Whew! April has definitely been a whirlwind, and I’m not talking about those massive winds we were supposed to get from this recent storm! (Seriously, I walked around here with a dry umbrella expecting it to pour). Anyway, April brought us the second annual TranspoCamp as well as the massive week-long American Planning Association Conference. If you were lucky enough to attend both, I hope you made lots of connections and joined in the conversation about transportation and why it is important not just here, but everywhere.
But, let’s touch on the important pieces. See the epic selfie above? It was part of a session at TranspoCamp inspired by Lyle Harris, Chief Spokesman of MARTA on creating a culture of people who are not only willing to ride, but take ownership of MARTA, similar to other transit cultures in Philadelphia and San Francisco. We called ourselves the #MARTAARMY and we devoted ourselves to involve those who want to make a difference on the system to speak up and bounce ideas to Lyle on what this system should do and how it should function.
The American Planning Association (APA), while well established, was also welcomed to Atlanta just this past weekend. Attended by engineers, planners, realtors, students, etc., it was also a think-tank for those who wanted to grab ideas and take them back to their respective city. The student population was kinda here and there, so hopefully, Seattle’s conference next year will attract more students. Interesting sessions I attended included: Expanding Mass Transit in the face of Fiscal Austerity, The Creative Class & Downtown Development, Developing TOD Affordable Housing, and How Millennials Are Changing Planning (which is the standing room-only session above). There were outdoor workshops that took place in the Metro area, as well as a bookstore and expo to peep the latest planning technologies.
Overall, both of these conferences were wonderful, and if you haven’t been to either, I would suggest you find some money and get on that train. I feel the biggest inspirations for transit planning will come from seeing what other cities are doing and if you have a chance to travel and do that, I’d advise you to make that move, chess master. I would start with the American Public Transit Association Conference in Houston in October and RAILvolution in Minneapolis in June if you’re interested.