Beyond Equity — A Strategy for Developing Critical Leadership in Transportation

Day 1: NACTO & BBSP’s Cities for Cycling Roundtable

by Farrah Daniel, Better Bike Share Partnership Writer

On June 15, the National Association of Transportation Officials and BBSP kicked off the third annual BBSP Bike Share and Cities for Cycling Roundtable. This year, the roundtable welcomes the host cities of Baltimore, MD; Alexandria and Arlington, VA; and Washington DC. 

Due to COVID-19, things will look a little different this year — the roundtable has gone virtual! While it will be a shift from previous years, 2020’s two-week virtual event will still create plenty of space for city practitioners to “connect for a peer learning opportunity to discuss the changing landscape of shared micromobility, and explore how increased ridership might impact bike lane design and bike infrastructure,” reads NACTO’s event page.

Between the panels, interactive workshops and design exercises, participants will walk away with “new tools and implementation techniques to build better bike networks, as well as brainstorm process changes and challenges for managing and regulating shared micromobility.”

It’s important to note that the roundtable is only open to those working directly for cities, with the exception of two public events that welcomes everyone. But to keep you in the loop, BBSP will be regularly sharing mini-blogs about the daily events and what they entailed — let’s start with day 1.

Day 1, June 15

  

After being welcomed to the roundtable by this year’s host — NACTO’s Nicole Payne — we were also introduced to the 2020 host cities:

  • Alexandria – Vicki Caudullo, Urban Planner and Shared Mobility Planner at City of Alexandria
  • Arlington – Henry Dunbar, Director of Operations for Active Transportation
  • Baltimore – Meg Young, Shared Mobility Coordinator for the Baltimore City Department of Transportation Transit Bureau
  • Washington D.C. – Sharada Strasmore, Shared Micromobility Planner for the District Department of Transportation

Equitable Community Engagement Training 

Workshop Facilitators from MUSE Community + Design: Director of Planning Nina Idemudia, AICP, and Community Planner Romina Castillo 

Workshop Objective: As we recover from a pandemic that has disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities, we acknowledge that historical and systemic inequities have always affected people of color. This workshop identified actions for a mobility powershift through an equity-centered planning process. Actionable models were outlined to co-develop community-focused strategies that empower disenfranchised communities and lead to better outcomes.

Some Takeaways:

Yes, we’re trained planners and transportation professionals and we think we know it all, but, really, it’s about the lived experiences of those we’re trying to help. [We’re] not trying to plan for communities, but being strategic about how we plan with communities — and empower them to know that they’re the agents of change in their communities. We’re just there as experts to translate their needs into the technical language that ultimately gives them more positive outcomes.” – Nina Idemudia

  • Poor and black ‘invisible cyclists’ need to be part of post-pandemic transport planning, too. How are planners making sure these spaces are truly inclusive?
  • Planners, you need to learn with the people you’re working with before you ask them to understand what you can do for them. 
  • Part of equity-centered community design is taking the important step of addressing power dynamics as well as understanding how to co-create, co-plan and co-identify approaches with community members — don’t create fully-cooked solutions for communities without their input. 

Developing an equity-centered and community-focused planning process includes:

  • Acknowledging history and context and power dynamics, and approaching the community with humility
  • Defining and assessing needs. Acknowledge community needs and priorities, even when they don’t align with your program.
  • Co-developing approaches and prototyping, and elevate community voices through tangible implementations
  • Testing and learning — small pilots can lead to big policy changes. But planners have to learn if the implementation meets the goals and needs of the community. 
  • Invite diverse co-creators. Bring people together with different perspectives, experiences, values and expertise. 
  • Create accountability through a plan that includes setting expectations and responsibilities for each entity. Plus, something for city practitioners to think about: How can you remain accountable to the community?

The event ended with a group activity and a Q&A!

To stay up-to-date with this event, keep up with our daily blogs and follow the hashtag #2020BikeRoundtable on Twitter!

Done with Day 1? Keep up with our other recaps:

The Better Bike Share Partnership is a JPB Foundation-funded collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the PeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or sign up for our weekly newsletter. Story tip? Write farrah@peopleforbikes.org.