The dust is still settling from Jeff Speck’s monumental study on walkability. Not only did Jeff address downtown, his original scope, but also the northwest neighborhood and South Dixie. Very exciting times. Included are specific ways to make our streets safer, more comfortable for all users, more attractive and desirable, and ultimately lead to a higher tax base and more retail sales. Most of these ideas are low cost and just require paint to restripe lanes and make better use of our existing infrastructure.
You have to expect resistance whenever change is proposed. On the City’s Facebook posting, a number of people have objected, although the overall sentiment is very positive for the changes. As these things go, usually the opponents come out in droves in social media and meetings, but the supporters have much less to say. We need to flip that if we want to see these changes carried out.
Mayor Muoio, to her credit, is open to trying new things and supports walkability. She alludes to the fight ahead, however:
Folks, we need you, now. These action items are going to come before the commission soon, and if we don’t turnout, it will not happen. There are guaranteed to be opponents there because maintaining the status quo is always the path of least resistance. We need to speak up, and I’m personally asking for your help.
Here are four ways you can support the changes proposed
1. Most important: Attend city meetings and express your opinion at public comment or on written comment card. Or if you cannot make the meeting, write the commissioners or applicable public officials, and tell them you support the walkability study recommendations. We’ll keep you notified of important city meetings on the blog and also on the Walkable West Palm Beach calendar.
2. Follow the blog. From the homepage, enter your email into the box at top right. Then you won’t miss original content or meeting notices. Also, like on Facebook, and share with friends.
3. Become a guest blog contributor on a topic you care about. Or write about issues of livable streets, urbanism, and walkability in your neighborhood. There is so much going on in the northend, southend, downtown, and at the county level that more contributors are needed to cover it all.
4. Last but not least VOTE in municipal elections – county and city level. Support those candidates who support these principles!
– Jesse Bailey, founder of Walkable West Palm Beach