Although we had a successful first event, I always find it beneficial to hear how other communities have gone about addressing their events. I now have contacts all over the world (we had 3 international attendees) who are happy to help problem solve and provide encouragement.
The highlight of the National Open Streets Conference held in Los Angeles April 4-6, 2014 was the opportunity to network with fellow attendees about challenges, successes and change. Lee’s event was very focused on health benefits. Some organizers have a strong community focus. Their focus is to break down silos and bring people together. Other organizers think of roads as mobility enhancers, not just places to drive. I’d like people to start thinking of Lee County’s roads as parks. By closing some streets to motor vehicle traffic from time to time, we multi-purpose our streets and really use our tax money more wisely. We think about how streets work for everyone.
The biggest thing I learned is that we are at the beginning of a change in society and how people interact. Opening our streets for people to play provides a healthy, fun environment that adds to the richness of our community and gives people another reason to love this area. I also learned that we must broaden our reach, not only to encourage more volunteers, but to allow more of our community to be a part of this wonderful event.
One attached photo is of me (Kate Gooderham) with Aaron Paley, who is Executive Director of CicLAvia (the Los Angeles open streets event) and the second is of me and Jeffrey Miller, who is Pres./CEO of the Alliance for Biking & Walking.