A number of events over the past few months have got me thinking about how powerful the word “and” is. So powerful, I’m nominating it as my #1 transportation word of all time (okay, maybe #3 after “foot” and “wheel”…)
Whether it comes to integrating transportation with land use, or integrating different modes of travel with each other, each of us who works to create more vibrant and resilient communities can do our shared cause and each other a great service by remembering this one tiny, auspicious word that just keeps connecting it all together.
How else might we get there? Who else might we include? How else might people and place and motion relate?
And how will people walk there? And how might they bike? And if a bus (or taxi or tram or scooter) were to serve it, where might it go?
And, yes, people using cars and making deliveries will need access as well and how might we make space for that now? And what about in the future as technologies and lifestyles keep changing? And how does this place or corridor fit in with both local and regional travel needs?
Those of us who advocate for the good life–the kind of healthy, connected life that is possible when you spend less time behind the wheel of car–know that the path to making that life happen is choice. Give people a full suite of options to choose from, and make them viable/beautiful/respectful, and chances are that folks will find it easier to choose an option that isn’t always a single occupant vehicle.
And making that choice happen means that each of us in sustainable transportation needs to advocate for each other and all the many ways that movement happens. We need to make sure that we are thinking of cities not in terms of many different transportation networks but in terms of one network with many layers.
Which doesn’t necessarily mean doing the same thing everywhere; different corridors may still merit different approaches. But it does mean that we need to be mindful of all the layers and how they intersect and interact with each other.
Like any successful ecosystem, we need diversity.
Like any successful ecosystem, we need each other.
Like any successful ecosystem, we don’t need more either/or, we need a whole lot more and.
Coda: My Ideal Bike/Bumper Sticker
This post put in me mind of what just might be my ideal fantasy bike/bumper sticker. Building off the classic “My other car is a bike,” it would look something like this: