As part of the focus on transportation options in the St. Louis region, CMT’s 5th annual “Great Race” Finish Line Celebration will also feature a panel discussion on “Rethinking the Last Mile with CMT” at Thurs., May 12’s Venture Cafe Gathering.
Venture Cafe is an non-profit organization supporting the innovation and entrepreneurial community. Their flagship event, the Venture Cafe Gathering is a weekly Thursday gathering from 3-8pm, open to anyone in or interested in the innovation space. Weekly sessions inspire connecting and gathering as well as opportunities to learn through various breakout sessions.
In its latest iteration, this CMT Great Race course focuses on the “Last Mile” of the transit commute, and raises awareness about the viable multimodal transportation options that exist, how they can be seamlessly integrated, and what further work we need to do in the St. Louis region to make alternative transportation options accessible to all users.
BUT WHAT IS THE “LAST MILE”?
In the transportation industry, “the Last Mile” refers to the distance between a major transit hub and a rider’s final destination. In the St. Louis region, the Last Mile between a transit hub like a MetroLink station or a bus transfer center and someone’s final destination (i.e., work, home, shopping, sporting event, etc.) is an area ripe with opportunity… and challenges.
The “Last Mile” includes the crucial transfers between home and transit station, transit station and home, that often present a barrier to using public transportation. But it also represents a space to integrate transit into the fabric of the community, and a place to focus development of much needed resources, services and amenities. Much more than just a way to get from Point A to Point B, transit can be an asset to the neighborhoods it runs through — even to those who don’t use it regularly.
In this panel discussion, we’ll talk about the Last Mile as a place for mixed use development, as a physical space in which we can improve health and quality of life for individuals and communities, and how activating the last mile can make transit more usable for both those who depend on it every day and for potential riders. Panel discussion will conclude with small break out discussion groups to talk about various opportunities and challenges for all the “Last Miles” in our region.
The “Rethinking the Last Mile with CMT” panel utilizes Venture Cafe Gathering’s innovative community to discuss issues regarding development and infrastructure near transit, what the challenges to such improvements currently are (particularly in our region), and what possibilities may await for us.
The panel will be in the Havana Room at Venture Café from 6:30-7:45 pm, and will include:
- Jessica Mefford-Miller, Chief of Transportation Planning & Systems Development at Metro Transit/Bi-State Development
- Rachael Pawlak, Transportation Planner with East-West Gateway Council of Governments
- Glenn Burleigh, Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council
- Stephanie Co, Beyond Housing.
The panel will conclude with break out discussion groups focused on challenges or possibilities for transit and the last mile in our region. Break out groups will focus on such topics as:
- Active transportation and the last mile (led by Great Rivers Greenway)
- Affordable housing TOD & vital resources and the last mile (led by EHOC)
- Accessibility and the last mile (led by Paraquad)
- Innovative technologies and how they might help solve or exacerbate problems with traversing the last mile
Paraquad hosts discussion “From App to Ride: A look at Disability and Transportation Services”
Prior to the panel, a smaller transit-focused discussion will be held from 5:30-6:30 pm in the Chuck Berry Room at Venture Cafe. This discussion, called “From App to Ride: A look at Disability and Transportation Services” is hosted by Paraquad and will focus on the question, “How does user experience differ with different transportation services (including MetroLink, bus, taxi and Uber), and which ones are actually accessible to all?”
CMT’s 5th Annual Great Race will culminate at Cortex Commons (4240 Duncan Ave.) with an outdoor CMT Metro Market celebration with food trucks, live music, and special programming at Venture Café. The Cortex Commons is adjacent to the future site of the Boyle St. MetroLink Station in Midtown St. Louis.