One to Watch

StarMetro’s Ron Garrison aims to offer more choices in Tallahassee transitRon GarrisonBuilding Tallahassee’s Transit Choices

By Jason Dehart

“It’s all about choice.” That’s Ron Garrison’s motto. As executive director of StarMetro, and an 18-year authority on mass transit, Garrison wants the people of Tallahassee to have more choices in their modes of transportation.

“The way I look at it is this: Years ago, folks lived in the city. They took mass transit and lived in the city because that’s where work was, and that’s where commerce was,” he said.

“That’s where choices were. Streetcars came, and … they actually paved the cities. So when cars came, then people had another choice, a new freedom, so they moved away from the cities. And that was freedom, because they had more choices. Today, people have the cars and, instead of the car being a choice, it’s become a chain around their neck.”

The car, Garrison said, has helped to fuel costly urban sprawl.

“Urban sprawl is bankrupting society because we can’t afford the costs,” he said.

That is why Garrison came here two years ago – to change how people think about getting around town.

“I came here because of the tremendous opportunity here,” he said. “I came here because of the potential for growth and for implementing some very, very positive change, or being a part of positive change.

“We have a wonderful community here that is poised, I believe, for tremendous growth over the next 30 years,” Garrison said. “What I’m really interested in is smart growth, or livable communities, and how transit makes that happen.”

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