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Lets Talk about Sustainable Transportation

On Wednesday night we went to the City Club of Cleveland for a program concerning "Sustainable Transportation" that was presented in the "Pechakucha" format in which 10 speakers would have 6 minutes and 40 seconds each to make a presentations while 20 slides were shown for 20 seconds each.

The "Pechakucha" was coordinated by Ms. Emily Baca while Mr. Matthew Gray, Director of the Mayor's Office of Sustainability, coordinated the speakers. Mr. Gray said that the 10 speakers were all very "dynamic" individuals who would offer innovative perspectives.

Before we proceed further, let us state that the Center for Sustainable Transportation in Ontario defines a "sustainable transportation" system as one that "allows the basic needs of individuals and societies to be met safely and in a manner consistent with human and ecosystem health, and with equity within and between generations; is affordable, operates efficiently, offers choice of transport mode; and supports a vibrant economy; limits emissions and waste within the planet's ability to absorb them, minimizes consumption of non-renewable resources, limits consumption of renewable resources to the sustainable yield level, reuses and recycles its components, and minimizes the use of land and the production of noise."

During the course of the presentations, subjects explored included bike friendliness; closing the streets to motor vehicles on occasion to promote alternative modes of transportation; existing transportation resources in Cleveland and how to best utilize them; how changes in culture are reflected by modes of transportation; the history and future of electric vehicles; the advantages of shipping by water; sustainable infrastructure; and the history of transportation, itself, in Cleveland.IMG_2728

Mr. Gray was certainly right; the speakers were all "dynamic" and these 10 individuals were Mr. Austin McGuan, Attorney with Squire Patton Boggs;Ms. Allison Lukacsy, Architect and Community Projects Manager with the City of Euclid; Mr. Ja'Ovvoni Garrison, Program Coordinator with the Public Square Group; Mr. Jimmy Smith, Ohio EV Solutions; Ms. Margaret Hewitt, President of The Construction Green Team; Mr. Adie Tomer, Fellow with the Brookings Institute; Mr. Freddy L. Collier, Jr., Planning Director of the City of Cleveland; Ms. Calley Mersmann, from "ciCLEvia"; Mr. William D. Friedman, President and CEO of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority; and Mr. IMG_2734Brad Masi, Filmmaker.

A particularly interesting presentation was that of Ms. Lukacsy who talked about "Bus Stop Moves" which posts simple aerobic instructions on bus stop canopies so that people can exercise while they wait for their buses. There are now postings at three bus stops in the Collinwood area but 20 more are slated to occur throughout Collinwood and the Cleveland area in September.

We also liked it when Mr. Garrison spoke of his work with "Skaters Next Door" whose goal is "to demonstrate how the disciplines developed in skateboarding can give guidance and awareness towards environmental, community development, health, and educational issues." This is done by offering skateboarding lessons and service missions in which a "shared community building experience" is created. We do not skateboard but we know of those who do and it seems like it is an effective mode IMG_2736of transportation when the proper awareness is exercised.

After thinking about it, we believe that the reason that Ms. Lukacsy and Mr. Garrison stood out was because their subject matter was offbeat and therefore less likely to be familiar to us. But, let us emphasize, all of the speakers were excellent and all of their made significant contributions to the much-needed to be discussed topic of "sustainable transportation."

For this event, the City Club was quite crowded so we saw several people there that we knew including Mr. Mike Foley, Cuyahoga County Sustainability Director who marched with us on behalf of Ohio State Senator Mike Skindell at the 4th of July parade in Lakewood; Mr. Joe Calabrese, Chief Executive Officer with Greater Cleveland RTA; Ms. Jessica Whale, Director of Global Talent and Economic Development at Global Cleveland; and Ms. Grace Ciptak who we sat with the previous evening at the "Happy Dog Takes on the World" event regarding human trafficking.

Other people who we encountered there at the City Club were Mr. Thomas L. Jelepis, former Mayor of Bay Village who attended a fundraiser years ago at the home of Ms. Margaret W. Wong, and Mr. Mike Cassidy who told us that his son attended University School with Ms. Wong's son.

We shared a table with Mr. Christopher Toddy, President of the American Institute of Architects. We talked about the obstacles that architects from other countries have to overcome before they would be allowed to work in the United States and what Margaret W. Wong and Associates could possibly to assist them.


Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC


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