Not so Crazy After All: October 17, 2013

Eighteen months ago, when I thought up Lawrence OnBoard, my first goal was to get myself into town without getting behind a wheel.  Little did I know that this idea would strike such a chord here in Lawrence and even across the country!

The research we have done so far was interesting enough to Anne Dunning, associate professor at the KU department of Urban Planning, that she suggested we write it up into a paper for the Transportation Research Board conference.  I am proud to announce that the paper was accepted!  We will be traveling to Washington DC in January to present our findings.  And, I guess we must be on somebody’s radar because a Federal Highway Administration official just mentioned Lawrence OnBoard at the Transit summit in San Antonio.

This past week, Lawrence OnBoard has been in the public eye on four occasions.  First, we found a supportive audience at the Mother Earth News Fair this past weekend where 12,000 thrifty homesteaders and eco-minded folk passed by the booth and many stopped to chat about the challenges of rural transportation.  On Wednesday, I presented the project to the Community Forum at Ecumenical Campus Ministries. Three mobility-challenged individuals there asked how soon we could sign them up as riders.  That afternoon, the fabulous Ann Wilson from Channel 6 news came over for a follow-up interview, and this morning I had a lovely chat with Mike Phillips from KMBZ radio station, 98.1FM.  That interview will air Friday morning, and we will watch the comments to see if this is an idea that appeals to  Conservatives as well as Liberals.

Finally, I spent a delightful 2 days with hitchhiking consultant Michael Schneider who heard about Lawrence OnBoard through a mutual contact at the New York Times.  Michael traveled all the way from Washington State to see first hand what we were doing and to try it for himself.

We are getting ready to pack up the ride boards for the winter.  There are a couple of issues to clear up with the city before we do any more rides in town, and there is the TRB paper to buff and polish.  I will continue riding into town from Jefferson County as long as the weather cooperates, and we hope to roll full steam ahead come Springtime.  See you on the road!