation that 6 of 10 jobs take more than an hour to access by bus, which clearly is not good enough.
And that was just the opening panel. The six hours of interactive activities were full of ideas generated by the people who attended. Panelist Anita Hairston of PolicyLink (http://www.policylink.org/site/c.lkIXLbMNJrE/b.5136441/k.BD4A/Home.htm ) called it a “transportation bonanza.” There were strategies for making the system safe and functional for everyone whether 8 years old or 80. Ideas to create the transit “rainbow line” from NoMa and Union Station via the Capital and Riverfront to Anacostia and St. Elizabeths. Thoughts on how informal carshare can make us more mobile, sustainable, efficient AND relieve curbside pressures…..and too much more to relate.
What was evident from the Idea Exchange was that there is incredible opportunity for transportation in the city, today and in the future. We CAN continue to grow, we CAN maintain affordability; we CAN be a SustainableDC; and we CAN accommodate transportation choice.
Don’t worry if you missed the event, there will be lots of other chances to connect with moveDC. Keep coming back to www.wemoveDC.org for updates on coming events.