The Missouri Public Transit Association welcomed Nidhi Gulati, program manager for the Emerald Network, an initiative of the Livable Streets Alliance, as the keynote for the 36th Annual Meeting on August 7. Wtih transit providers and stakeholders from across Missouri in attendance, Ms. Gulati talked about the importance of making transit stops – bus stops and train stops – ‘lovable’.
“Transit stations are public realm. As a part of our public realm, we need to provide space for these stations. They are the first impressions of a city, and we need to go beyond perceptions of transit to lovability of these places within our communities for visitors and residents.”
Gulati sighted her experiences in the United States and abroad on transit stations that are welcoming and invite passengers to stay, sit and enjoy versus stations where passengers continue to look over their shoulders. Gulati has done work in more than 15 states and 5 countries. “A transit station can serve as your first impression of a city,” said Gulati.
As parts of the public realm, Gulati stressed the importance of planning for the 8 year old and the 80 year old. In effect, this type of planning will make transit accessible to all ages.
Gulati recommended some simple steps to get started:
- Ask, don’t tell
- Have a vision
- Instill a vision
- Be creative
- Think BIG, act SMALL
- Test, observe, learn, REPEAT!
“Nidhi did an excellent job of telling the story of why transit needs to be welcoming and a part of the community. The key is thinking outside the box with regards to the vision of what can be at our stations in Missouri. We look forward to continuing our discussions with her as our placemaking work around transit moves forward,” said Kim Cella, executive director of MPTA.