A Gwinnett vision for getting around

Recently, there’s been a lot of speculation on how Gwinnett County plans and prepares for its future. It is exciting to know so many people have taken an interest in seeing Gwinnett thrive. They understand its successes and failures are felt regionally, just as we understand the fortunes of other metro Atlanta communities have a bearing on our own. But right now the people of Gwinnett need to come together and share a vision for what our community is to become.

The sheer size of Gwinnett makes consensus-building difficult. It’s hard for people in Dacula to relate to the desires and needs of people in Norcross or Peachtree Corners. It can be almost impossible for a Buford resident to see the world through the eyes of someone who lives in Lilburn, and vice versa. Gwinnett’s size and diversity are our greatest strength and one of our greatest challenges.

A fresh approach to public input seeks to reach citizens all over Gwinnett this week. “The Gr8 Exchange on Transportation” provides a platform for Gwinnett organizations and individuals to voice their thoughts, opinions and visions for the future.

The goal is to bring people from all corners of Gwinnett together in conversations about transportation for one week — not only to beginbuilding a unified vision, but to connect individuals so they can better understand the varying perspectives that have to be represented in planning.

To plan transportation for our community of tomorrow, we can no longer look to the limited model of road construction. Sidewalks connecting neighborhoods to parks and schools, and a robust transit system connecting large job and activity centers, are a few initiatives that should be strategically integrated in the county’s future.

It’s important to understand the transportation solutions needed for certain parts of Gwinnett vary dramatically from those of others. Some parts of Gwinnett are auto-oriented and will likely always be. Other parts are developing differently, and we can be pro-active by focusing on alternate transportation modes.

The first step is to connect with others and understand their points of view. The Exchange does this by asking individuals and organizations to host conversations with 10 people or pledge to have five personal conversations this week. People are free to talk about congestion solutions, types of modes and what needs to be connected. After the conversations, we ask individuals to text “Join” to 74029 and answer eight questions. Find out more about the initiative at www.thegr8exchange.com.

This is an opportunity for the people of Gwinnett to not only speak their mind and share their views, but to listen and better understand what is important to their fellow Gwinnettians.

Chuck Warbington is executive director of the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District.

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