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Colorado Quarterly Magazine 

"Rewriting the Myths, Redefining the Realities"

 

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Colorado Mobility Coalition:

Creating a Transit Movement

by Margi Ness

For years, needs assessments for the elderly and persons with disabilities have ranked transportation among the top five issues of concern. According to the Colorado Demographers office, Colorado is the sixth fastest growing state in the country. In addition to the growing numbers of none-drivers needing transportation, Coloradans will be faced with additional traffic congestion, air pollution and parking problems. 

Fortunately, there are organizations working to improve public transportation in Colorado. The Colorado Mobility Coalition (CMC) is one of these organizations and is the only statewide coalition dedicated solely to promote multi-modal transportation across the state.

The CMC was formed in April 1998 when a group of citizens concerned with the lack of sufficient public transportation, particularly for the elderly and persons with disabilities, began to meet to discuss the problem and identify potential solutions. Since that time, the Coalition membership has broadened to include business and environmental groups as well as the disability and aging communities and other transit advocates. 

The Coalition is currently developing a pilot project for the Denver area that will focus on educating state legislators and targeted organizations about the benefits of increased public transportation. Following the pilot, CMC will take the project across the state. As one of only five states in the nation that receives no direct state financial assistance for public transit, Colorado is ripe for change.

The CMC is able to conduct these projects because of a two-year grant from the Rose Community Foundation. The purpose of the grant is to develop the pilot program, participate in the development of a national network of state transportation coalitions, and increase knowledge and support for public transit throughout Colorado. 

CMC is also committed to working in partnership with other organizations promoting multi-modal transit. Many organizations have been working in relative isolation toward improving public transportation in Colorado for many years with little success. “It is time to join forces and speak with a unified voice,” said Joe Henjum, President of the CMC Board of Directors. “We need to come together, set priorities, and support one another. Working on this individually hasn’t gotten anyone very far.”

CMC and HMI staff (see previous story) have already met to determine how they can work together. “By pooling resources we can make a bigger impact and not burn out the community leaders we’ll need to get this done,” said Homer Page, Director of HMI.

“There is momentum for change,” Henjum said. “Coloradans who believe in a healthy environment and economy, improved health and safety for all citizens; and social justice need to come forward and become part of the solution.”

For more information about the Colorado Mobility Coalition, contact MNess98@AOL.com or call 303-444-8721. 

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