About 40 Tupelo residents, including two City Council people and Mississippi Department of Transportation staff, discussed the benefits that a community transportation system would bring to the city. They discussed how community transportation would increase commerce by moving people to jobs and shopping areas.
“People are ready to convert how many cars they own to how convenient they can live their lives. Now a lot people as long as they can drive, they will, and they should,” said Dan Burden, who facilitated the workshop. But walkable communities with community transportation provide more options for people to get around, he said.
Burden is Executive Director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute in Port Townsend, WA. The Institute’s mission is to create healthy, connected communities that support active living and that advance opportunities for all people through walkable streets, livable cities and better built environments.
During the walking tour, Burden pointed out street intersections that had the potential for walking injuries and lawsuits. Burden also discussed simple steps to improve streets. For example, crosswalks could be painted. He also said street lanes could be reduced to encourage drivers to drive slower. He also suggested not using land for parking. Instead, he suggests adding parking spots on the streets.
Burden also discussed the importance of trees. “A tree is your friend,” Burton said. “A tree gives back far, far more money in its lifetime than it costs to plant it.”
Burden also presented information to the Tupelo mayor and City Council during the City Council meeting. AARP and members of the community group now are preparing next steps.