A group of Columbus leaders including Mayor Teresa Tomlinson is on a fact-finding mission in Chicago. The delegation is attending a conference sponsored by the Knight Foundation. The foundation is footing the bill for the Columbus conference attendees, so the trip isn't being paid for by taxpayers.
Part of the conference is focusing on transportation, including how to safely incorporate bicycle traffic into the equation. I reached Mayor Tomlinson by phone Tuesday afternoon. She said, "The thing with bike lanes which is now really becoming something that particularly younger people are demanding to be part of the transportation grid in any city...there's a right way to do it and a wrong way. And there's been a lot of trial and error by cities. So why not learn the best practices? Why not learn from other people's mistakes so we don't have to recreate them in Columbus?"
The Mayor also added, "This is all about economic development. Cities are competing against one another for jobs, for the best employers, for the best workforce, for the best talent. And if your city is not competitive from a livability standpoint and a quality of life standpoint, you cannot attract the best talent or the best jobs. So that's why we're here, so that we take the great assets and resources of Columbus, Ga. and make them even better."
The Mayor says the details from the conference will be discussed at upcoming city council meetings, and also at her "Let's Talk with the Mayor" forums. The next one is scheduled for Thursday at the Salvation Army Worship and Community Center on Warm Springs Road beginning at 6:00 p.m.