LSA 45’s Be Mobile team curated an action-packed, two-hour Zoom call focused on transportation and infrastructure in San Antonio. The meeting was held from 3:00-5:00pm on Wednesday, July 1st, for an audience including not only LSA 45, but also several local elected officials. The day rocketed off to a fast start with a video and personal message from astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., who graduated from Sam Houston High School in San Antonio. Next, internationally recognized city planner and author Jeff Speck spoke to the class about the studies that led to his book Walkable City. He noted that wider roads lead to more traffic deaths, greenhouse gas emissions per capita are lower in dense urban areas, and spending so much time sitting in traffic has contributed to the increase in obesity in America. The solution is planning for a more walkable city – wider and safer sidewalks, dedicated bike lanes, and smaller roads to encourage slower driving. He also examined the importance of wide sidewalks during COVID-19, where ensuring six feet of space between people is essential to preventing the spread of the virus. After the LSA class stretched their minds, local workout studio Smart Barre helped everyone stretch their bodies with a short instructional video.

Next up on the agenda, Judge Xavier Rodriguez joined us via video and showed LSA the progress on the new downtown federal courthouse and surrounding innovative walkable spaces. Following that was the second live speaker of the day, Bruce Katz, former chief of staff for then HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, and author of The New Localism. He spoke about the importance of innovation districts, as well as the necessity for local industry and local government to work hand-in-hand to address today’s social and economic challenges. Right afterward, the focus shifted back to San Antonio with the Local Urban Development panel, featuring Darryl Byrd, President of ULTRAte Consulting and former CEO of Pearl for Silver Ventures; Kevin Covey, Managing Partner of GrayStreet Partners; and Beto Altamirano, CEO and Co-Founder of Irys, formerly known as CityFlag, and Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree. The panel touched on the Pearl redevelopment, the future Lone Star Brewery redevelopment, and how human-centered technology can guide future innovation districts and smart cities. The panel finished with a call to action for the LSA class, to fight for inclusive, people-focused development, plus the elimination of bureaucratic red tape.

The final video of the day featured former Mayor Phil Hardberger, who virtually took the class to the under-construction Hardberger Park Land Bridge. To close the jam-packed meeting, local DJ and entertainer Winston Gaines, of Gaines Entertainment, hosted an LSA and San Antonio-themed trivia game for the class. With that, team Be Mobile signed off, donned their masks, and encouraged the class to do the same when in public.

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