In December I applied to be on the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board, and tonight I had the chance to attend a meeting. They’ll be doing interviews in the next few months to replace three positions that are being vacated in March.
It’s been interesting talking to people as I’ve gone through this process, a lot of my friends know I’m a bit of a nerd on transit issues, and pedestrian safety etc. issues certainly tie directly in with creating viable transit and related development. That said, there are a lot of people on the SPAB that are significantly more nerdy than I am. While a large portion of my job is to help technical people communicate to a non-technical audience, I was reminded last night of what a surface understanding I have of some of the details of pedestrian issues beyond, “What are they doing about that sidewalk destroyed by tree roots?”
I was also raised with a belief in the importance of civic engagement, I have always voted regularly and spend a great deal of time researching issues and candidates as well as paying attention to policy in the intervening time. I have no desire to actually be involved in politics like my brother has found himself over the years (he’s currently the healthcare advisor for a local senator, participates in lobbying related to the practice of emergency medicine, and is on a national taskforce for veterans health issues), but I’ve been poking around the last few years for a way to get involved in my local community that would marry well with my talents and interests.
I still don’t know if the SPAB is the right place for me, we’ll see how the upcoming interviews and similar go. I do know though, that I like the idea of being involved with something tangible that influences the fabric of my city on a very practical level.