Next Steps for #DirectDOT

by Liz Cornish, Executive Director

Yesterday was the first meeting of the Transportation Committee of Mayor-Elect Pugh’s transition team. As I sat in a room with twenty other people selected to serve our next Mayor and assist in shaping the goals of her administration, I took a moment to appreciate how even just being asked to serve was a victory for bike advocacy.

Bikemore is a young organization. And I am new to Baltimore, having only moved here in the Spring of 2015. But in that short time, we have worked to establish ourselves as valuable stakeholder when it comes to having input into transportation policy for the city. How did we do it? We have all of you. Our 3000+ network of members and supporters — the people who give generously to the people who retweet a blog post — you all played a part in helping us achieve a seat at the table.

After an election, it can be enticing to take a step back. To disengage from the level and intensity of civic engagement an election often asks us to make. I implore you to resist that temptation. Because right now, decisions are being made that will set the course for the next four years. And while I have confidence in the folks gathered around the table at the transportation committee meeting yesterday, what I sensed is that there is a still a disconnect between wanting to believe in bold ideas, and actually implementing them. We need you to keep the pressure on, and let them know that residents from every neighborhood in Baltimore are asking for these improvements to transit, to walking, and to biking. That making the city safe for biking and walking isn’t only a carrot that we dangle in front of a millennial workforce we hope to attract, but that safety is fundamental to the quality of life of all residents — especially those most in need of transportation. That the economic and public health benefits of designing a city that is safe for biking and walking are something that we shouldn’t have to advocate for, but that should be the standard of good government.

Our #DirectDOT campaign centered on making sure that your voice was included in this transition of leadership. That whomever Mayor-Elect Pugh selects to lead the agency, should be someone that has progressive ideas of how to make the best use of our city’s resources. So keep posting your ideas on social media. Make sure your posts are set to public so we can archive them and share them as we work on the transition team. Additionally, we invite you all to use the Mayor-Elect’s transition website to provide input.

We all have a role to play in shaping the city where we want to live. Keep engaging, keep asking questions, and keep fighting. Because if I’ve learned anything from this past year’s success — it’s when we fight, we win.