TRANSCRIPT: Inclusive Transportation with Veronica O. Davis πŸš‡

Happy New Year, Future Ancestors!

I’m excited to kick off the new year with a new episode featuring Veronica O. Davis, author of Inclusive Transportation: A Manifesto for Repairing Divided Communities. You can listen to it here:

Also, congratulations to Kristen C. for winning a free copy of Inclusive Transportation! Thank you to everyone who participated and if you’re here having just joined, welcome! You can purchase your own copy here.

Below is the transcript for the episode itself:

TRANSCRIPT: Inclusive Transportation with VOD

Veronica: People don't go to vacation as they are not got a new car and there's no windows. Now, they might go to a conference, which is different, but in terms of planning a vacation. Think about where people go to vacation. So people go to Orlando, they want to go see Mickey. But what happens when they get there? They park the car and they get on the shuttle. Shuttle takes on where they need to go. They walk around the park, get on another show. So they staycation in the place, but they can't see it where they live. And so I think it's important to frame that for people as you take the time to go to places that that have what you could have at home. And this is how you get there.

Awoe: Welcome future ancestors to fostering our earth. A space for imagining and detailing what our sustainable future can really look like. I'm your host. I'll wave my will. Now, one year in coming our way and I interview practitioners who are working to transition us into this future in their respective fields, whether that be energy, mobility, food, housing, and so much more. That clip you just heard about Vacationing in Walkable Communities was from my interview with Veronica Davis, author of Inclusive Transportation A Manifesto for Repairing Divided Communities. Veronica is a self-described transportation nerd who uses her knowledge to spark progressive social change in her communities. Her current role sees her as director of transportation and drainage operations in Houston, Texas. But she's done so much more in the world of planning and engineering. She's worked on projects to build and improve bike lanes, install green infrastructure to hold stormwater and improve sidewalks to accommodate children and folks with disabilities. Like I said, she's most recently added author to a long list of accolades by writing inclusive transportation. In it, she brings all her experience to create this active and reflective guide for readers to rethink how we design mobility systems in the name of equity and justice. Veronica explains why centering people in transportation decisions requires a great shift in how transportation planners and engineers are trained, how they communicate, the kinds of data they collect, and how they work as professional teams. As I read inclusive transportation, I literally could not stop taking notes and highlighting its key lessons. So I figured I share them with you all. I'm super pleased to be joined by Veronica for this special episode of Fostering Our Earth.

Also, to celebrate the end of one year of facing Earth. I'll be giving away a free copy of inclusive transportation. The winner will be announced on Instagram in a couple of days. So check it out and stay in the loop for future giveaways. As always, I jump in and out to narrate parts of this interview. So heads up.

I also want to draw attention to the various human rights struggles happening across the world, whether they be in Palestine, in Yemen, in Sudan or the Congo. and inclusive future is one where everyone's right to shelter. Food, water and housing is upheld to the highest standard without any form of oppression. Wherever you are, keep fostering our earth today with your voice for a better future tomorrow. Okay. Without further ado, let's get it. Here is my interview with Veronica Davis.

Part I: Introduction, Engagement, and Power


Veronica: all right. Well, thank you for having me. My name is Veronica, middle initial O, last name Davis. Um, I'm a stickler for the O cause there's other Veronica Davises out there, but if you use the O, you can find me. Um, currently I am the director of transportation and drainage operations for the city of Houston.

Um, but my views today on the podcasts are my own and are not a reflection on the city of Houston.

Awoe: Awesome. Veronica, it's really great to have you. And I'm glad you clarified with the, oh, cause like, I was like writing your name in like my notes and everything. I kept writing Veronica Davis and I'm like. You know what, like, like who's, who's, who's ever picky about their middle name? But I'm like, but it's not, not, not a bad way.

I say that not in a, in a bad way at all. Um, but yes, first, uh, I just want to say like, I really enjoyed inclusive transportation. I have it with me. Uh, this is my copy and I read it over the last month. You know, just when I'm on the train in LA, and I literally could not help but write in it. Like, if you look through my copy, it's just like, scribbles all [00:01:00] over the place of like, I'll like, highlight a passage and put exclamation points or like, or underline, or I'll be like, keep for later, and I'm just like, felt like a Like a college student, like try to get ready for a class.

And so first, thank you for writing it. And I guess the first question that I have is just like, what does mobility mean to you? And what does a sustainable mobility system look like?

Veronica: Um, so honestly, mobility, what mobility means to me is people have choices. Um, I know that, uh, even though I jokingly have a chapter of should there be a war on cars and I don't ever really answer the question, but you know, to me, it's really about people having options. I think that anytime you leave your home, you should have.

Whether you want to take transit today, or you want to take, you want to walk, or you want a bike, that is truly mobility of, you have the ability to get to where you need to go, work, play, school, fun, you know, to be able to get [00:02:00] there and have as many options available to you, um, and that's really what it looks like for me.

And from a sustainability perspective, that's also what it looks like. I think many people live in communities where if you don't have a car, you can't meet your basic needs. With the introduction of, you know, the different, kind of, you know, the food, when you have food delivered to your house, make things a little bit easier, but overall, there's many people who live in very car dependent communities, and they're unable to meet their basic needs if they're unable to drive.

And so that's not sustainable. Sustainability is, even as your life needs change, within your community, you shouldn't be impacted. So, as an example, today I'm able bodied. If I break my foot tomorrow and I'm unable to drive, it shouldn't change my ability to get around. Um, and that to me is sustainability.

Awoe: I love it. And I think that when we think about. Sustainability and [00:03:00] mobility, we really start to think about our own privileges and, you know, even the privilege of being able to walk and be able bodied, you know, and that's something we very much all take for granted. One thing I really took away from your book, was the idea or it was the core idea of like engagement, you know, and like thinking about what does engagement really mean?

What does it actually mean? Look like in practice. I actually, I don't know if you remember this, but we met once before. Um, I was previously interning at RKNK in Baltimore, not Baltimore, in DC. And it was a public meeting, uh, for Connecticut Avenue and you were with Inspire Green and I was there, we had a public meeting and it was. We're making changes to Connecticut Avenue in DC and a group of folks showed up, uh, asking why we didn't have bike lanes on the project.

Uh, and they, the crowd got kind of rowdy, and like, they were really feeling it. And I remember sort of, maybe I had [00:04:00] to buy badge that said I was part of the design team, as an intern, and I was just feeling like kind of tense. And I was like, what do we do? Because we've, we've made, we've designed things already.

We've done the study already. And now we're sort of like engaging with the, with the community. And it's like, what do we do now? And I remember the next day going into the office and. You know, discussing that with my, with my manager and thinking like, what does this mean? Like if what's engagement, if we are already designing things, but then like asking the community for their feedback, like what about folks who weren't even at the meeting?

Like if these people who are here had these, you know, experiences and things they wanted to say, like, what about folks who couldn't even make it, you know, for whatever millions of possible reasons. And so I guess my question then to you is like, what does engagement actually mean and what does it actually look like?

Veronica: Um, you know, engagement really is working with, um, the community, uh, to get to an end result. I think the challenging part is the community may not be [00:05:00] all on the same page. And I do share in the book, sometimes there's not going to be consensus. And that's okay. But it is still making sure that you did hear everybody and you were responding to what they feel like are their concerns.

And so, in some cases, someone say, this is going to create traffic and you can respond and say, we don't based on what we see and based on our analysis. Here's the result and it in traffic should not be bad or traffic may be bad for 30 minutes. Um, I think to me, that's engagement. It's not necessarily and it's hard.

About giving the community everything it wants, because the community may be divided in what it wants. And I am very, in, in, in chapter four, which actually was my favorite chapter to write, you know, I talk about the different stakeholders. And sometimes you do get the naysayers and the champions and those are the ones that are always going to show up at a meeting and they're passionate about it and it can feel like this divide and [00:06:00] in the middle of these silently suffering who are always left out and always forgotten and never included and never considered.

Um, and so that's the perspective I try to take. It's all right, but there are people who are biking because it's, you know, it's very clear. Oh, no one bikes. No one walks. Yeah, they do. You just don't do it or you don't see them because they're moving at a time that you can't see. And so I do share, um, that sometimes on projects it is problematic where you do know what you want to do and you're just trying to get everybody there.

And sometimes you got to be honest. Hey, we already know what we want to do. And so, you know, let's talk about it and let's talk about what is on the table. I think that's perfectly fine as long as you're honest. I think where, um. Governments get themselves in trouble is to pretend like, oh, you know, we're, you know, exploring, we're looking, you know, we, you know, everything's on the table.

If everything's not on the table, be honest and be honest about why everything isn't on the table. And sometimes that is [00:07:00] going to be guardrails of, uh, like, let's say right now, sidewalk projects, any city I've ever worked in, sidewalk projects are the single hardest project to do. People are emotional about sidewalks and you know, there are times when people are like, I don't want a sidewalk, and the law may say there needs to be a sidewalk on one side or both sides of the street. And so, therefore, you're approaching engagement from a different perspective of we're putting a sidewalk. Here is the language in the law that says we need to install the sidewalk.

It's not, now what's up for debate is how much we move here, there, and here's, here's where we can have conversations. Um, and I think it's important. I talk about that in the book. It's very important to understand. What you can and can't do and make sure that the community is clear on what you can and can't do and why you can or can't do it.

Awoe: No, yeah, absolutely. I've had, you know, both from your book, but also from my own experience, like folks thinking [00:08:00] sidewalks sort of represents a sign of even, you know, whether it's gentrification or a lot or even bike lanes as a sign of gentrification and there's sort of. Fear and misconception about it.

And, you know, in your book, you also talk about, you know, historical, distrust that have, you know, sort of built up with, you know, the public or the community members and, uh, planners, engineers in the communities who've, you know, come and gone and promises failed or promises broken or not kept fully, you know, and it's really all about really all about communication.

And so to that, like to planners who might be. What advice do you have, on revising their community engagement processes so that it's not so, you know, just check the boxy as you say, or what words do you have for them?

Veronica: So when I think before you even get to that, I think what you said is important is communication. Unfortunately, for both planners, engineers. We don't really learn how to communicate. We write a report, [00:09:00] and I can always tell new planners, uh, it's a very, it's very planner speak in every report that they, they write in.

I will say, I think the, the first step for planners and engineers is really focus on communication. And that's two pieces. That's written communication, learning how to write plain language. I know that there's a plainlanguage. gov website that the federal government put together, but beyond that, even taking writing classes I Where you can learn to take this technical gobbledygook and make it accessible to people.

The better you are at writing, the better you are at communicating. Similarly to that, learning how to speak publicly. And different types of public speaking. So whether it is learning how to convey a message.

Which also starts at writing, because if you understand the message that you are attempting to get across, you can then speak that message. But the other part is, you know, learning how to do Q& A. [00:10:00] I think what a lot of people fall apart, and I've gotten better at because I'm not going to say I'm perfect, is not being able to listen to the question that someone is asking.

Of truly not being listening to respond, but truly listening to the question. Asking clarify, like, so wait, let me make sure I'm clear. What you're asking is ABCD and that person can say, yes, that's what I'm asking. Or no, what I really mean is this. I think that is the most important skill. So we can talk about, y'all can read chapter five to learn about, you know, how to get engagement in the technical process together.

Y'all can do that, but really at an individual level, taking the time to to perfect your communication skills. And that is, um, an ongoing process. And it's important to do this, you know, Toastmasters is a great example of, you know, learning how to communicate improv, um, take improv classes. That's a great example of how to think on the fly and be creative on the fly and [00:11:00] respond, right?

Improv isn't just about making up your own thing. It's about listening to what your partners are saying and then being able to respond with the new idea. So it doesn't have to be something like a rigid class. But to me, that is the most important is communication.

Awoe: You're totally right. And, you know, in my short career so far, I'm already seeing how it's a skill that takes time, to really developed, you know, like I've written in school and, you know, I could, I could write, I could submit a paper, but this is real life. Communicating and that it takes time so, yeah, thanks for sharing.

In your book, you also talk about power, and how there are different types of people who hold power. Their power comes from different places. Um, and this next question is really aimed towards not quite the planners or the engineers who might be listening, but for the everyday person, could you briefly explain? Like, who are the different types of people who hold power?

And, [00:12:00] why it's important that community members not just pay attention to, like, the big national elections that happen every four years, because that's sort of like the big one. And maybe, you know, we get some hype for the every two years, but you know, there are different people who have the ability to make decisions.

And so, yeah, just, if you just talk briefly to that,

Veronica: Absolutely. Um, so I talk about power, uh, and there are people, people who have power and it can look like a lot of different things so there are people like me. I have power by nature of my job and, what has been stowed upon me to make decisions on behalf of my team. But then you have project managers that have a certain level of power and autonomy, and they may have to do some check ins, um, but they have, they have power.

But then you also think about, you know, when it comes to elected officials, all, all politics are local. That's like kind of the truest statement. I think we can get so caught up, presidential elections, but really it's whoever is your mayor, your council [00:13:00] member, alderman, commissioner, whatever the title is.

You know, that is the person that most has an impact on your day to day life. And it's important to understand, um, what is the role of that person or group or entity. Um, making sure you are engaged with that person or group or entity and looking at ways that even as a citizen, that you can be engaged in the process.

And so sometimes it could be going to a public meeting, but there's always advisor, every day. City USA has a bicycle advisory group, this advisory group, a planning advisory group, what have you. But that's an opportunity as a citizen to join in and make sure your voice is heard, you know, as these groups advise the groups that maybe make the decision, but all of that becomes very important because your elected officials are accountable to you, whether you voted for them or not.

And if they don't feel like they are accountable to you, then you need to go get some new [00:14:00] ones. Um, and so making sure that you are taking that time to engage in the process at all levels, because there are things that are affecting you that, frankly, the decision maker is right in your own community.

Awoe: Absolutely and in a way there are decisions that are happening all the time. And you talk about, you know, the silently suffering in the book, but also in a way, it's like there are people who have no choice but to, you know, like, I'm too busy, I have other things going on in my life, I can't afford to care for some of these things, not because they don't want to care, but just because they have other priorities, but at the same time, you know, there are things that are happening that are, whether it's highways that are being expanded that cause you to be driving longer or put you more at risk of, getting into a car accident or spend more time in traffic and that is impacting your life or otherwise.

Worsening trend like transit services get cut [00:15:00] and that means your bus comes less frequently. And now it takes you longer to get to work as a result. And so it's like, it really is all connected. And it's important that folks are thinking about. Things that happen that might be happening here, but like come back down to our, our, our daily life. Um,

Veronica: and I think that's where we can get very distracted. We're distracted by the noise of what is happening at the national level. But good, bad, or otherwise, you know. Governments can do more regardless of what that entity is, whether it's a transit agency, a department of transportation or whatever, don't get me wrong.

I'm not, I'm not holding anyone off the hook, but also as a citizen, you might be too busy to go to a meeting, but there's always a survey. There's always a survey somewhere, even for bus riders, you know, there's always a QR code. There's a, you know, usually sign. Now, you might not pay attention to it because you're in your world, but there is a sign that says, Hey, [00:16:00] Give us your feedback.

Give feedback. I mean, those are little things that you can do. You're all on the bus anyway. Everybody has a smartphone. You know, take a picture. Alright, let me do my little survey on your 20 minute bus ride. Um, so I do think it's important for citizens to take control where they can. And part of that is, um, not get distracted by what's happening there and truly taking the time to just pay attention to what is happening local.

And you, it's okay if you don't make a meeting, but there's always a survey that you can complete. There's always a something you can do, or, um, you can always send a letter to your council member to the, whomever to say, Hey, I wasn't able to make the meeting, but I support this project. Um, and that's one thing I will say is that there are so many people who support a project that assume that it's going to happen and they don't need to provide feedback.

If you support a project, just send an email, it could be simple as I support this project. You know, or I support it [00:17:00] and here's the things I like about it, but what happens is the naysayers organize and they will know their email campaign and you might assume, well, I assume it's going to move forward. No one make any assumptions if you are, if you like something, send an email to say you like it.

If you're indifferent, say, Hey, I live in the community. I'm good either way, but just send an email. It doesn't have to be a long email, but always make sure to comment and provide that feedback.


Awoe: So far we've discussed community engagement and power in the planning world. With engagement, Veronica says. It's really all about clear communication with power. She acknowledges that there are so many different forms of power and stresses the importance of staying engaged locally. This could look like joining some specific advisory group in your neighborhood or responding to a survey about a project in your community. You can read more about these topics and ideas in Chapters four and five of the book. For the next part of the interview, I ask a question related to codifying future design targets and the book's first chapter, Veronica describes how traffic models are based on volume and historical growth and trends. The big problem with this is that it leads to us over estimating future traffic volumes and when our main form of accommodating traffic volume growth has historically been expanding roadways and adding more lanes, this only creates more congestion. We can talk more about induced demands another time, but Veronica's point here is that it's important that we think about what we want our mobility futures to really look like and then work backward to achieve it. On page 33, she says, For example, if you want a future where 80% of trips are made by public transit, walking and biking, you need to develop a plan to get there. In contrast, if today you are only at 10% and you use the historical growth models, our outcomes and goals will look completely different. Now, let's hear what Veronica has to say about all of this.

Part II: Designing the Future, Unarresting Mobility, and Final Takeaways

Awoe: absolutely. Yeah, this is great. One of my favorite parts of your book, was the idea of like designing for the future that you want. I've created this space to help folks imagine what a sustainable future looks like, because we talk about sustainability all the time. Uh, but. People don't know what that can look like and how we actually get there, uh, when we translate that to, practicalities, you know, 1 thing you were saying was like, if in a city's general or comprehensive plan, you know, they say, you know, in 2050, we want to be [00:18:00] completely car free downtown, or set whatever that big target is and like, that sort of sets the constraint, you know, it's like, that's the vision.

That's the goal. It's the constraint for what we want to achieve. Therefore, everyone, all planners, every single decision has to fit into this plan. You know, we're sort of working within these constraints. A lot of the details you provide in the book, uh, are all about projects that require firms and individuals and like practitioners to like recognize and take it upon themselves to employing their practices for these projects, some of which might succeed, some of which might not, you know, might not pan out. My question to you is. What sort of, like, broader actions can we take to make it easier to employ the strategies that you've mentioned in your book, but also to, like to enable us to be bold enough to try and reach, 100 percent car free , in 20 years, you know, like, what are the, whether it's nationwide, statewide, like, what do we [00:19:00] need to get there?

Veronica: I'll say this. I think, um, engage young people. Young people have the ideas. I, um, I've done, um, several guest lectures, um, and led trainings for high school students. And it's interesting giving them parameters around equity and, you know, say, Hey, like, I want you to consider equity. Think about what you want to do.

Go, go solve the problem. What was most amazing to me is they. Came up with ideas that exceeded what I could even come up with, right? Like some of them were like, Oh no, we're going to do a sky transit, whether it works or not, but they were going to do a sky transit. And therefore we can take all of the streets and make them for people.

And like we can have sidewalk cafes and everything. These are teenagers. I mean, and teenagers from urban areas, suburban areas, um, mostly [00:20:00] black and brown kids. And so I think that if we want to get there, it's really about getting these young people engaged in the process because they are just brilliant.

Um, and they've grown up in a world, um, that's been different than the world that I grew up in. Even you, um, they've grown up in a world where they're, they're literally connected to the world. Right. They are literally with the, you know, they can learn anything. Um, I know that they were, they learn everything from TikTok.

Um, you know, they learn how to cut bangs and do everything using TikTok. And they can learn it from anyone in the world. So they're just so different. And I think that's what gets us there. The other piece of it is our imagination is limited by what's in front of us. If you think about where most people go on vacation, whether it's domestic or international, Where do they go?

They go in places that are walkable, right? You should have good transit of some sort because that's [00:21:00] what feels good, right? People don't go to vacation and say, oh, I'm not going to rent a car, I'm not going to do all this, oh, no one does that. Now they might go to a conference, which is different, but in terms of planning a vacation, think about where people go to vacation.

So people go to, you know, Orlando. They want to go see Mickey. But what happens when they get there? They park the car and they get on the shuttle. The shuttle takes them to where they need to go. They walk around the park, get on another shuttle. So they vacation in the place, but they can't see it where they live.

And so I think it's important to frame that for people of, you take the time to go to places that, that have what you could have at home. And this is how you get there.

Awoe: You're, you're totally right. You know, and it's like, sometimes folks go vacation in these places and they come back with some of these reflections and I'm like, we're so close. You're so close to seeing [00:22:00] that. That's what we're fighting for. That's what we're going for. You know, like we could have that too.

We need to, like, realize that and make sure that we could actualize it, you know? And so, you're, you're so right. And also on social media, you're right. I saw a statistic the other day, like, a lot of younger folks, TikTok is like their primary search engine too, which

Veronica: hmm.

Awoe: crazy to think about.

Veronica: they're not even using away like

Awoe: right.

They're like, what's a Google? Like it's just going straight to TikTok. but it also, at the same time, it shows a lot of potential for, you know, spreading information and spreading awareness and using it as a sort of educational tool. Hmm.

Veronica: trend wise, they're just not getting driver's license, you know, they aren't. I mean, if you look, I know the federal highway has been tracking, um, over time, uh, young people in driver's license and it's steady dropping. These young people aren't getting driver's license. And you know, someone asked me, I was like, well, some of it is just car insurance.

You know, a lot of these kids, you know, don't [00:23:00] have, there's no summer jobs like they used to. So having gas and all of that. And then for the ones that go to college, you think about any college town, USA, it's generally going to be self contained and walkable. You know, I went to grad school in Ithaca, New York was the middle of nowhere.

It's literally a city in an extremely rural area, but had absolutely phenomenal public transit. Um, so even though I had my car to get me in and out, I could go a week without ever moving my car because I could use the bus. I could walk to get to where I needed to go. And so. There's just no pressure for them.

So I know so many, I have a, one of my babysitter, I've got an army of babysitters. Cause I have, you know, I gotta make sure I have childcare. One of my babysitters, she doesn't drive at all. She refuses to drive. She's mid twenties,

Awoe: In Houston?

Veronica: to drive in Houston and refuses to drive and she gets around by Uber, Lyft or riding with other people, but she refuses to drive.

Awoe: Yeah. Oh, wow. Yeah. That's, that's absolutely impressive. I, I, I [00:24:00] live in LA and I'm car free and sort of like, recognizing that there's so many other systems that we like, you know, mobility and inclusive transportation. Like, it means it's multimodal. There's different ways to build this sort of system

Before we wrap up. 1 more question related to it. Then just talk about arrested mobility a bit, you know, we Charles Brown, you know, coined this term and it's primarily related to laws that police. Black and brown folks, marginalized folks in public spaces.

I had a table in the book that sort of outlined different ways that laws might police, folks mobility. The question I had to you was, How can planners and engineers, Uh, in what ways can the built environment help un arrest mobility? I know it's not quite policy, I know it's like laws that say, No jaywalking here, or You need to wear your helmets or, you know, [00:25:00] parking fines, you know, who folks can just pay the fine and park, keep parking wherever they want and not care about it.

But, how can a planner help sort of unarrest mobility, if that makes sense?

Veronica: Yeah, I think so. Part of it is you have to look at the data. And so what are you trying to do? I mean, engineering theoretically should always be kind of the first, you know, bite at the apple. If there is an area where it's unsafe, engineering should always be first and whether that is the design of the street, um, lighting on the street, adding in mid block crossings, they're jaywalking because they're trying to get to the bus stop and the bus stop is right there and no one wants to walk a half a mile out of the way.

You know, what is it that is, you know, I had, I had, um, I took a safety class and it was like, you either need to allow either disallow the behavior or allow the behavior. Those are really your only options and it's usually easier to find a way to allow the behavior, especially when it comes to, you know, bike and peds more than anybody.

It's [00:26:00] find a way to figure out how to allow the behavior. So engineering usually is the kind of the first bite of the apple. There's education, but education is hard. It's a little bit faster now because of social media, but education generally takes a generation. Um, if you think about seatbelts, you know, our parents generation seatbelt, nobody wore seatbelt.

Um, but now you're at, you know, 90 something percent compliance with seatbelt, but that took a generation to get to where we are and a lot of education, but there is a place for enforcement. I think the key is what are you enforcing? I think the problem is the way things are written is we're enforcing Generally the pedestrian.

So you, you went across and now I'm going to enforce upon you this ticket and I'm going to harass you because you walked in the middle of the street versus why is this person walking in the street? Or, we don't enforce the dangerous behavior and the dangerous behavior is really the person in the vehicle.

And is [00:27:00] it using their turn signal? Yeah, not really. I mean, the reality is someone fails to use their turn signal at worse. It's a side swipe. It's a bad day, but everyone walks away from it. Right? If you think about most turn signals, it's, oh, I didn't know you were turning sideswipe and we're annoyed, but we lived, we live another day.

But what is dangerous is speeding, you know, what is dangerous is running a red light. And so that to me is where the focus of enforcement needs to be. Cause I, at that point, I don't really care what color of your skin is. If you were driving 50 miles an hour in a 25, you were the problem. And I don't think, and I think the problem is we don't focus on that.

You know, we're trying to nitpick of, Oh, your front lights are out. Your back tail light is off. You're didn't use a turn signal. That little stuff. Don't get me wrong. It contributes, but it's usually going to be a crash. That is an annoyance more than anything. And the insurance companies will duke it out.

But it's really focusing on that truly. You know, dangerous behavior. [00:28:00] And I think that's the problem where we've misused enforcement, where we're using enforcement to stop behaviors, where we have it put in an environment that allows someone to make a different decision.

Awoe: you're totally right. And in some way, like, because of our dependence on cars or the way we make everything sort of car centric and give them the primary right of way for everything, you know, in a way, like, all of our mobility are arrested, you know, in some way, uh, not quite the definition, but like, Pedestrians and bikers and everyone else.

We have to sort of coerce ourselves to that. And you're right. Like, why is someone jaywalking? It's it's poor street design for that reason, you know, someone should be able to cross there. They should have to walk 2, 3 blocks before they get to do it across the street. And yeah, absolutely.

As we wrap up, just want to give you the space. You know, if you have a final call to arms [00:29:00] or anything for. Engineers planners, or just everyday community members who might be listening to this podcast.

Veronica: You know, I'll say, um, I do want to talk about the structure of my book. Um, I, I tried, I attempted to write a book that you had an opportunity to read it. And I just didn't sit with it, but also reflection. This is not a book you read and outline and you pat yourself on the back and you put it up. This is a book that you work.

And so I played with the title. Is it really a manifesto or is it a handbook? Um, but ultimately we went with manifesto, but part of it is, um, as you're reading, um, for those that haven't read it, you know, every chapter I end with a reflection moment. Because I want the reader to do work and whatever that looks like, and it's going to be different, um, depending on the type of reader you are, whether you're a planner or an engineer, but there is really something for everyone to take a time to reflect, um, throughout the book, there's going to be times when I want you to [00:30:00] reflect on what you think it is before I say what I think it is, um, and see, did you change?

Do you still think it's your way or did you modify or, or what have you? And so, you know, Um, I will say, if you pick up this book, you got to work. Um, it's the book that I wanted people to go back to multiple times. That book that sits on your desk. Um, and so, and then for everybody, regardless of whether you are just a citizen that happened to pick it up, um, a politician, a, uh, engineer planner.

Chapter six is probably the most critical. That's the call to action. Um, and it's a short term and a long term. Um, we got to be in this for the long haul, uh, and we can get there. We're, you know, we're on the cusp and I think that people can get impatient. Uh, because things aren't moving fast enough, but if you think about the civil rights movement, it didn't happen.

It wasn't like, okay, Rosa Parks sat down. She got tired. We had the bus boycott. And the next thing you know, we had a, we went over to Pettit [00:31:00] Bridge and then after that we had a law. Absolutely not. That was decades generational, you know, in the making to get to that point. And so we have to recognize that we're going to have to, we're going to be in this and we may take some lumps along the way, but it really is the long game.

Awoe: You're absolutely right. Veronica, thank you so much for joining me. I've really enjoyed not just reading your book, but speaking to you and learning from you. And yeah, I just want to say thank you so much.

Veronica: And thank you for having me and thank you for reconnecting.

Awoe: Absolutely.


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