“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
– Martin Luther King Jr.
We asked each staff member of Nspiregreen about theirs hopes and goals for 2017 here’s what we said:
Mei: 2016 has been a challenging year for me, but it was filled with many unforgettable moments, such as graduating from with my Master’s degree and getting married. My wishes for 2017 are more great memorable moments and a more peaceful world. I hope to get my LEED Certificate during the first half of the year, improving myself on a professional level. I hope to have the chance to go back to my hometown in China to visit my friends and family. I have many dreams and wishes, some of the simpler desires include breaking my habit of sleeping late; visit New York City, cleaning out my closet, and to stay in shape.Finally, it’s going to be a bright new year, my most important wish is for everyone’s continued happiness throughout 2017.
Christine: In 2016, a lot of things were knocked down for me, but as one of my favorite rap lyrics and personal mottos goes “sometimes you gotta get knocked down to get up”- Mystikal. In 2017, my focus is going to be on the concept of “building”. I want to build up my skills in some areas, especially hand and computer renderings, technical capabilities, knowledge base, and being a leader. I want to build in time for people, things, and experiences that bring me joy.
Fabiana: My wish for this new year is that everyone, including my family, colleagues and friends, have a and a healthy, happy and prosperous life. To create this happier, healthier and more prosperous life for myself, my goal is to keep growing personally and professionally by being in the best disposition to learn, challenge myself and try new performances in my life. My greatest desire is to enjoy from the greatest to the smallest events happening in my life.
Chanceé: Like the dawn of each year, I expect 2017 to be a year of dreams fulfilled and goals accomplished. I desire to spend more time with my amazing new little family. I dream of spending days relaxing in front of clear blue water while jotting down new ideas that I make come to pass. I wish to give more of my time to causes I care about and have goals to do new things with Nspiregreen. As my family at home grows, I pray abundant blessings over Nspiregreen in the new year so that my work family can grow too. This is my hope for 2017 may the odds be ever in my favor.
Veronica: Usually I start the year with a list of goals I’m going to accomplish and things I’m going to do for the year. After ending 2016, physically and mentally exhausted, I’m looking forward to doing less in 2017. My hope is to take some things off my plate, say “no” more, travel more, and be radical with taking personal time outs. I want to reorganize my day to provide more time to think and be creative, so I can continue to create a vision for Nspiregreen and the urban planning business unit.
These are our hopes for 2017. What are your hopes? What are your goals?
What’s the best way to get from Washington, DC to Baltimore, MD during the height of rush hour?
That is the question I asked myself when leaving work in Downtown DC recently, to go to an event that was held in Baltimore, MD, thirty-nine miles away. As our firm focuses on transportation planning and knowing how notorious rush hour traffic is in this area, I sought alternative modes of transportation to traverse the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan region along Interstate 95, without being stuck in what Texas Tech Transportation Institute called in 2015, “the worst traffic in the Country.” In assessing the situation, using the regional rail network seemed to be the most prudent course of action, and getting from Union Station in Washington to Penn Station in Baltimore would mean traveling aboard Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metrorail line and the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) train.
The MARC train has three different service lines that run close to 100 trains a day covering the Washington-Baltimore region. Historically connected to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the MARC systems runs on some of the oldest continuously operated passenger rail lines in the country.
Since most of our staff already commutes to our offices by WMATA Metrorail service, I was able to completely traverse the region without relying on automobiles. Taking the Orange Line from our offices at McPherson Square to the Metro Center WMATA Transit Hub, then transferring from the Orange Line to the Red Line, and then taking the Red Line to Washington’s Union Station, where staff was able to transfer to the MARC train system. Arriving at Union Station, I was able to purchase tickets on the MARC line to travel from Union Station to Baltimore’s Penn Station. After arriving at Baltimore’s Penn Station, I walked several blocks to the location of the event on East North Avenue at the Impact Hub. Not having to deal with traffic congestion on Interstate 95, as well as not having to pay for parking or gas, while also disembarking several blocks from the event’s location showed me that taking the MARC train was an accessible means of regional travel. But while the train trip was convenient for all the aforementioned reasons, it could have been faster in terms of travel time.
Currently, the United States falls behind many other developed nations, in terms of investment in a national and inter-regional High-Speed Rail network. Within the past 6 years, several states have rejected funding offers through the Federal Government’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program to assist in the development and construction of a High-Speed Rail network in their respective states. Currently, Amtrak offers Acela, a High-Speed train that runs between Washington, DC and Boston, MA, that is so successful it accounts for close to 25% of Amtrak’s revenue as of Fiscal Year 2012. While there are currently plans underway throughout the country to invest more resources into High-Speed rail in the United States, we as a country as still playing catch up with other developed countries who have invested in their respective rail networks, in terms of offering alternative transportation modalities for those who live a car-free lifestyle or who do not have the personal finances to own a private vehicle. Having a faster, more reliable intercity rail transportation network option to traverse our region would lessen our reliance on cars, which in turn reduces congestion, reduces carbon emissions, and limits the frustration of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. This would be a positive impact on our region, as well as the country as a whole.
If the opportunity presents itself in your future travel plans, please don’t eschew mass transit for a personal vehicle. Sure, you get to select your own music and travel in privacy, but the benefits of trading your private mode of transportation for mass transit outweigh the perceived negatives of not being able to drive directly to your destination.
David Simon, MCP, is a Community Planner who has worked in diverse communities across the country ranging from the Rust Belt to Appalachia, and from communities metropolitan to rural. Returning to the DC Metro area where he grew up, after 15 years working and going to school in the Midwest, he is impressed at the growth and development that the Metro area has accomplished. As the newest team member of Nspiregreen, he seeks to make an impact in the communities that our team works with, through proactive community engagement, while utilizing his passion for urban environments and community development.