We were overjoyed to learn that Kip Dunlap, ABC Member since 2013, would be Colony Square's new Mobility Concierge. Colony Square announced the position in January 2016 to "work with tenants, guests and the greater Midtown community to identify customized transportation and mobility solutions and incentivize their use."
Colony Square is located at the intersection of 14th and Peachtree Street. “We’re dedicated to bridging the mobility gap,” said Mark Toro, managing partner of North American Properties (NAP). “We will strive to encourage and accommodate the entire community in finding commuter solutions because mobility is the answer to how Atlanta will continue to grow and recruit the best and the brightest.”
We wanted to learn more about this innovative new approach to encourage people to expand their mobility options in Midtown, so we asked Kip a few questions about his new role.
What is a mobility concierge?
Kip: Mobility Concierge is primarily a resource for our guests at Colony Square. I’m here to help commuters get from point A to point B in the most time sensitive, stress free and cost effective manner. Our guests could have any number of complicated needs for transportation including time constraints, limited mobility, or a need to carry materials with them. The Mobility Concierge is here to take all of this into consideration and apply a local's perspective to find options that fit best for the individual.
Tell us about the work Colony Square is doing to improve biking and walking in Midtown?
Kip: First of all, I'd say that the historic character of Midtown is ideal for walking and biking. Our friends at Midtown Alliance and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition are doing wonderful work towards that goal.
At Colony Square, we will help to advance that goal by creating a more hospitable environment for walking and biking. We want people to know that they can get here easily on foot or bike, that there will be ample and high-quality storage for bikes, and that when you're ready to go, you'll have options for the next part of your trip, whether that’s heading home or just somewhere else in the neighborhood.
How important is bike infrastructure to the success of Midtown and Colony Square?
Kip: Extremely. What we’re talking about essentially is “Quality of Life” and reasserting the idea that city living can be pleasurable. It’s something that we see around the world. We have the basic ingredients here, but we lost sight of it for a while as much of America became automobile dependent. Colony Square was an early haven for people who believed in the walkability concept, so we have a head start on articulating that simple joy. The fact is that in a dense area like Midtown, every trip can’t be a car-trip, and we need to make sure that our streets encourage various commuting options. If we do this right, bike infrastructure can enhance the sense of connectivity within the neighborhood, relieve traffic, and be beautiful at the same time.
Are you seeing lots of people biking from Downtown using Relay Bike Share?
Kip: We certainly see a lot of Relay bikes locked up around us and rolling around Midtown. I don’t always know where they’re coming from, but they’re being used and we’re going to do everything possible to encourage our guests to think of Relay bikes as a transportation option.
How does the work you're doing fit into the future of Atlanta and Midtown?
Kip: Atlanta and Midtown have always had this potential to be lively and urbane. I’m so heartened to see Americans turned on to the romance of city life, trading their big backyards and homes in suburbia for the vibrant street energy and activity in urban cores. The reimagined Colony Square is going to become a new icon in the Modern South by elevating the urban social experience with best-in-class dining, shopping, art-infused activations, and community events. We need each other as humans and we naturally want to be around each other – comfortably. Good design does this, and when it’s done well, it’s good for us, biologically, psychologically, and environmentally. Colony Square’s new look will bring people together, creating a place for them to spend time with loved ones and make new traditions and lasting memories.
What's the strangest/surprising/illuminating question you've fielded from visitors you've assisted? Is there a particular instance that you recall?
Kip: My favorite question is actually when people ask how I get to work. It’s an opportunity to share how many options we have in this location.
Most days I take the #110 MARTA bus (The Peach) because I live on Peachtree and it’s practically a door-to-door trip. If I miss the bus, the train is a short walk, but with better frequency during commuter hours. I typically check my phone while getting ready for work to see which one will be the fastest option. MARTA is especially great when I’m carrying something - I’m not afraid to carry my office plants on MARTA!
It’s also getting to that time of year when biking to and from work is most pleasant. Biking gives me the most freedom to make other stops around town later in the day. I also appreciate the ability to pick up a Relay bike when I don’t bring my bike to work. Riding a bike is a stress reliever after a long day.
There’s always Uber or Lyft for when I’m running late or need to get somewhere difficult to access by bike or MARTA. Also Zipcar? Did I mention there are a ton of options?!?
And, last but definitely not least, I can always walk home and grab dinner or groceries on the way.