This coming Saturday, October 25th, elected leaders, transportation officials, business leaders, non-profit groups, community leaders, and transportation enthusiasts from around St Paul and the metro area will come together for a first-of-its-kind event: a day-long convening “designed to educate, engage and empower Saint Paul residents from diverse backgrounds to play an active role in shaping their city’s transportation systems.” This is a fantastic opportunity for knowledge sharing and relationship building with community members and stakeholders across the board.
Mayor Chris Coleman will be speaking, as well as Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle and Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. Sessions will cover a wide variety of topics, from racial equity to demystifying the city’s funding process for capital improvements (CIB).
The event organizers recognize the need for greater community involvement if transportation changes and improvements are to benefit everyone, especially those who need them the most. “Improved transportation can help address disparities in health, economic vitality and access to opportunity if the community processes that inform decisions about funding are inclusive and represent the interests of every community in Saint Paul,” says Lauren Fulner, transportation and sustainability coordinator for the Hamline Midway Coalition and SPHTFA project coordinator. “To truly create equitable transportation development, a diversity of voices must be present at the decision-making table early in the process,” says Tong Thao, community organizer with East Side Transit Equity.
The convening is intended to be the first in a series of events, partnerships and collaborations that improve equity in transportation into the future.
This event should build on the momentum provided by Gil Penalosa’s residency in the Twin Cities this past spring. His encouragement to build “8 to 80 cities” has inspired a new fund at the city level, written about by streets’ Anne White, as well as excitement and projects around the area.
I’ll be at the meeting this Saturday, along with a number of other streets.mn writers. I’ve heard there are still registration openings. You should come join us.
See you Saturday!