By Julia Murphy Funny how connected things are, right? And I don’t just mean 14.1 miles of our downtown through shared transportation options… (but check out how awesome that map is down there!) The SA2020 vision is a mash-up of goals, separated by categories like Transportation, Neighborhoods, Downtown Development and Environmental Sustainability—but when things like this map of shared transportation options can help us see how much each of our goals effects the others. By using and supporting shared transportation options, you can directly contribute to a cross-section of SA2020 goals: increasing transit use, decreasing vehicle miles travelled, increasing walkability, access to parks, contributing to better air quality, lowering energy usage, and enhancing the downtown living experience. Just by taking a ride on a B-cycle bike, or sharing a car. “Shared” transportation options are on the rise in downtown San Antonio, allowing those who want to reduce their dependence on a private automobile to seriously consider it. And think of how much cash an individual could spend on entertainment, education, or charity, for example—things that really enhance that person’s quality-of-life—instead of gas, insurance, and parking. For those who both live and work downtown, this is an enticing option. Indeed, perhaps even enticing enough to encourage more people to move downtown... In addition to hopping on a VIA bus, one can check out a shared B-Cycle bike or rent a car from Hertz 24/7. The beauty of it? Someone else is maintaining the vehicles, just steps from downtown housing, offices, restaurants, hotels, and cultural attractions. A small membership fee can get one access to B-Cycle bikes, currently in 52 locations, plus membership is good in at least 15 other cities in the country. Hertz car sharing is not only available in the downtown core, but may other locations around town as well. Average rate? About $12 per hour, with fuel and insurance included! For city planners and developers, what does this mean? We need to make it easier for people to seamlessly integrate all transportation choices through technology and wayfinding. Walkability and safe accommodations for “vulnerable road users” is key. For citizens, what does this mean? Think twice next time you get in your car to drive somewhere. Think about how a small change can lead to a huge step toward making our city world-class. Plus, it’s more fun!