While reflecting on the success of last week’s Road Safety Symposium that took place here in Wilton Manors, my thoughts keep circling around what is the next step? How do we move forward toward solving these critically important issues?

As my thoughts raced forward, a culinary phrase popped into my head, ‘Mise en place.’ A phase not thought about for many years, probably not since French chefs drilled the phrase into my brain while attending culinary school. The phrase translates to, ‘putting in place,’ an essential first step toward having everything that is required prepped and in place before beginning to execute an important task. It was then I realized that this community must put our mise en place together as the first step before we can engage the regional planning authorities and move our agenda forward to reality.

The Road Safety Symposium was a community driven event, hosted by our neighborhood associations working together with our soon to be new City Manager, Leigh Ann Henderson. The packed house with standing room only was a clear indication to the panelists and to our elected officials of the importance these issues are within our community. We came together seeking information and guidance from an amazing panel representing various regional agencies. We listened and learned how best to move these important issues ahead.

The panel laid out roadmaps, procedures and some reality checks on what we need to do, what we can expect, and how to get the results we are seeking. A list of items needed to have our mise en place in order, ready to move ahead to the next step.

Sometimes moving ahead means leaving certain things behind. This can be a large hurdle for some to move beyond. Now is not the time to keep pushing outdated plans and expectations when all the players involved are ready for something new. We see a new approach by state officials at FDOT. We have a new player in town, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, who will have the source of funding needed for such projects. We see new stewardship in our city government with our new City Manager coming onboard. We see the reality of the ‘Complete Streets’ planning model already having an enormous effect in surrounding communities. So now is the time to embrace these changes, to take the information learned at the symposium, revise our expectations, define what we need as a community and begin to make it happen. Once this mise en place is in place, we will have the ability to work with our regional partners and create a better, safer community for residents, visitors, pedestrians, bicyclist and motorists.

In the coming weeks, the neighborhood association officers will be meeting with our city officials to voice our willingness to join together with various community leaders and organizations to embark on a journey that will bring about these important changes. The time is ripe to have our wish list turned into a grand reality for our city. We have been given the tools and information to make it happen.

Now it’s time to get to work!!!

Why? “because life is just better here….”