The Livable Cities Coalition meetings are easy to go to. They’re full of like minded individuals working on really cool things, and working together.
Last month, the lady who worked for Governor Napolitano and Governor Brewer to head up the head up the light rail project from that side talked about a non-profit she founded to finance development along the rail line unwritten with grant money. Many of the developments along the rail line are financed by her organization.
This month, one of the members of a committee with grant money from the Pew Charitable Trust/Robert Wood Johnson Health Impact Assessment Grant talked about how she got grants to do “health impact assessments”. Health impact assessments quantify cost impacts on health made transportation decisions. For example, public transportation and cycling infrastructure have a strong positive impact on public health by promoting walking and recumbent riding. Cities looking at costs of things can consider public health costs related to transportation decisions. This work provides them with that data. I talked to her about possibly including some of this data in our Bike Count Report for 2013′s Bike Count.
Tucson (if I got this straight, there was a lot of talk about Flagstaff, too) is doing BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). They drove a new hybrid bus around to neighborhoods, set up shop there, had people come and check it out, and had them fill out an online survey from terminals set up in the bus. They got 11,000 survey responses, overwhelmingly positive, in favor of the BRT. Public transit options reduce traffic congestion and help car-free cyclists with many of the times they would otherwise need to use a car.
Doug Hirano, the Executive Director of Asian Pacific Communities in Action talked about his organization and its goal of empowering and serving the Asian and Pacific communities in the Phoenix metro area. They’re providing health services, translation services, and are looking into outdoor gym equipment, which reportedly has wide adoption in several Asian countries (including Australia, I think). I talked to him about the impact Bicycle Saviours has in Tempe.
The presentations are fantastic, but the table talk is also excellent. AZPIRG’s outreach coordinator made it to the meeting again and we talked about ADOT meetings coming up and the topics being discussed at them. MAG is trying to extend the rail lines, and there’s some debate between street cars versus running the light rail trains on roads shared with cars in places where roads cannot be widened to accommodate the train. Gene from Phoenix Spokes People (formerly DBAG, formerly PBAG) was there both times I was. They’re doing a good job of making it to meetings and sharing the cyclist’s perspective with policy makers.