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Mayor, city leaders return from transportation conference with new ideas

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The mayor of Columbus and other city leaders have returned from a transportation conference with some fresh ideas for the city.

In an effort to make Columbus a more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly city, city leaders looked to Chicago – a city where many bike or walk just about everywhere.

The Windy City was home to the “Do-Able Cities Conference,” a conference that teaches the best practices for city transportation. The trip was paid for by a grant from the Knight Foundation, so it didn’t cost taxpayers any money.

At her public forum Thursday night, Mayor Tomlinson gave a summary of the trip. She says it was helpful to see other cites' mistakes and learn what not to do, as well as see ideas that work and try to apply them locally.

“They [Chicago] have many more resources so they're able to do many more things,” said Tomlinson. “But it allows us to see an aspirational standpoint of what might be possible and how we can take these ideas and scale them down for Columbus.”

During the conference, city leaders heard from experts from around North America. The speakers showed the best ways to build and manage bike and pedestrian communities. The mayor says the experts emphasized that more biking and walking leads to a more vibrant and livable city.

The Mayor also fielded some questions about other types of transportation at her public forum. She answered some concerns about the high-speed rail. A member of the audience also asked when the city was going to add more bus lines and routes. Tomlinson explains that is part of the city’s new transportation study, which is going through the public hearing process.

David Hurst

David Hurst, a graduate of the Univ. of Georgia, is News 3's nightside reporter.

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