Thursday, November 19, 2009

Transportation Forum a Huge Success!!

Last Friday's transportation forum, titled "Transportation in Tacoma for the 21st Century", included the insights of Tacoma's and the Puget Sound Region's top decision makers in transportation - Eric Anderson, City Manager of Tacoma; Lynne Griffith, CEO of Pierce Transit; Ric Ilgenfritz, Executive Director of Planning for Sound Transit; and David Hiller, Advocacy Director for the Cascade Bicycle Club - gleaned through a rigorous 1.5 hour question-and-answer session.

Over sixty people packed the Simpson Room of the Tacoma Chamber, a co-host of the event, to hear the thoughts of these transportation leaders. Topics such as the future of the Tacoma streetcar system, the Pierce Transit redesign process, collaboration and integration with Olympia and Intercity Transit, and more were covered as the audience peppered the speakers with thoughtful and passionate questions.

Perhaps the key question of the event, and the one that wrapped it up, came from Ben Ferguson of BLRB architects. Ben questioned the speakers on the establishment and communication of a broader vision beyond that of each individual organization represented. When the speakers answered his question with more emphasis of their own organizations' visions as well as a mention of the Puget Sound Regional Council's Transportation 2040 (which is meant to be a vision for the region), Ben pushed back again, challenging the leaders to "inspire us" with a vision into which we all can buy.

As is often the case, the "heart" of an event's topic is gotten at not through the leaders/experts invited to speak, but by an audience member willing to speak up.

Because of the success of this and the October forums, Transportation Choices Coalition along with its regular co-hosts the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce and the City of Tacoma will continue to host Friday forums in 2010, hoping to facilitate a discussion about transportation topics that are inspiring. Further dates and topics will be announced on this blog and on Transportation Choices Coalition's website.

We hope that you'll continue to join us in bringing transportation to the forefront of public discussion!

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