AARP RI brings us the story of Doug, a Providence resident who has voluntarily given up his car.
In a new video by AARP, Elmwood resident Doug Victor explains how he “retired” his car and now depends on RIPTA, his bike, and his “good two feet” to provide nearly all his transportation needs.
Surprisingly, he says it has not been easy when it comes to navigating and maximizing his use of the public transit system.
He says that RIPTA riders face a “steep learning curve,” but if you ask the right questions you’ll find public transportation can work for you. The interview was recorded March 5, at the RIPTA-AARP rollout of the new “Guide to Ride” rider’s guide. The event took place at the West End Community Center.
AARP Rhode Island, a member of GrowSmart and the Coalition for Transportation Choices, worked with RIPTA to develop the guide because supporting public transportation and encouraging people to utilize the service is at the heart of the organization’s mission to promote Aging in Place. For those unfamiliar with the term, it represents the notion that most people prefer to grow older in the safety and comfort of their own homes for as long as it is practical. That often means making some modifications inside the house. But AARP is working to ensure that once people leave their homes they face a minimum of unnecessary challenges.
Because mobility is a key to keeping older people healthier and their lives more fulfilling, AARP wants public transportation to be readily available. Another goal is making sure transportation infrastructure remains user-friendly for users of all types and people of all ages and abilities.
That’s why AARP has advocated for passage of a Complete Streets bill in the Rhode Island General Assembly. The bill (H7352) recognizes the benefits of applying the best available design principles when it comes to maintaining Rhode Island streets and highways, as well as guiding the planning of new transportation infrastructure.
Complete Streets, if enacted, will raise awareness that our streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, signals and signage should be designed with the needs of all users in mind regardless of age or abilities. In particular, these design considerations help keep older Rhode Islanders more mobile, active and healthy – essential components of aging in place.
The bill (which has been endorsed by DOT) requires that when roads are being modified or constructed Complete Streets design be considered. It is important to understand that the bill does not necessarily add cost to projects. It’s about doing it right the first time – it’s about seeing the bigger picture and planning with all users in mind.
The Complete Streets bill has won passage in the Rhode Island Senate. Tomorrow (4/5) it will be heard by the House Committee on Municipal Government. GrowSmart will join AARP and nearly a dozen other community groups testifying or submitting written testimony on behalf of the bill.