Rachel Windsor | December 19, 2022
2022 saw TransportationCampPGH back in the real world and it was a blast! Over 70 people joined us for the one-day event. It was a time to connect and reconnect with mobility-minded allies, challenge perspectives and ideas about transportation, and gain renewed energy for the coming year. In this blog, we’ll share with you some of the highlights from conversations we had at TCampPGH.
The city of Pittsburgh was built before cars—meaning the streets were designed people-first, not car-first. Yet, in many areas, pedestrians and bicyclists are in danger because of our deference to the car. We routinely see cars parked on sidewalks and in bike lanes. This also disproportionately impacts the disabled, who become unable to use sidewalks. Oversized SUVs drive down streets with significant blind spots that cause them to miss pedestrians.
So what needs to change?
Maybe we don’t need cars to be on every street. Many cities have begun blocking cars from busy areas so people can walk safely. Or, we could better utilize actual bollards to reduce car speeds and protect bike lanes. Even basic street redesign can help save lives: cobblestone streets are an effective tool for traffic calming, especially in Pittsburgh.
One thing that everyone agreed on: there are many solutions from around the world. But car culture is the hardest thing to change.
Urban density and suburban sprawl have always been hot topics in the transportation world. We know that density can help mitigate climate change, reduce the need for private autos, allow people to be closer to all essential places, and limit the use of land. One of the challenges is how to allow people choice over where they live, while still allowing equitable access to transit, and still create communities that are affordable.
There are many challenges we face in transportation advocacy. You need to know how to translate passion into action, how to get elected officials on board with your ideas, build strong and adaptable partnerships, and maintain motivation even when progress is slow. That is why making new connections and having new conversations is vital to advocacy efforts. Community-centered events, like TCamp, provide an outlet for advocates to recharge, regroup, and renew their efforts for better transportation and development.
Speaker Session with Vince Valdes and Beth Osborne
We ended the day by having an open discussion with Vince Valdes, Executive Director and CEO of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, and Beth Osborne, President of Transportation For America. The two featured speakers talked about a wide range of issues: transportation politics post-election, the future of transportation in our region, and how to promote better transportation and mobility for all.
These were just a few of the many important topics covered at TCampPGH. The conversations haven’t ended, just because the event did. We continue to work with established and new partners on these issues and many more, with new ideas, energy, and focus. Mobilify looks forward to hosting this event again in 2023 and hope to see you there!