How Can Our Streets Lead Us to Future Economic Success? Community Invited to Attend Discussion on the Relationship Between Multimodal Transportation and the Economy

January 16, 2020

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February 11th conversation will feature nationally recognized experts and is part of Thrive Montgomery 2050 effort

Silver Spring, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will host a moderated discussion on the relationship between economic health and multimodal transportation in Montgomery County on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Montgomery Planning headquarters (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD). “Multimodal Transportation and a Healthy Economy” is the second part of the Big Ideas Series, which features a diverse group of speakers weighing in on quality of life and land use ideas for the county’s future. The series is part of the Montgomery Planning effort to update the county’s General Plan, known as Thrive Montgomery 2050. The session will be available live and on-demand online. RSVPs are encouraged but not required.

Credits for certification maintenance (CM) for members of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) attending the series are available.

View the video presentation from the first Big Ideas Series on January 14 – The Future of Food

Multimodal Transportation and a Healthy Economy
Montgomery County enjoys a diverse and robust economy and is home to global companies, government sectors, and local businesses. In the future, the county must continue to foster a culture of innovation and learning that propels our economy towards shared prosperity. How can we ensure that streets become economically competitive places, in addition to serving as corridors for automobiles? Listen to an esteemed panel of experts lead this discussion on the future of multimodal transportation as it relates to economic development.

About the Panel:

Gabe Klein, co-founder, CityFi, former commissioner of the Chicago and Washington D.C. Departments of Transportation
In both Chicago and Washington, Gabe revamped technology platforms and government processes while prioritizing putting people on city streets rather than automobiles. This included launching two of the first and largest bikeshare systems in the U.S.; building protected bike lanes and better pedestrian infrastructure for vulnerable citizens citywide; and facilitating private services like carshare and rideshare that could help each city’s mobility goals. Gabe honed his creativity and leadership skills working in business, including for Zipcar, where he served as vice president; at Bikes USA where he was national director of stores; and for his own electric-powered, organic food-truck chain, On The Fly.

Post-government, and after an enriching fellowship with the Urban Land Institute in 2014, Gabe joined Fontinalis Partners as a special venture partner on its $100 million second fund. Gabe also advises governments and companies worldwide on innovation in cities including Singapore, where Gabe has been a visiting fellow for the Centre For Livable Cities, working on creating a “car-lite” city-state. In 2015, Gabe published “Start-Up City” with David Vega-Barachowitz, which focuses on urban innovation as technology shapes a dramatically different future.

Gabe sits on the boards of Streetsblog, Carma, and advisory boards of NACTO, Sensity Systems, and Zendrive, and he advises next-gen start-ups including Phone2Action and Transit Screen. As commissioner, he worked to bring a new Riverwalk to Chicago as well as the breathtaking Bloomingdale Trail, and hundreds of miles of bike lanes. He fostered the development of new policies combined with technology solutions to revamp parking, permitting, and other arcane government processes.

Veronica Davis, co-owner and principal planning manager at Nspiregreen, LLC
Veronica is a self-described transportation nerd. She believes all people should have access to safe, reliable, and affordable transportation. She has more than 16 years of experience in civil engineering and planning.

At Nspiregreen, she manages multimodal transportation and community planning projects, which includes surface transportation planning, policy development, and long-range planning. She was the principal-in-charge for the Vision Zero Action Plans for the District of Columbia and the City of Alexandria, Va. She oversaw the development of strategies to prioritize biker and pedestrian safety.

Veronica is one of the co-founders of Black Women Bike (BWB), an organization and movement that encourages African American women to bike for wellness and transportation. In less than two years, the organization has grown to include more than 1,500 members. Veronica is also on the board of America Walks.

Veronica holds a bachelor‘s degree in civil engineering from the University of Maryland. She earned master’s degrees in engineering management and regional planning from Cornell University. She is a registered professional engineer in the District of Columbia, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia. In July 2012, the White House recognized her as a Champion of Change and Transportation Innovator for her professional accomplishments and community advocacy in D.C., where she lives with her husband and dog.

Kimberly Lucas, assistant director of transportation, City of Pittsburgh
Kim is the assistant director for policy, planning and permitting in the departments of mobility and infrastructure. She worked previously in the D.C.’s Department of Transportation, where she focused on transportation planning and bicycle and pedestrian programs.

Lucas has a master’s degree in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s in psychology and art history from the University of Virginia

Chris Conklin, director of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (moderator)
Chris was confirmed in his current role in 2019. He spent 23 years at the planning, engineering, and environmental firm VHB, most recently as managing director for the National Capital Region. He is a recognized expert in multi-modal transportation strategy, planning, and engineering, stakeholder and public participation, project management, and team leadership.  During his career, Chris has worked with transportation organizations nationwide, including cities and towns, counties, states, regional transit agencies, and federal agencies. He has also held corporate leadership roles, including an elected term on VHB’s Board of Directors, and has completed the American Council of Engineering Companies Senior Executive Institute leadership program. In addition to being an accredited environmental sustainability professional, Conklin is a licensed professional engineer in Maryland and Massachusetts.

Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and master’s degrees in transportation and technology policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

What is Thrive Montgomery 2050?

Tremendous and rapid social, environmental, technological, demographic and economic shifts over the next few decades necessitate revisions to Montgomery County’s guiding framework for growth, called the General Plan. As Montgomery Planning works to update this important plan, the community is asked to help ensure that the county remains a vibrant, verdant and welcoming place — with an innovative economy — where all can thrive.

Thrive Montgomery 2050 is our chance to figure out — together — how the county can be a great community over the next 30 years. It’s about how we respond to future opportunities and challenges in the county. Through Thrive Montgomery 2050, planning staff is identifying and examining the changes occurring, considering what we want for tomorrow, and then developing a shared vision that allows us to keep what we love about Montgomery County while planning necessary changes that will ensure the best possible future.

The result of Thrive Montgomery 2050 will be a living and breathing plan that guides decision-making and helps secure resources to ensure the county is a place where everyone can be successful, have opportunities, and enjoy a high quality of life in a beautiful and resilient environment. There are three priorities for the plan:

Economic health: We want to ensure a vibrant, strong and competitive economy by supporting small businesses and business innovation, and to attract and retain a high-quality, diverse workforce.

Equitable communities: We want to create a place where all residents have equal access to affordable housing, healthy food, employment, education, and more.

Environmental resilience: We want to preserve our natural and built resources and use the best strategies to fight climate change and mitigate the impact of land development.

Learn more about Thrive Montgomery 2050 and how to get involved at