Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This holiday season, the Columbus Foundation President and CEO Doug Kridler has announced their organization is prepared to give back to the community in honor of their 75th anniversary. It is a gift we could not be more excited about: the gift of mobility that can be used to explore our community.
For one day in December, the foundation will fund all rides on COTA buses, making all transit routes free on Dec. 29. Referred to as “The Big Explore”, the foundation is working with many of the community’s cultural institutions including the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, COSI, the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio History Center, Franklin Park Conservatory and Wexner Center for the Arts to fund free admission to ensure all barriers are removed so our community members can explore many of our cultural and community assets.
This is an unprecedented level of grassroots support for public transportation and families in Columbus and signals to everyone what we already know: Mobility is vital to this community. We are thrilled Doug and the foundation thought to partner with us.
As we look toward 2019, this act of generosity is an inspiration and a reminder that as Central Ohio thrives, we must keep our neighbors’ access to transportation top of mind or risk leaving people behind. Our collective success depends on the success of every person and family in this region.
With warmest regards,
Joanna M. Pinkerton
Mobility in the Community
Catherine Girves, Executive Director, Yay! Bikes
Mission: To influence the conditions that help people safely and comfortably ride bicycles for transportation.
How do you see public transportation integrating with bicycles? Public transportation and bicycles are key partners in a strong transportation system. Traveling by bicycle is fantastic, but some trips might not be possible by bike because of length, weather conditions or route. Transit is a wonderful solution for commuter bicyclists in those scenarios. Travelers interested in relying on transit for most trips might struggle with difficult first- or last-mile solutions or needing to travel home from a second-shift job or to a third-shift job. In those scenarios, a bicycle is a perfect compliment. When transit and bikes are combined and thought of as a single mode, they become one of the most efficient and accessible forms of transportation.
What’s the most exciting thing going on at your organization? We are very excited about working to move our Ride Buddy program out of the pilot phase and into a permanent program available to everyone in the MORPC region. The Ride Buddy program was inspired in part by work at COTA. In Ride Buddy, a trained leader meets someone who wants to travel by bike at their origination and guides them on a thoughtfully planned route to their destination. On several Ride Buddy rides during our pilot, we encountered people who were interested in using a bus for part of their trip but were incredibly nervous about mounting their bike on the rack on the bus. It is such a delight to show people how easy it is, to see their faces light up as they master the task, and watch as they realize all the new destinations that are possible by combining these two modes.
What do you see on the horizon for transportation in Central Ohio? With more compact development patterns, central Ohio is poised to increase adoption of sustainable modes of transportation like transit, biking, walking and shared-use vehicles. This is fantastic for all sorts of reasons. Sustainable transportation clearly creates better health outcomes for individuals and communities. But there are other benefits people often don’t realize. Replacing a car trip with a bike or bus trip can be perceived to take longer. But when the time to find a parking space and then walk from that parking space to a destination is factored into the trip, people are often amazed that it can save time (as well as money) to travel by bike or bus. I’ve also noticed when people travel by bike or bus, they are in a better state of mind when they reach their destination than when they travel isolated in a car in congested conditions. Sustainable modes of transportation have been shown to increase social cohesiveness, safety and other indicators of a good quality of life. It is not unusual to pick up a recipe from someone on the bus traveling home from the grocery store, or to find myself in conversation with a stranger at a traffic light when I’m traveling by bike. Traveling with other people allows me to fall in love with my community on a daily basis. I’m excited that we are working to make it easier to say “yes” to these modes of transportation.