Introducing TransitCamp Edmonton!

I’m excited to finally announce TransitCamp Edmonton! We’re still finalizing all of the details, but we have enough nailed down now that we figured it was time to share. Inspired by BarCamp and similar events, TransitCamp is the start of a two-way dialogue about transit in Edmonton, bringing together ETS officials and citizens to discuss a range of topics. Here are the details so far:

WHO: You!
WHAT: Edmonton’s first TransitCamp!
WHERE: Edmonton World Trade Centre (9990 Jasper Avenue)map
WHEN: Saturday, May 30th, 2009 from noon until 4:30pm
WHY: Let’s work together to improve and celebrate Edmonton’s transit system!

To RSVP, send an email to transitcampedmonton@gmail.com.

There are a number of people who have come together to make this happen, including myself, Leanne Brown, City Councillor Don Iveson, Cam Linke, Dan Nielsen, and thankfully, Dennis Nowicki and Bruce Beecher from ETS. This is not an ETS event, but they are definitely going to be participating.

A few other cities have held TransitCamps in the past, including Vancouver and Toronto. I particularly like this line from the Toronto Transit Camp wiki:

Toronto Transit Camp is not a complaints department, it is a solution playground.

That’s the vibe we hope to have at our TransitCamp too.

We’re going with a pseudo-BarCamp-style schedule. That means we’ll have a few sessions pre-planned, but also time slots for anyone who’s interested to present a topic or lead a discussion. We’re still working on the pre-planned sessions, but here’s what we have so far:

  • I’ll be making an announcement related to the ETS data/API
  • Jhenifer Pabillano, TransLink’s uber blogger, has agreed to join us via Skype to chat about community engagement

I also wanted to provide a little background. I was somewhat disappointed to learn that there would not be an ETS Community Conference this year, though I’ll admit it wasn’t the best event in the world. It was very much a one-way event, but it was better than nothing. True, there was the ETS Community Fair, but that didn’t really provide an opportunity to talk with ETS on a serious, “let’s get stuff done” kind of level. It was more of a fun event, with face-painting, etc.

Don Iveson and his team have been interested in the idea of a TransitCamp for some time. Cam and I were talking with them about it a few months ago, and I volunteered to sort of take the lead on the project. I’ve been working with Leanne since then to make this happen. In the last few weeks, everything started to fall into place!

As you may have seen, quite a few people started using the #yegtransit hashtag on Twitter over the weekend, so let’s keep using that. For now, you can see related tweets here.

There’s lots of cool stuff still to come, so stay tuned. I hope you’ll join us on May 30th!