By April Economides, Presidio MBA Alumna
After graduating from Presidio with my MBA in 2011, I moved back to Southern California to help break the region from its car addiction. A tall order you may say? Well, I attained an MBA in for a reason – to make big, immediate, positive change for our planet. I suspect you can relate.
Transportation and planning is too often left out of sustainability conversations, yet car emissions and the car-centric urban planning that comes with it are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and other societal ills. I left idyllic San Francisco to try and improve this situation in one of the nation’s most car-dependent regions. My hometown of Long Beach, California, hired my company, Green Octopus Consulting, to create the nation’s first Bicycle-Friendly Business District program – a bike local/shop local effort. After its successful roll-out, we started similar programs in other cities around the U.S. and Canada. Copenhagen’s bicycle coordinator has studied our work in order to better engage businesses in his city.
Now, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and LA Streetsblog, we’re ready to equip cities throughout L.A. County with the necessary tools to follow suit. We’ve entered a project in The Goldhirsh Foundation and GOOD’s LA2050 grant competition, which will give $100,000 to 10 projects to shape a better future for Los Angeles. We can’t think of anything more important for the region's economic and community health than reducing car trips thorugh active transportation.
Our project, “What’s the BF(B)D? Connecting Neighborhoods through Bicycle-Friendly Business Districts” will decrease car trips and increase bicycle trips into local business districts in an effort to not only change transportation modes but also support local, small businesses. As we write in our grant abstract, “Bicycle-friendly business districts improve local economies by strengthening connections between residents and their local businesses, increasing small business revenues, and improving neighborhood vitality and connectedness, all the while improving public safety, environmental health, and GLH – Gross Local Happiness.” More about the benefits and specifics of our proposal can be read here.
We’re ranking well – in the high twenties out of 279 entries – but we want to get in the top 10 since public voting is a big part of what projects will be chosen. (The Goldhirsh Foundation has final say.)
Will you please take 1 minute to vote now and help spread the word to your networks? Thank you! We greatly appreciate your support.
(2) Click “VOTE”
(3) If you have a GOOD account, log in and you’re done. If not, register with your email, and check your inbox for an email with a link to confirm your vote.
To spread the word, please forward this post via email and post our team’s project link on your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. Voting is open through April 17th, but the sooner the better.
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