Steppin' Out Magazine July 2015 - Page 10

Taking Mobile to the Next Level Memphis Vaughan Jr. A native Mobilian and editor of literary website, Feedback can be sent to: Mass Transit – Let’s Get Moving On a recent weeklong trip across country on Amtrak with stopovers in cities such as Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Portland and San Francisco, I had the opportunity to experience a variety of transportation modes. During this trip, my family and I rode the cross-country train, used mass transit in each city, rented a car to sightsee and when our vacation was over, we returned home by plane. We literally got a chance to partake of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” to borrow the title of the movie; but with far less comical incidents. The cities mentioned above are significantly larger than Mobile and they have a greater demand for mass transit especially in the form of heavy rail, light rail, trolleys, streetcars and buses. But, it’s not too soon for Mobile to be examining the viability of light rail and trolleys as a supplement to the existing bus systems. As the city aims for greater growth and improvement, being proactive and developing mass transit will be critical to our success. Light rail and trolley are viable options that can help alleviate congestion, allow movement around the city and serve as ways to spur tourism. Having mass transit also serves as a catalyst for residential and commercial development around stations and near transit lines. The Airport Blvd./Government St. corridor would be a great route for light rail. A light rail line could connect downtown with historic midtown neighborhoods, prime shopping areas, suburban neighborhoods and the airport. It could help alleviate the traffic nightmare on Airport Boulevard. Yes, it will take a major investment of funds but the future of the city will depend on whether we have adequate transportation to support its growth. Secondly, I strongly urge city, state and national leadership to restore Amtrak’s Sunset Limited rail line, which ran between New Orleans and Jacksonville. Our segment was not restored after service was disrupted by Hurricane Katrina. Restoring Amtrak provides another travel alternative along the Gulf Coast and links us to the rest of the country. It would enhance the communities along the coast in their efforts to attract visitors and businesses. Finally, another mode of transportation that is often thought of as a leisure activity is biking. The cities we visited and many others across the country strongly support biking by providing adequate bike lanes, trails, and means to accommodate bikes on public transportation and in public spaces. Mobile should put more emphasis on bike lanes and trails around the city to encourage bike use for commuting in addition to leisure use. Biking offers a variety of benefits... health, economic, environmental and enjoyment. If we are going to succeed with Airbus and attracting other global businesses, Mobile will have to improve its infrastructure for biking to meet the expectations that newcomers have when they move to the city. Mobile needs the transportation modes that I mentioned to be competitive and thriving. The emphasis on downtown development and urban living means that trolleys, light rail, Amtrak and bike lanes will need to be a part of this equation. Let’s get moving and encourage our leadership to make this happen. D Page 10 LEADERSHIP (continued from Page 08) Probate Court…Mr.Christopher L.Esfeller, Jr-Regions Financial Corporation… Mr. Jordan Gerheim-Starnes Davis Florie LLP…Mrs. Leslie Goula…Southern Care Hospice, Inc…Mrs.Tricia Graham-Roberts Brothers, Inc…Mrs.Angie GulledgeJunior League of Mobile…Mr.William Hanes-Southern Light…Mrs.Emily Minto Head-Housing First, Inc…Mrs. Kellie Hope-Consultant…Mr. Willis Hudson IsraelThe SSI Group, Inc…Mr. David Jack-Get Well Network…Mrs. Leah Ladner-Smith, Dukes & Buckalew, LLP…Dr. Paula McPhail-USA Womens & Childrens Hospital… Mrs. Marie Mhoon-Mobile Development Enterprises…Mr. Richard Mitchell-Mobile County Commission…Mrs. Heather Danielle Moore-Mobile County Circuit Court State of Alabama…Ms. Jessica Norwood-Emerging Changemakers Network… Ms. Shannon Oldenburg-Maynard, Cooper & Gale…Mrs. Melissa Philbrick RankinUnited States Probation Office…Dr.