Nancy Shore is the Director of Ann Arbor’s getDowntown program. A graduate of U-M (M.S. Social Work in Community Organizing), she is resident of Ann Arbor and a committed advocate for sustainable transportation. Nancy will be blogging about why Curb Your Car Month matters, the need for public transportation in SE Michigan and more.
Post No. 3
What I’ve learned so far since I started working for getDowntown:
-Young professionals want to walk, bike and take transit to work. Older people don’t seem to get this (I know that is a gross generalization). But it’s investing in public transit that is going to keep our young talent here.
-Downtown density is good. Good for the environment (people are closer to shops, grocery stores,work, etc.); good for the economy (encourages development); good for people who want to hang out in a fun happening place. Now if we could only get the City to make it easier to develop and get people to stop being afraid of development. And if all developments could be designed with some green spaces and with pleasant features. Then we’d be okay.
-What makes a downtown great is the people. Whatever we can do to get people here (and not their cars) is a good strategy. Let’s focus on that as a goal.
-People don’t want to drive to work everyday, but the reality is there are places even 10 miles outside Ann Arbor (think Scio Township) that don’t even have bus service. This is not cool. What can’t we work together so that people can get around this whole county (and beyond) without a car? If we don’t build it, people will never understand just how valuable it is.
-People love the idea of Zipcars. It’s like this incredible idea to people. And the fact that Zipcars actually get people to share something that we once thought of as “mine” (our cars) is even better.
-People are still not living close to where they work. And this is a huge problem for them, for the environment and for our communities. How can we get people to live closer to where they work? And how can we create communities that reward people for living close to where they work?
-It’s often easier to work with local businesses than with chains (I don’t have to wait to for the manager to get approval from corporate before she can do something). But at the same time, chains can often provide gifts for prizes and when they do get involved, they can put a lot of resources into the effort.
-Bike lanes matter. Period. It makes bikes feel welcome and cars understand that bikes belong on the road.
-There are not enough business leaders (with lots of resources) stepping forward to promote public transportation. Where are you? We need you!
-We need to continue to talk about the new reality. A reality where cars don’t rule, pedestrians,cyclists and transit riders do. What would that new reality look like?