Does the man on the left look familiar? It's One Southern Indiana's former president Michael Dalby, who now holds the same position with the Columbus (OH) Chamber of Commerce. Out from under the regressive 1Si thumb, the photo shows Dalby in Columbus celebrating a Bike to Work day in support of 2 BY 2012, an initiative whose slogan is "Change your commute. Change your life. Change your city."
As explained on the Consider Biking web site:
The goal of 2 BY 2012 is for each citizen of central Ohio to bicycle to work 2 days per month by the Columbus bicentennial in 2012.
2 BY 2012 is both a challenge and a movement. If we can rise to the challenge of changing how we get to work, we can start a movement that will significantly benefit our lives and our community.
And it all begins with you: the individual. Whether you are already a cyclist, or are interested in using cycling to improve your health, choose now and join 2 BY 2012.
We can achieve this goal! And when we do, it will mean that Columbus successfully increased its green transportation by 300% — and Columbus would surpass Portland, Oregon as the greenest transportation city in the U.S.
And as noted on the Two Wheeling blog whence the photo came:
It speaks volumes for our CEOs to get out on a day like today to show their friends, families and colleagues that it's not only ok to bike to work, but that biking is a viable, even preferable, form of urban transportation in the 21st century. We all love our cars, but we don't need to use them for short urban trips of 2-5 miles. The Columbus CEO community knows that biking to work and other forms of active transportation are good for their employees and their companies' bottom lines--studies show that employees who bike and walk to work are healthier, happier, more productive and miss less work. Check out http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2010/08/20/walk-cycle-obesity.html. And new economy workers, and the companies that wish to employ them, are increasingly attracted to cities with vibrant, active transportation systems--that's why 2 by 2012 is important to the economic development of our region.
Of course, Dalby's path to such an encouraging stance was smoothed by other civic groups in the region like the League of Women Voters and other Columbus Chamber folks, who facilitated and released a transportation study a little less than a year before he took his newfound reins:
Mobility is a growing priority for consumers—and a growing source of frustration.
Ideally, people should have at least five choices as to mode of transportation: feet, bike, transit, taxi, and private vehicle, along with the ability to mix and match them. It was recommended by Ohio’s 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force to “give Ohioans more options for getting where they want to go...by developing a balanced and efficient system that ensures connectivity among all modes of transportation.” The Ohio Department of Transportation website is currently featuring ODOT’ s 2010-2011 Business Plan, which is a follow-up to the task force report.
Steve Tugend of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce told members of the committee that the economic advantages of transit are: 1) It attracts business to the area, 2) It helps retain and grow business, and 3) It builds the capacity for growth by attracting skilled young people to the area. A survey was conducted for the Chamber that found that a good transit system, especially one with fixed guideway, is an important factor in attracting young workers to an area and in keeping them there. (A “fixed guideway” refers to any transit service that uses exclusive or controlled rights of way or rails, entirely or in part. The term includes heavy rail, commuter rail, light rail, monorail, trolleybus, aerial tramway, inclined plane, cable car, automated guideway transit, that portion of motor bus service operated on exclusive or controlled rights-of-way, and high occupancy vehicle [HOV] lanes.)
It is estimated that every $10 million in capital investment for public transportation yields $30 million in increased business sales, and that every $10 million in operating investment for public transportation yields $32 million in increased business sales. Further, every $1 taxpayers invest in public transportation generates $6 in economic returns.
At any rate, it's refreshing to see Dalby advocating for something sensible for a change. Let's just hope the rest of us don't have to take jobs in other cities to experience the positive results.