Cynthia Hoyle attended the National Planning Conference of the American Planning Association this last week in New Orleans. She presented as part of a session titled "Non-traditional Partnerships to Create Healthy Communities". Cynthia talked about the partnerships that have been underway in Champaign-Urbana, IL for the last 18 years working to give residents and visitors a choice in how they travel around town. The result has been impressive shifts in mode from driving alone to walking, biking, and use of transit. In Urbana 35% of work trips are made without driving alone. The research is clear, people who walk, bike, and/or take transit get more daily physical activity on average than those who drive to work. You can view her presentation below.
The conference offers the opportunity for experienced planners to volunteer to mentor emerging planners. Two young planners were assigned to Cynthia to chat about how to build a career as a planner with a particular interest in transportation systems. These emerging planners are always an inspiration.
Touring a city by bike offers the best way to see how a community is creating choices for people to travel. New Orleans is building an impressive trail system. Cycling along the Lafitte Greenway was a treat. It serves the Treme neighborhood, a traditionally African-American neighborhood that was heavily impacted by Hurricane Katrina. The trail has many types of users and was designed to help reduce stormwater runoff into the neighborhood with bioswales. Amenities along the trail include playgrounds, playing fields, art, bikeshare, and good wayfinding.
Next year the National Planning Conference will be in San Francisco!