Transportation expert will speak next week on transforming RVA

A transportation consultant with nearly 20 years experience will be in town next week to give his thoughts on how RVA can transform its transportation.

A leading transportation strategist will be in town next week to discuss ways Richmond can address its transportation needs.

Jeffrey Tumlin, a multimodal transportation planning expert with NelsonNygaard,1 a transportation consultancy based in San Francisco, will speak at a transportation forum titled Transportation Transformations for Richmond on April 16th beginning at 6:00 PM.

“The theme of a lot of my talk is going to be about the simple things that cities can do to help achieve their economic development…by getting their transportation priorities in alignment with regards to their larger goals,” Tumlin said by phone last week about the talk, organized by Partnership for Smarter Growth.

Winner of the 2003 Achievement Award for Real Property Innovation for the NASA Research Park Plan, and an award-winner for his redesign of Seattle’s waterfront and downtown parking solutions, Tumlin’s work spans nearly 20 years and often emphasizes minimizing negative impacts of population growth.

“There are many cities that haven’t been effectively updated since the 1950s.” He said questions that Richmonders, and residents in other cities, should now ask are, “what makes streets safer, and also what makes streets more economically successful?”

One issue he’ll address is parking.

“Parking is critically important for the economic success of cities and residential quality of life,” Tumlin said. “But often cities don’t manage parking as well as they could.” For instance, he said that office building parking lots can be used for restaurants and other businesses after the end of the work day–just one example of parking “that is shared for a broad array of different uses.”

He said Richmond, like other cities, is trying to figure out if its transportation identity is one based on walkability, bicycling, etc., or one based on driving. Tumlin believes an effective transportation system should be a mix of these.

“The one size fits all future doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “[Richmond] needs to take different approaches for different neighborhoods.” However, he believes that walkability is vital for any thriving city. “Great cities live or die based on the quality of walking abilities,” he said.

While Tumlin is a professional, he said residents don’t have to be specialists to play a role in developing their city’s transportation viability. One of the most important assets is simply being aware of what’s around us.

“It’s essential for average citizens to learn more about how cities work and to make critical observations,” he said. “All of us can be trained to be observers. All of us can be trained to see connections.”

Jeffrey Tumlin’s talk on Transportation Transformations for Richmond is Tuesday, April 16th from 6:00 – 9:00 PM at the Main Street Station. Admission is free.

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  1. NelsonNygaard is currently working with the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County to help redesign the Hull Street corridor. 

photo by taberandrew

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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