Mass Movement – The Mobility Academy
Without a doubt, car culture is one of the central tenets of Southern California living. With over 22 million people living in Southern California, transportation is not just an issue for car owners but for all the citizens. Ensuring proper mobility for the growing populace involves more than just optimizing freeways and buses, but also includes the use of subways, light rail, bikes, and, our favorite, simply walking.
Earlier this year, we launched the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments (SFVCOG) Mobility Academy. No, this wasn’t a mobile school, contrary to the naming convention. The Mobility Academy is a five-session initiative to examine the transportation issues that drive the region and, as a group, discuss and possibly find some realistic solutions for its future. In order to provide a deeper understanding of regional priorities, we brought practitioners and experts to help inform the staff and civic leaders about the challenges coming their way.
The overlapping politics of transportation makes the topic a truly complicated issue and an even harder one to discuss to an audience of diverse interests and personal and professional priorities. While a road or a light rail may appear to make sense for one community, the ramifications of this change are hard to predict. A small change to a sidewalk or street parking can have ramifications in seemingly unrelated facets of the community, such as the economic output of the area. Similarly, the addition of light rail or a subway to a community could have drastic implications on the affordability of housing but also the well being of the citizens. By bringing not just a variety of transportation experts but a multitude of businesses and city officials in the same room, the line of communication was open for everyone to make a serious inquiry to what is possible and how funding and politics drive the outcomes of what can be done.Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but when opinions evolve into informed insights of what can be – that’s when a community can truly move forward.
You can read more about the SFVCOG’s Mobility Academy here.
John Bwarie is an impact professional working to connect people and solve problems while focusing on an actionable outcome. He has worked for elected officials directly and serves dozens of others in other capacities. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.