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Postcard - APBP sends greetings from the Rail~Volution conference in Minneapolis
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The need for inclusive and equitable transit planning and “Millennials will drive all of your future ideas” were two common themes at the 20th Rail~Volution conference held in Minneapolis.  The Twin Cities region’s low unemployment rate was attributed to access to jobs made possible because of the robust transportation options which include light rail, buses, bikeshare, carshare and walking. The new Green Line opened this summer to serve neighborhoods in St. Paul. It connects to the Blue Line which links the airport to downtown Minneapolis. Both lines have planned extensions.

Monday’s energetic keynote speakers included local and regional dignitaries and Charlie Zelle, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, who offered an inspiring vision of multi-modalism. Both of the state’s U.S. Senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, addressed the audience, as did Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. Senator Klobuchar spoke of her co-sponsorship of the Safe Streets Act and the Safe Routes to School Act. She ribbed Rail~Volution founder Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Portland, Ore. that Minneapolis now ranks higher (#3) than Portland (#4) in Bicycling Magazine’s recently released list of  "America's Best Bike Cities." Only New York City (#1) and Chicago (#2) rank higher. Blumenauer’s recorded talk is featured on www.railvolution.org.

On Tues., Sept. 23 U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx thanked the nation’s passenger rail providers and advocates for their dedication to moving people. He urged the audience to speak authentically to Congress about how transit improves people’s lives. He said the time has come to do away with the Highway Trust Fund in favor of a Transportation Fund to help America remain economically competitive in world markets. “Transit is essential to America’s vitality,” he said.
APBP is at Rail~Volution to promote walking and bicycling as last-mile solutions in transit networks. We’ve found a rich variety of speakers and settings for idea exchanges. Among the highlights:
  • “Walking is the gold standard by which you judge a community.” – Danny Pleasant, AICP, Director of Transportation, City of Charlotte, NC
  • “We can’t keep widening our roads so we have to BROADEN our thinking.” – educational brochure produced by the  City of Charlotte, NC
  • “Count all phases of the trip, not just the longest.” – Wendy Landman, Executive Director, WalkBoston
  • “Keep pushing. Keep taking risks.” – Rip Rapson, President and CEO, The Kresge Foundation, Detroit
  • informal lunchtime discussions on emerging professionals and “Reshaping: The Sharing Economy”
  • a lively debate among six Minnesota transit bloggers on the merits of three transit-related topics
  • a pecha kucha slam at the Music Box Theatre
Sara Maxana, Principal Planner, Puget Sound Regional Council
Dan Reed, Associate, Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates, Washington, DC
Paul Supawanich, Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, San Francisco
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