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One Rouge Community Check -In - Week 156



Transportation describes the act of moving something or someone, whereas mobility describes the ability of a person to move or be moved. In short, the difference between transportation and mobility is the difference between a focus on equity and access. Addressing the mobility challenge calls for a paradigm shift in urban planning and encouraging ways to increase accessibility while reducing the need for transportation altogether. So what’s happening in Baton Rouge around mobility? Well, there are North Baton Rouge Mobility Projects. Complete Streets is addressing the issue of mobility in a comprehensive and equitable manner. There is also a feasibility study underway for the BR-NOLA Intercity Passenger Rail Project for LADOTD. Please, join us on Friday as we hear more about transportation and mobility from our featured speakers:

  • Rev. Alexis Anderson - ordained servant teacher, minister and founder and Executive Director of PREACH

  • Lynn Maloney-Mujica - Integrated Planning and Policy Department Manager, Gulf Coast District and HNTB/Statewide Complete Streets Committee (DOTD)

  • Kim Williams - Humana Director, Health Equity, Population Health, & Community Engagement

We also have a very special announcement coming from our Transportation & Mobility coalition.


Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!


 

Notes

Cheri Soileau: You've heard about the transportation committee and we're starting it. We're gonna have a meeting next Thursday, pepper ride at eight 30 at and everybody come. Let's talk about transportation. Not just transit, not just active transportation, not just cars. Everything. Talk about now and in the future, let's get together and talk about barriers. Talk about not just Baton Rouge, talk about everybody, not just one class of people or one way to move, one way to do things. Let's get it together for. All of us working together because there is strength in numbers and especially as those of us who are practitioners in it. The more information and the more data we have, then the more we can put that into real grant applications and go to the elected officials, whether it's local, state, or national, to say, this is what we need and because we need it. Because here are the facts, here are the numbers, here are the needs. And also transportation feeds into everything else. And we talk about all these barriers that are out there. We can help you get to food deserts and help you get to medical and help you get to better developments and help spur economic development and tourism and. And schools and everything. It's just, it does everything. And it's a piece of it. Whether it's a bike or walk or buses or cars or I don't know, micro mobility, which talks about scooters and sways. And if you're brave enough to get on a segue. Not me. I've fallen off a segue before and I'm I'll admit that. But everybody's voices matter. No matter who you are. Everybody matters. And I'm now the interim C Chief Operating Officer here at Cats and I tell my operators, my mechanics and our maintenance people, your voice matters too, cuz you have a perspective and. Like them and our passengers and the community matters. So please, even if you can't come out next Thursday, I know Pepper will have the details for everybody. It's a c, it's, this is not a one-off. This is a continuous thing. We at Cats have our own projects moving forward as well. We have bus rapid transit coming and other things. This is an ongoing continuous effort to help improve our community. And we're not stopping at Bat Rouge, at least on the cat side, but it's for everybody as much as we can do so with that pepper.

Pepper Roussel: Yeah. So the only things that I will add is that it is the the launch of the transportation and Mobility Coalition. I am dropping a little bit of information over here in the chat so that you don't have to listen to me rattle on. But our aspirational statement for the group is an inclusive, accessible, and progressive mobility option for present and future of our entire community. And Cherri is one of two co-chairs. One of us couldn't be here today, but That's all right. And the goals that we have started working on and have agreed upon also dropping those in the chat. Do. The objective is really that we figure out how it is that we not only provide ways for people to get from point A to point B, but also that we continue to improve on transportation structures, that we also are respectful to how people get around from, whether it is home to school or church or work or what have you. But also understanding that we all have different mobility needs and in many ways so that if you are, as Sheri mentioned using your scooter very or your segue very much like Paul Blart, mall Cop, I am just full of pop culture references as or if you are riding your bike or if you're just using Tom and Jerry, which is what it used to be called when I was in high school they might be something different now. Ah, look, let your bells just like I remember them. Just your own two feet, just walking, get from where it is that you need to. The objective is that we have a way and a process for you to get from one place to the next. So our second goal is understanding barriers to mobility are regularly considered and addressed timely. And the reason for that is that often when we talk about transportation, we leave out the objectives around mobility and understanding that just because you put something into place one time doesn't mean that they last forever. I submit the streets of almost every town in South Louisiana, any, anyway, all of that said Mike and I, you say the, like I said the whole idea is that we will begin this journey together. Oh, look at me tying in references. At BREC the headquarters. The ballroom will be there eight 30 on Thursday morning. I know that it is a workday for y'all. It's a workday for us too. The thing is that it's, we figured it would be easier for you just to go in late than it would be to try to leave early or to disentangle yourself. Because I tell you one thing for me for sure is that once my day starts, I have no control over it. Final words more than just the invitation, Cherie. Please come out. If you can't come out talk to us. My email, I'll put it in the chat. See swallow vr cats.com. We've got some folks that are coming to speak who have the passion.

Cheri Soileau: Don't think that some of the agencies that we interact with, like D O T D are impenetrable, because I will tell you right now, I'm on the statewide Complete Streets committee. We have a subcommittee on transit. We've started talking about bus stops. It's, I've shared service standards with them. They're opening their minds. It's amazing that we're talking to Traffick engineers and they're getting it. So they're. With kindness and respect we can embrace people and explain that it's not a one size fits all for anybody and for all of our cities. So I'm gonna put my email in the chat and let others speak. Thank you so much.

Lynn Maloney-Mujica: I'm. Glad to see Cherie. Congratulations to her for her new position. And I've seen her in action when interacting with now with the drivers, which is a huge issue with customer service. She is doing a remarkable job and God willing, the creek don't rise. Cats is going to become the premiere. Transit service for the Baton Rouge area and perhaps beyond. So congratulations. Shout out to her like Cherie. I am member, a longtime member of the Complete Streets Advisory Council at L A D O T D. I was one of the first members. I was I've been appointed by A R P because as you can imagine complete Streets is a huge issue for elderly populations seniors who frankly should not be driving after a certain point. And of course, exercise and active transportation being something that's good, it will keep them alive a lot longer. I am a planner, so I'm an environmental and transportation planner but my advocacy has always been for mobility. The, I worked, I started here in Baton Rouge. I moved here in 1998 and we started working, I started working as a volunteer on the Government Street Road Diet, which was 20 years in the making. And I currently work for H N T B, we do infrastructure, and I continue my advocacy work working for the Complete Streets Advisory Council, both here and in New Orleans, work for R T A and work for Cats here in helping them with their projects. And we are now involved, deeply involved in the I J A, also known as the bipartisan infrastructure law funding, helping the municipalities and the Department of Transportation and Development compete for funding. And we are looking, and you may know that I J A or Bill Grant is very much focused on mobility and on, on achieving goals that we have long talked about, but never put any any funding to. So for the first time, projects that we have dreamed about have legs. I will give you an example of something that we are done. We, we did a grant, a successful grant application here in Baton Rouge. It was called the Infr Grant. It's called North Baton Rouge Mobility. And it includes Florida Boulevard, it includes Airline Highway. These are normal infrastructure projects that we do. Florida Boulevard being a Complete Streets project, and we're all, but we're also in, we've also included in that grant, what we call the North Baton Rouge Mobility Network, which includes the trails that start in Scotlandville, come down the I one 10 right of way connect to a street network south of Airline Highway near Plank Road and continue to fill in that grid. We're going to connect to the bus Rapid Transit platforms on Plank Road, and we are in the process now of negotiating the grant funding and figuring out how that works. This was a very complex, this is, the funding we received was 69 million. The total project is probably twice that. We're and this is an in a direct investment in North Baton Rouge. A place that has been disinvested, has been denied in many ways, has been ignored. And yet it's, frankly, it's a much more sustainable neighborhood than South Baton Rouge. It did flood, but we are dealing with some of those flooding issues now. It flooded in 2016, but over the long term, those are just those are issues that can be dealt with. Down in South Baton Rouge, the BA meat is, it's a mighty, it's not the mighty Mississippi, but it's closed. And so North Baton Rouge is now going to be a focus for redevelopment. Not just because of the funding that the federal government is making available, but also because of reality. People. Four of the coastal parishes y'all may know are being depopulated and they're gonna have to move somewhere and we're pretty sure they're gonna mo be moving up here north of Highland Road, north of the Baton Rouge Ridge, where they will be safer. There's no place in Louisiana that won't flood. But, so we are involved in all of those projects and programs here in East Baton Rouge Parish, Ascension Parish new Orleans, Lafayette, Shreveport, and and we're just gonna keep fighting the good fight to get mobility for all in the state of Louisiana. Thank you ma'am for that introduction.

Kim Williams: All right, good morning everyone. Kim Williams. I serve as the Director of Health Equity, population health and community engagement with Humana Healthy Horizons. We're a new Medicaid plan that started in January, and so our focus is not just providing health and mental health services and coverage for those services, but also making sure that we're addressing the social determinants of health. And I am a I have a master's of public policy by training, and so I always look at things from a systems level and what kinds of things are we doing within a community that can either help people achieve health equity or not. And so this morning I was thinking about this transportation issue and I looked at the definition of mobility and I wanna share it because I thought it was interesting. This is from Harvard Health, and it talks about mobility as defines your ability to move purposefully as you go through your day. And I just love that, the idea of being able to move. Purposely. Fundamentally, we need to be able to move around in order to access work, education, healthcare services, mental health services, and other social services that help you lead a better life. And so I, I am also a data person, so I wanted to see what does the data look like along the iTune corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge? 18.6% of households in New Orleans do not have access to a vehicle. And and that ranges anywhere from 3.6% in Ascension to 18.6 in Orleans. And and we know that people of color are more likely to use and rely on public transportation jobs and the ability to work and the ability to tr to get transportation to jobs is really important for economic health, but also for overall health. And then the people are. Not necessarily able to access. Especially increasingly in New Orleans, affordable housing is not located where people work anymore. It used to be that a lot of people who worked in the tourism industry, for example, lived very close by, but a lot of the housing projects and other affordable housing that existed within the city limits ha are now moving farther and farther out into Jefferson and Eaton, Orleans East. And as we think about what are the and when we talk with people in the community about what are your biggest needs and what are the biggest challenges to accessing healthcare, it is transportation. Although Medicaid. Plans do provide medical transportation to appointments. It's not very practical. You, it may take you four hours to get access to the visit. Then you have to sit there for four hours or two hours in the doctor's office and another four hours. So you're talking about a day for someone who may earn hourly wages with no paid leave, having to take that kind of time. And so the burden that people bear when they don't have access to transportation impacts many aspects of their life and their ability to have good health.

Rev. Anderson: I wanted to start out by saying, quite frankly that everybody may not think about mobility as being able to get where you want when you want to. But most of us remember when our children first learned how to walk and most of us remember the first time we could ride a bike by ourselves. That is the definition of mobility, is when you can decide where you wanna go and how you get there. And truth be told, this morning I wanna focus on a couple of things. Over 250,000 people, over 257,000 people, I'm sorry, 250,000 people in Louisiana cannot legally drive because they actually have a driver's license that is suspended. There are a large number of citizens in this parish who should not be driving for all sorts. There are a number of young people for whom every opportunity is locked out for them because they simply cannot get anywhere. And I mean that by virtue of whether it is, sorry about that. Whether it is by virtue of being able to safely walk down the street, whether it is that they cannot connect with any kind of public transit, whether or not they can physically accommodate the transportation systems we have. And so for me, one of the big drivers is hearing from the voices of the people who currently the system does not work for. And that includes the disability community, that includes those who struggle with behavioral health. That includes those that are under the age of being able to drive, that includes those that have issues of aging. So I am super excited to be part of this conversation, but quite frankly, I come to this conversation with a mission, which is we have such incredible people with incredible ideals, but their lived experience means that they can often put a pen and some of the well-meaning and some of the most interesting comments because their lived experience says that may work for 80% of the people, but we're the hundred percent that need to be able to get from point A to point B. And sometimes we have to be prioritized. And so I'm super excited about where the conversation can go. Because I think a lot of times, particularly with mobility and transportation, they are invisible. Whether we are talking about formally incarcerated folks, whether we are talking about people that are struggling with health issues, whether we are talking about young people who live in the most rural parts of this parish, they are sometimes hidden. So I'm super excited and that's me and I'm done.

Raymond Jetson: So I am terribly motivated by all of the things that I've heard. I especially want to our remembrance Kim Williams. Just very concise understanding of mobility as being able to move through one's day purposefully. And add to that Reverend Anderson's notion of self-determination in that, that you able to move through the day in a purposeful way. Where you get to determine the purpose that lies in that day. And when we consider mobility from that perspective, it doesn't take long to figure out that there's a huge segment of our population that is mobility impaired in terms of navigating the world around them in a self-determined, purposeful way. And that is the work that is at the heart of the Transportation and Mobility Coalition. How do we begin to affect the apparatus that cause and that contribute to those set of circumstances? It's easy to talk about poverty. It is more complex when you start talking about the planning policy and funding apparatus that are associated with creating the current construct that we see. When we start talking about the location of resources and accessibility, just by this trite notion of being able to walk to where you want to go to get what you need to sustain your life. And so it's much more than whether our buses run on time. It's much more than whether our health plans offer medical transportation to those who are able to jump through the hoops to qualify for those services. It is about whether as a community, we are intentional about designing a mindset. That says people can navigate this community in ways that they determine to be in their best interest, and that allows them to build and to sustain their best life. And that's the work that we seek to undertake as aspirational as it is with the Transportation and Mobility Coalition. And I want to invite folks. I, I see my dear friend Fletcher Bell on my screen, who does some really important work with populations in our community who are marginalized in so many ways. It does not matter whether it is whether it is through aging, isolation returning to the community. After a stint of incarceration, people are inhibited in changing the destiny of their lives because of their accessibility. So thanks for the opportunity to share a few words. Pepper. I invite everyone to connect with us for the Transportation and Mobility Coalition launch.

Lynn Maloney-Mujica: So my grandmother who was from New Orleans married a man and ended up living in Baton Rouge. And we she did not drive cuz she was from New Orleans. One didn't, and ladies didn't, so she would do all of her traveling and she shopping was very important to her. She would go and go to visit family in New Orleans and we would take the train. She would take me as a, and my cousins, my sister and my cousins, the girls, we'd all go down shopping. There were two trains, two passenger trains that went to New Orleans. And my favorite story and my biggest memory of this was we went down on the Illinois Central, which is the depot where the L A S M is now. And because my other grandfather worked for Illinois Central and we had free passes, but when we got on the train coming back at the terminal in New Orleans, we got on the Kansas City Southern track. I don't know who ran that train, but we came in at the depot, which is actually on around 15th Street near the near reds stick social in that area. And you will know that there were no cell phones, there weren't even payphone. And there we were in the wrong depot in Baton Rouge with no way to let anybody know. She got the telephone from the station master, the depot manager, whatever. But of course my grandfather wasn't home because he was down at the depot waiting for her, waiting for us on the other part of town. So now roll forward. Many decades, and I'm working on the Baton Rouge inner city passenger rail project, and we just submitted the feasibility report. This is being honcho I think that's the right word, by D O T D. It's being funded by D O T D at this point. This will go in, we've sub applied for some grants and we're trying desperately to get this service up and running. Y'all know, perhaps you know Sean Wilson, who was the Secretary of Transportation he worked with the Southern Rail Commission on this idea, and it's not just New Orleans to Baton Rouge, which will be fabulous. Let's face it, it's gonna be much better and easier for those of us in Baton Rouge. If we wanna go down for Mardi Gra, we wanna go. If we wanna go to the Gumbo Classic. We can take the train, don't have to worry about parking. I mean it, what's not to love about this, right? But they're all, we're also looking at passenger rail from Meridian across the state of Louisiana to Amtrak. Amtrak comes in at Meridian and it also in Texas at Marshall, but the piece in between is missing. And so we're also working on that. And this was the Southern Rail Commission, like I say, John Spain here in Baton Rouge, along with Sean Wilson, who by the way, is now running for governor. And I would just like to say he's got my boat. The man is, The most for, we would not be where we are right now if it were not for Sean Wilson. In terms of mobility, the Complete Streets Advisory Council that we've been talking about, Sean was a deputy at D O T D at the time, and he was the one who connected to A R P and got a working group and established that. And that was in 2000 and I'm gonna say 2007, 2008, something like that. And he's been working on these issues forever, so he's got my vote in that regard.

Pepper Roussel: So we do have a question in the chat that I think is really important as we talk about moving people from one place to the next. Does any, do any of our panelists know how many people take public transportation generally, or maybe even something more narrow? How many that have taken it in the last month? Reverend Anderson did mention that over 250,000 folks don't have access to a car. And I wanna say it was Kim who mentioned that in Orleans Parish in particular, the highest rate numbers or percentages, 18.6% folks who don't have access to cars. So do we have any idea of folks who are actually taking the bus or the streetcar or the whatever we got?

Cheri Soileau: In Baton Rouge, we do track numbers. And I'd have to pull up that rider's ship because post covid we're still at about 30% of pre covid numbers. It's it's been tricky. But I do know our Microt transit service in Baker, we do 19% of the people wouldn't be able to do a trip if it wasn't for that Microt Transits service up there. But we have lots of data we can share. We just finished our comprehensive operational analysis. We looked at everything and the challenge with buses is trying to get We can't, we're not as agile as, say, microt transits or smaller or trying to figure out how to get people from point A to point B on the more straight trip. We do know that if you're a North Baton Rouge and you wanna go to Segan Lane, which is a very popular shopping area, it takes about an hour, 15 hour 30 to travel there. And I know people don't like that, and that's something we're trying to fix and that's why we're not getting the ridership we need. And that's part of our channel to try to fix some of that. People that don't have the cars, but they're not necessarily riding public transit because they don't find it as effective as it should be. And that's our challenge as the public transit provider here.

Lynn Maloney-Mujica: Can I say something or it's really not to say anything, it's to ask a question. We are working right now on a project, on a biking, a bike a pedestrian bicycle facility plan for New Orleans East. New Orleans East, as you, you may know, is they are, they have been economically challenged, but it's a very mixed community. There are there are people who are in the, well into the middle class or in the upper echelons of the middle class. And then there are people who live in apartment in section eight housing. What we heard, surprisingly this week, we had a meeting this week from many of the stakeholders in New Orleans East. They have, they, they're middle class, they're not interested. We're doing also in that same area, we're doing bus rapid transit to get those people in from New Orleans East down to the central business district to go to work. But many of the stakeholders in New Orleans East are not, are I don't know. I don't know exactly how to say this, but they are offended by the idea of investing money in transit, in bike facilities, and in walking. Because literally there are no sidewalks there. Yeah. I think that this is the, his, it is just a continual, perpetual problem, not in my backyard. When you look at the history of public transportation in our country, the reason why we don't have more public transportation and better access to public transportation is because communities have fought to keep public transportation out of their neighborhoods because they didn't want certain people having easy access to their neighborhoods.

Kim Williams: And that's happened throughout the country in many cities, throughout the country. And so I don't think it's unusual, whether it's class or by race, that communities across the country fight the, a access to public transportation because they believe that certain people, However they define those people, quote unquote, are going to be ha, are gonna be able to access their neighborhoods. And the reality is we need people. From all socioeconomic backgrounds, from all racial and ethnic backgrounds to be able to move with purpose and move around freely. It's the most basic need we have, right? It's a, is a ability to get around and to do the things that we need to do in order to take care of our lives. And so I'm not really surprised by that. I think New Orleans East has a lot of interesting challenges because there is such a divide between those who have and those who have not. But this is an age old story. We've built communities that are not welcoming of public transportation. We in the train line, just outside the parish line or just outside the neighborhood line so that it makes it harder for people to get access. And then you talk about that last mile problem, right? So even if you have access to public transportation and a lot of communities, It ends in a place where you still have to walk in order to get to employment or other opportunities. And so that's I think we have to be honest about the history and about how public transportation and highway transportation have been used as tools to keep people in certain conditions in neighborhoods.

Cheri Soileau: But it's just not in New Orleans. I'm dealing with two entities that shall remain nameless here and they start out, we as support public transit, but, and I'm thinking to myself say it and they won't. And it aggravates me. And then when I was even in Dallas, I worked for Darton Dallas for a number of years, and I'd get, I could always tell when it was graduate student thesis time, I'd get we're researching the correlation between public transit expansion and theft. There is none. Look, cuz let's face it, you're gonna come into a neighborhood, the buses run maybe every 30 minutes even. You're gonna go rob somebody's houses. You're gonna stand at the bus stop with three TVs, a VCR, and a boom box. Yeah. Wait for the bus. Seriously, think about it. When Dart starts in the light rail, people in toward Garland, if you're familiar with Dallas, they're like, oh, they're gonna be able to see into your, our backyards. Yeah. The train's going 55, 60 miles an hour. I can see a lot in your house at 60 miles an hour. I tried it actually. It's societal. It's, it goes back to a societal issue of post World War ii. It was, we thrived and it was our parents saying the coming in and, oh, we don't have to ride a bus cuz we can afford a car. We can afford a house. And riding a bus was something that only, let's say poor people did. And now we've moved up in the world. It's like moving on up. And now it's that, how come you don't have a car? Why are you riding a bus? And people get questioned about, why are you riding a bus? And I'm like, where's my bus? Where's my train? Cuz I'm really tired. Driving to this table are very inconsiderate about. Being on the highway, and we've gotta change that mindset. Tax buses, we have about eight cameras internally and externally. Our bus operators are professionally trained. We follow a lot of rules and laws, and they're nice people. Our buses are clean, we're improving our fleet. We're sitting on four new diesel buses right now. We're getting more in. It's safe. We take safety very seriously. We have nice people. They're we're just nice people. And but it's a very su core to it. It's societal and somebody sets a national issue very much is not just in Baton Rouge, it's in every place. We used to say buses fly a light rail, sexy. And trains are sexy. Buses are not so sexy. That's not true. It's. It's changing perceptions and yes, post World War I consumerism and yes, I agree, and it's about, I've made it my parents wanted me to go to college. They didn't. That was a, I've accomplished something. Exactly. In terms of the messaging though this is something that we're faced with now because now the money is coming. Now we have the ability to do these projects. And what's happening is it's not just it's not just that they're the, it's not for them. There. There's a certain, there's a certain energy, negative energy that is translating into political power related to these things.

Lynn Maloney-Mujica: And so here we're on the cusp of being able to really make some difference because now we finally got the money and we're actually getting pushback. And I suppose you're right Ms. Williams, that it's this sort of, yeah, go ahead, do it, but just do it someplace else. And, but people are energized now to push it back. And I'm just wondering how we're going to deal with that because that seems to be we've always been saying there's not enough money. Now we've got money and now we're getting, now we're getting this kind of pushback. So it's just something that we'll be struggling with a little bit as we move forward. And we hope, we will, hope that the political will will assist us. We are, we're looking at these now we're talking about these as investments. These are investments in your community.

Cheri Soileau: It still doesn't solve the problem because I still don't get, I can do capital projects till the cows home. I'm still not getting more operating money. I'm still stuck. I'm static on my operating funds, so I can build, but if I can't expand, what good is it building? And I'm talking cherri, I'm talking about the, this, in this specific instance, we weren't, we were just talking about really about bike and ped facilities.

Lynn Maloney-Mujica: Oh, yeah. They're pushing back on those Oh yeah. That's these are much smaller. Yeah. Easier options and of course I, so we are talking about them as investments in places that were disinvested.

Rev. Anderson: And this is Reverend Anderson. I cut through and talk about the elephant in the room because this is an issue about racism. This is about issue, about isms. This is a issue about making sure that certain people can't get to certain places and certain situations cannot be resolved. So whether you are talking about running freeways into primarily African American communities and essentially killing off their economic development, Unless you are talking about the fight that continues to this day, every single day about the actual appropriateness and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. When you talk about the issues around refugees and immigrants and driver's license and access to any type of ID that would then allow them to do certain things, you have to have the conversation about whose money is it. And I think one of the things we always start out with is, oh we have this. And I just wanna say, again, I go back to that issue around how many people we have that have suspended driver's licenses. Most of those driver's licenses are suspended because of an interface with the criminal justice system. And so they get a traffic violation, they can't pay it, they get their driver's license suspended. That typically is something that interfaces differently at different not just socioeconomic groups, but particularly on racial lines. And so until we have a conversation about, and let's be honest about this, where can refugees and immigrants safely go? Where can those who are in wheelchairs safely go? Where can an African American male child age 13 through 24 go? Because mobility really is about being able to go where you need to go, when you need to go based on what you need to do. And I think one of the challenges is we can talk about infrastructure all day long, but as a society and as policy makers, many of us are very comfortable with making sure that certain people can never get into certain neighborhoods. And so it goes to not marrying. Things like public transit to tax incentives. It goes to not having planning systems that talk about what does the business community need and how do we get workers who need work to places where the employment centers are and doing in such a way that we are not destroying their family lives. And so I think unless we start at that really basic, and I know very uncomfortable line, it is about racism and ISLs and we have to be able to start with who are we trying to keep from getting from where they need to be, where they want to be. And so that's my input on that. If we don't have that conversation, no matter how much money we get, it's still gonna end up being in the same places doing the exact same things. It's always done.

Pepper Roussel: Completely agree with Anderson. We do need to have tough conversations and that I think is part of what we are intending to do with the Transportation and Mobility Coalition. But while I'm thinking about it though, there is a question in the chat that asks whether there is a mobility equity framework being talked about specifically to center equity and community power.

Lynn Maloney-Mujica: It certainly the, if you look at the I J A legislation, justice 40 and so forth because remember this is infrastructure bill. It it is very much focused on equity. And so what you have and we have to think of this sort of like Camelot, it's a brief and shining moment, and it's a, it's an opportunity today.

Pepper Roussel: This money will not last. This administration will not day. And so it's one of these for us in the infrastructure business, so to speak. But me as a mobility advocate, I have a sense of urgency that unfortunately and I agree about the racism, but here's what's happening There is social mobility within the minority communities, and as they move forward and they are able to own an automobile, they don't have the problem with the driver's license. They don't have, they have a four, $400,000 home. They, it is no longer racism. It's classism. It is economic. It's the difference in the economic. And, but if, but because they are minority and we are at, and they're le and they're in leadership positions because they have the economic, it's not, and not just the economic resources, but they have the time resources that people in lower economics strata don't have. So they're in front of their leadership and they're now the voices, the NIMBYs of the world. And my sense of urgency is that this will not last. And when this opportunity is gone, will there be another opportunity? Now I go ahead. I'm sorry. No, I guess I'm curious. I you said something that there's social mobility within the some of the Latino communities, and I just want you to distinguish social mobility from mobility. Correct. What does that mean? Are these the same things?

Lynn Maloney-Mujica: No. They are they certainly work hand in hand. Because if you're what I mean by social mobility is that they're minority and it was minorities, I don't mean just Latinos, I mean across the spectrum, including new immigrants, they aspire to a higher economic strata. And we in the United States are known for that kind of economic and social mobility. You don't have to stay in, if, in theory, you don't have to stay in the lower economic strata. Seriously, racism has prevented that kind of mobility, but that seems to me to be changing. And as that changes, we have people now who are, they're middle class, they're, it's no longer about race, it's about the, it's about classism and they don't wanna be associated with lower income people. And yet to address the mobility issue the physical mobility issue, we have to take care of those people in the lower classes no matter what their races. And at the same time, we need desperately, we have just such a short moment, the infrastructure bill money will be over in four years, four years in the life of an infrastructure project. There's no time at all. And it this is what keeps me up at night. This opportunity will be lost because not only do we have pushback from the others, now we're getting pushback from the very communities that, that we're where this, these mobility, this mobility infrastructure has been left behind.

Kim Williams: I'm just curious how we take this moment in time and think about how do we create a vision for communities that are walkable, sustainable, where everybody has access to the things that they need? Because you look at some of the newer communities that are getting built, I think about River Ranch and Lafayette, or there's a neighborhood in Lake Charles that where you can walk to the coffee shop, you can get a, you can walk to shopping in retail. It's from my perspective, there's, there are opportunities to sell the idea of walkable publicly public transportation at public transportation, accessible communities that are thriving regardless and where everybody is able to get to what they need to get to. And you think about other countries where we don't have these kinds of, where they don't have these kinds of public transportation problems. People can walk, they can bike. Or they can take public transportation and there's no stigma attached with that. It's not related to class per se. Or to Rigg per se, because other countries have a more homogenous population. But we know that first of all, the, that pollution air pollution increases when there's a lot of vehicles on the road making neighborhoods that are near interstates more, more unhealthy. We know that we have an obesity problem in our country because people are not walking as much. So there's so many things in so many ways to, to talk about how we build sustainable public transportation and other forms of transportation, and make communities more accessible and more walkable for everyone so that we have healthier communities in general.

Casey Phillips: I wanna jump in real quick to, by the way, thank you for everybody. I'm just like listening the entire topic. I have so many notes. And Kim, I was just thinking about river Ranch cuz I worked on a project years ago that was emulating and the reality, there's a lot of layered realities because the median house price in River Ranch is $725,000. Yo. That's why there's a Chipotle like on both sides, right? I mean they money follows money. But that ha, there there are solutions that don't have to involve $725,000 median households. Manny I know I've spent a lot of time with you over, it feels like a lifetime, my friend. But over the last four years four to five years of doing work, I know you're passionate about this. I just wanted to open a little space cause I saw you had a question, you had comments. Just give you a little space and then kick it back to that.

Manny Patole: Thanks, Casey. Yeah, no, it's all these things are well said. And I think we have set these, some of these items before and many other conversations about transit and other things. My, my general question, so yesterday I was on a Brookings webinar about the infrastructure bill and things like that. And the speaker was from the city of Tampa Bay, which you don't think of as a transit city by any stretch. But one of the things that has impacted their ability to be one of the most fastest moving cities around projects is actually having projects already planned and ready to go. It's the Robert Moses mentality. The reason why he was so successful, whether you like him or not, was that he had stuff ready to go and he knew how to get them through the system, a lot of, some cities are following that mentality, some are not. And when we're talking about, in this case for today we're talking about transit. You could talk about this for housing or whatever else. What are those projects that are ready to go versus the fact that there are things that people are talking about and then, oh, they get the money, then all of a sudden they actually have to do something. Right? There's also that mentality too, right? And the idea of poverty profiteering, of trying to do stuff that's just enough versus actually doing stuff that solves an issue. The other thing I know a lot of folks are talking about walkability and going to shopping and things like that. It's access also to public services. And how are you changing the mindset? I've read an article yesterday about how Gu Rouge is losing population, but it's still expanding its urban sprawl, right? How you reconcile those two things. You have a lot of great properties that you can infill, but no one wants to live down there, right? Everyone wants to talk about some of these other issues, but no one wants to live next to each other, right? So how are you starting to have this? It's a mind shift, right? It's, you can do all these different things and still. Not have it being used. A tool is only as good as someone who actually uses it. And then for all the things that are being said, I love it, but I wanna, I want to hear what's the do not the say. So I'll leave it there

Casey Phillips: indeed. Thanks Manny, for those Thanks for those. When you were talking about Robert Moses Esperanza put something into the chat. It's like when there's the public pushback, maybe there's a reason for it, right? I'm not saying always it's not about right or wrong, right? It's a process. It doesn't just happen here. By the way, I sat in one of those meetings in South Dallas about three weeks ago, and there was a cons a community consensus that seemed to actually defy logic, right? From years and years of planning, but I just encourage my partners that were receiving the red hot heat in that moment. In that, on that panel to say just to open their mind to that, that much consensus is for a reason, not just politics. And to listen to it and internalize it if it's kind of part of it. I don't know if we'll get to all the due today Manny the say people have said the things right? They've said the things. Pepper, what do you think? I know we're coming up on community announcements, but we got a great panel.

Pepper Roussel: We do have a great panel, and I thank all of you so much. Reverend Anderson's already bounced off, but thank both Kim and Lynn for joining us today and having so many incredible things to say and share with us. The due I would expect is somewhere between the Transportation of Ability Coalition and Complete Streets and some of the things that are already in the works, right? So we do have things that are happening. I think that they may not be enough, so they could be first or second steps, and then we just pick up the ball and keep running from there. Yes, we are coming up on community announcements, but I do want to, there we go. Ask if there's anybody who's got any other questions to put it in the chat. Can someone list the, can someone list the TNM coordinators and facilitators? Is Cherri still around? So Cherri is one of our co-chairs. Tina Ri if you wanna come off and win. Okay. Tina Uford is our other co-chair, and I'm scrolling through and looking for Raymond Jetson, who is a leader. It's his coalition, and he will be guiding us through a lot of the the movement here and there. And anyone who wants to join us to make bat East Baton Rouge, south Louisiana, all of Louisiana, a better place to get from one place to the next. I would be happily have you on board. Just shameless plug, we do have the launch that is gonna be happening on Thursday at 8:30 aM Ballroom. Yeah come and have a cup of coffee. See hear what we're talking about. Help us flesh out the goals. Do we have any last words from our panelists today?

Kim Williams: Thank you for having us, and I hope that we can all work together to help people be able to move with purpose move purposefully throughout their days.

Lynn Maloney-Mujica: Echo that same thought, and I thank you so much. This has been very interesting. And I'll be following y'all. I won't be there on the 25th, unfortunately, I'm starting my vacation on that day. But we will be back. I will be keeping track. Y'all keep in touch with me and if there, I'll follow for the next meeting if I can. Thank you very much. Wonderful.

Casey Phillips: I'd like to jump in. I'm gonna use my my zoom privilege to jump in and encourage everyone to come out to Chelsea's live. That's on Nicholson at 10 10 Nicholson under the bridge. Tomorrow at 6:00 PM we are throwing the Walls project is throwing a benefit for the Baton Rouge African-American Museum to kick off a yearlong campaign on their move to the New Museum at 8 0 5 St. Louis Street. Come out there are multiple bands, DJs. It ain't gonna be a, it's not gonna be like this on Friday. A lot of talkie talk. It's gonna be drinks, getting down, hanging out, unwinding from an incredibly long week, month, year season of era come out, support the museum and lean into the to continue the legacy, carry the legacy forward of Miss Sadie in our city and be a part of that. So we hope to see you all tomorrow.

Pepper Roussel: Angela, if you've got any words of wisdom this share with good folks about the African American Museum and what that, what the fundraisers for, what we'll be accomplishing over the next year, happy to hear it.

Casey Phillips: Otherwise pepper, if we're winding up, we're gonna do it. Can I take a, take one more mo moment to go Old school, one rouge on Fridays? Sure. Yeah. Let's open it back up. Oh this is what we used to do on Fridays, right? We wasn't always structured, so let's let's talk it out. There were a lot of things that were said today. If anybody wants to stay for overtime, let's keep going. Yeah. Oh, before we go. Got her hand up? Yeah. Marc hand. What's up? Yeah, what's up Marcella?

Marcela Hernandez: Hi. Good morning everyone. Thank you so much once again for this amazing conversation. You guys know that I'm very passionate about transportation because transportation is definitely not a challenge for me back home, but it is it, and it was for me here and for of our community members. Now. So count on me if you think I can help in any way with this project. But I just wanted to invite everyone once again I'm dropping it in the chat. Let's remember about our war, refugee and immigrant day. This is a day where we celebrate immigrants and refugees all around the globe. And we are inviting all of you and all of your organization service providers, if you know anyone from a different culture or a different country to come and enjoy this year.

We are expecting to have a bit more than 400 people because that's about the amount of people we had last year. So this is just a wonderful opportunity to get to know us in a fun cultural and traditional level. So just please put it on your calendar, June the 24th. This is Saturday and it will be on the Family, youth and Service Center. So I just wanted to say, I hope I'll see you soon. Thank you.

Angela Machen: Thanks so much again for inviting me into this call. I found those conversations today and previous ones to be very inspirational and just makes me feel encouraged that we have so many. Entities working towards common causes. And again, I'd like to invite you all out tomorrow night to hang out with us at Chelsea's. I'm looking forward to it myself. I've never been there. So I'm just personally excited about it and I'm also excited about our leap of faith where we are stepping out on behalf of the African American Museum to move to, or to begin the move really to announce the move from our old to our new location and get it fully reopened. We are absolutely inviting you all out those tomorrow night and with us on June 19th to view the new space for the museum as it is now, and to get an insight into where we want it to be and to invite everyone out on their journey with us. So thank you so much and look forward to moving along this path with you all.

Casey Phillips: Awesome. Thank you, Angela. I appreciate it. And thank you, Jasmine, for lifting up to our offering to send out the flyer. I just e just emailed it to the the brain admin. Jennifer, what's up? What you got? All right.

Jennifer Caldwell: Everyone. My name is Jen Calwell. I am the Director of Public Health Genomics and Health Equity Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical, and I was sitting here today by Floyd. I know many of you know him, and we are hosting our first annual health equity symposium at Pennington on June 8th in the conference center. And it'll be a all day conference. We have breakfast, lunch, and even a reception, so you'll be fed all day. Very nice networking sessions. Guest speakers Maxine Crump will be doing a dialogue on race in Louisiana to start off. And we're looking for some participants to help with the community engagement and scientist panel. I think that everything discussed today is on par for what we're looking for. We have opportunities for people to participate in network Bingo. And also if you were interested in being a vendor is free of charge and you can set up and have people come look at your services and your offerings. We really wanna create a conversation for scientists, physicians, and community members. And so I think everyone here has some real strong hold on how we can make the communities better and what avenues of health equity really would matter towards their goal. So I hope all of you all can come. And I put the. Flyer in the chat, the event, bright in the chat, and my email address in the chat as well. If anybody's interested. Just contact me,

BRAYN: Casey, can I say something really quickly? Of course you can. Yeah. So I have to jump off. This was fantastic. I always appreciate and enjoy being here. I'm gonna put I was sending directly to the organizations that talked about their events. I was sending the email address directly to you. I'm gonna put it in the chat now because I do have to go. But if you have events going on the newsletter right now reaches about 350 to 400 people and I'm sending it out today. So please you have to have your flyer and everything already ready to go. But give me a short description and your flyer jpeg or p n g and I will get it out in the newsletter today. Y'all have a great day.

Casey Phillips: Yes, Jasmine, you have a great day. Anything else? Anything else? Good people? Raymond, anything? I don't know if you're still with us or not, but anything from today's conversation come up for you that you think was really seismic? Besides yes, Casey I am still here and apologize for not being on camera at the moment.

Raymond Jetson: I think the whole conversation laid an excellent foundation for broadening the conversation around transportation and mobility and shifting the nexus of emphasis from things buses, cars, et cetera, to people and people being able to live their best lives to live their manifest destiny, if you will. And to not have that hindered systemically or otherwise in their communities. It's hard work. These issues are deeply rooted in race, in economics in self-interest in ineffective governing and funding systems. These, it is going to be hard work but it's necessary work if we're actually going to make a difference in the communities. We say that we want to serve.

Casey Phillips: All that. All that well said. Yeah, said. I agree. It was it. Some Manny made it a correct observation. Some of the things we've heard or at least paraphrased in previous conversations, which is part of it is to build on the conversation as the weeks and months and years ago. But today helped broaden my perspective on the conversation and also reser it in the people. So that is I agree. Anybody else?

Manny Patole: I just wanted to put out there when we're thinking about this, one of the big things about that webinar, I put it in the chat for you, for folks to watch, is there are three things that were mentioned today that also resonate in that webinar. One, having shovel ready projects ready to go when the funds start coming out. Being able to, and then also having the administrative systems ready to accept them, right? So that's another thing. Like we, we have a lot of ideas. We have, we wanna get the money, but then when you get it, how do you actually able to. Distributed and actually administer it. And then the third thing is making sure that those systems are also able to handle innovation and equity. So when you're thinking about all this stuff and when you're thinking about all these plans, how are you actually baking it in? What is the implementation part of that plan? Just because I know there's move br and things like that. Doing a lot of work and a lot of research, a lot of plans are just that, their plans, the key component is how many of them have an implementation component and how many of them have a scope or a business case analysis or evaluation on how to say that they're thing, whatever they're doing is the best alternative to what's currently there. So when you're starting to think about all these projects, when you're starting to think about all these things the idea escaping is great. How do you actually start this is the Robert Moses planner head to end me. How do you start thinking about all these finer details about the questions for implementation? So others can't say, no, you can't, right? The fact that you've already anticipated as much as you can do. Some of the other the counters to what people may throw at you. So keep that in mind as you're starting to do, regardless of if it's just transit or things like that. Any of these projects.

Casey Phillips: Yeah, no, let's jump in on that. And by the way for a separate chi, maybe over hot tea together when you're in town for 10 days, it need stuff to do, so yeah, no doubt. Is Brooklyn today what Robert Moses ultimately had in mind, and that's a separate conversation. So let's talk about the minorities here. I was gonna say benevolent dictator is a kind way of putting it. The boroughs did happen. But with move ebr, let's keep it to Baton Rouge specific, right? With move Ebr r and for anybody who's on the call that's working on the project or attending the the town halls and stuff, is there a solid do you feel in your perspective, there's a solid implementation plan? Part of that and and is it being done through an equitable lens? Anybody that's working on that, that one thing that may just lifted up? I have to admit I don't have intimate knowledge on it. I haven't been really as engaged or involved in that particular, that push here.

Raymond Jetson: So Casey, I think that we've been doing some work around the small business aspect of this. And mayor Broom in the RFQ was very intentional about building a strong emphasis on ensuring the participation of small women owned, minority owned veteran owned businesses. And so there, there is an association with her S E D B E program going to begin to be this rollout of required levels of participation, goals being set. In from the business perspective the prob the program when people voted and passed, it was very prescriptive for the most part in what was going to be done in terms of the roads, bridges, sidewalks, et cetera that will be built. I think the lesson that we can take from this again, is this whole notion of how these types of things get planned before they are voted upon and implemented. How do we make certain that they are accomplished through an equity lens? Oh, interesting. I wouldn't have had that observation.

Casey Phillips: Yeah, cuz you're right it was very clear on what you were on, what we were voting on. And like the plan was like this corridor, these traffic lights these connect that it was. But you're saying that the opportunity in hindsight is when this is done, you would actually do more on the equitable planning on the front end. But the piece that is actually like rock solid and in place, and we've already seen it, right? We're seeing the percentages of DBE c city contracts. It's, they're ticking up, right? Like it's working. And so you're saying that small business D B E like focus as the RFPs rollout is is positioned. You feel good about it, basically. That's paraphrasing, but you feel good about it.

Raymond Jetson: I feel that it is much better than anything else that has happened historically in capital projects in our community.

Casey Phillips: There you go. Game of ventures for and moving forward. Okay, cool. Thanks for that perspective.

Manny Patole: As we move from the Reagan and consensus era towards a privatization or shrinking down government one of the things that comes up actually now in the recent years is how can you reduce project costs, right? So this is the big thing a across the board, right? One of my colleagues talks about reduced wire transit projects in the US astronomically more expensive than in other countries. And part of it is the transaction costs, right? The friction between. The meetings and things like that. One of those frictions that can be reduced is how do you hire and develop the workforce within versus contracting app, right? So let's say if you're gonna do, if you have a Capital Works team, right? How many people within our hire are within your, the Baton Rouge payroll that are the brick layer our concrete worker versus them having to go to Esperanza Inc. For Laying the Concrete or Tom Donley for doing all the rebar and things like that, right? So that was one of the things where we're looking at this, and this is also part of like, when you're looking at the implementation side of things, how do you start looking at it? BR is great about that credit cuz they have their construction team in-house and they have a good scope of people, a good group of people that have a wide scope of skills. But how does that translate to the Baton Rouge side? Just a general question, to have that doesn't mean like how to have it here if, unless someone knows offhand.

Casey Phillips: I don't know. But I've also never really thought about the city of Baton Rouge. Having a high skilled and medium and low skilled grip of individuals beyond the current D p W workforce, right? That would actually be building roads and bridges and stuff like that as opposed to contracting it out to private sector companies. I've never really even actually even had that thought. So it's an interesting idea. Yeah, it's an interesting idea. I know, I don't know the conversations I was having about Baton Rouge in particular, but just in, in general for other cities, is when you're looking at this industry 4.0, how are you developing that white collar, blue collar skillset?

Manny Patole: For the industries to come, not just the industries that were in the past. So if you're thinking about the tech sector, it's not just people who are programmers, it's the people who can pull fiber and who can snip cable and attach it and things like that. So how do you start that? And then you start bringing the industries in, right?

Casey Phillips: When you're thinking about those urban operations. But similarly, you need people to work on those those street scapes and making those bike lanes and doing all that kind work too. Yeah, no, all all interesting conversations. I'm gonna pivot for a second into a different direction.

Hey, Lynn Daigle quick question for you. Kinda as you're like you have an in between moment as far as you have a lot of experience in the commercial real estate and the residential real estate. You have a passion for education, you have a passion for the community. It was said today, and I've heard it before, right? Is there in fact a system without, is there data? Or maybe you can just gimme your opinion. Do you feel like there is a purposeful lack of public transportation infrastructure to not reach certain neighborhoods so that people I'm paraphrasing all over the pace the Alice population or people living in poverty can access neighborhoods that don't want those people there. Do you think that's a is that actual and factual or is that observational? Maybe sometimes true, maybe not.

Lynn Daigle: I don't know if anything concrete, like specifically preventing access in a certain neighborhood. I could imagine. I don't have specific examples to lean towards, but I could imagine neighborhoods like associations perhaps not wanting the bus stop outside their entrance or something like that. I could see like civic activation being the hindrance there, but I don't know of anything like industry-wide at all. Specifically preventing that. Cause yeah, thank you for that. It's also involvement when they're doing the master planning and site selection of that, what's accessible legally what's public right away to, to put bus stops, for example. And then who's in the room? Who cares? Who's in the room making those decisions? Is it just. Logistically you want point A to point B, but that's, it's rarely that easy. So what are the legal hindrances to putting a bus stop where it needs to be logistically, where does it need to be for efficiency, for the bus routes and the way they can turn and things like that. So it gets a little technical as to how those decisions get made, but are the people there just drones or are they, do they actually care about who's able to get on the bus?

Manny Patole: I have a question about that specifically. I think it's, it was something actually Dustin and I were talking about yesterday over dinner. So Dustin's in New York and I was able to have some time break bread with him for the stops when it comes to the, either the shopping areas or things like that. Is there something that prevents the buses from going in versus staying outside those areas? So I know in places that I've been, sometimes the buses can go to maybe the through the, and the entrance and then have a stop on the exit of the parking lot, but it's still within. So where people would be able to carry their shopping a reasonable distance, not too far to the bus stop. And it increases a little bit of safety. Maybe you could put a bus shelter in there that's not necessarily facing onto the street. So on and so forth. I know that on the residential side there's always a little bit more issue, but what about on the commercial side? On commercial that becomes private property and so you would have to get permission and cooperation from the landowner.

Lynn Daigle: And or that opens in our state specifically a ton of legal issues. The Landover would be worried about for insurance reasons and lawsuits. And so it's harder to get a yes if you even try. And then I don't know what the process is at the city level to even attempt to get the Yes. And if there's a ton of motivation to do it or not, because a landowner would also then want just speaking one of the things they might want is funds to help upkeep the parking lot, like repaving of it, because that's extra wear and tear buses way more than cars. So it does technically make a difference. There's a case for that. It's not very big a landowner could be like your bus is gonna cause me to have to repave faster than just regular vehicular use. And they would want all sorts of insurance stuff, which I'm sure the city would have. But it's getting through all those steps to reg tape for everybody to agree to make it happen. And then do people have the energy to do that? The time. I don't know what constraints they have when making those decisions. And then that what if factor? Someone's gonna get hit by the bus, right? Or some, a bus is gonna hit A car is gonna run into the bus, who's responsible and are they willing to take on that headache?

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