Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Bob Giordano, and I am the Director of the Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation, which includes the Free Cycles community bicycle program. Our goals are to make transportation safe, equitable and environmentally sound. I lead this effort for better transportation, with a focus on active transportation such as walking and biking. We aim to change city design, help Missoula be much more sustainable and network with others trying to do similar efforts. More specifically, I manage volunteers, ensure our 2-acre property on 1st st. is functioning well, organize events, teach people how to fix bikes, advocate and demonstrate for a healthy community and work with an amazing team of people!
What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?
Work with people that are good listeners and have passion.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.
Just last week my family came within inches of being in a head-on collision while driving to Helena. An oncoming car was trying to pass other cars and was headed right for us. The mistake, in this case, was driving on a dangerous road with winter on the way in Montana. This incident has instilled in me a great passion to help revive passenger rail in Montana. Having almost died in a car wreck can be an amazing catalyst for change.
Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?
Hopefully one will not need a car in order to live in Missoula, or Montana, or the United States. A car should not be a necessity. We should be able to go about our daily lives on foot. Progress is being made, with infrastructure changes, city design changes, awareness changes, policy changes- many changes are underway and it is exciting to be a part of the process.
As long as you are awake and on fire, you can help steer the changes for a prosperous future!
What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Many planners, engineers, and consultants propose that roads be widened to accommodate more traffic. This usually does not work, causing sprawl and traffic crashes. Slimming down streets, with techniques such as ‘road diets’, is a better way to go and helps to foster community. Another bad recommendation, typically, is to put in a stoplight. This often causes delays, crashes and road rage. On the other hand, modern, single-lane roundabouts tend to be much safer- saving lives, as well as saving time, energy and money.
In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?
I have become better at saying ‘no’ to being at meetings that do not really need my presence.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
The Alchemist. The reason I recommend this book is that there is a central tenant that if you believe something strongly enough and act with enough focus, attention, and passion, then the entire universe will conspire to help make it happen.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
Find a job that helps create a better community. Do not go for the money if the actions of the job tend to harm the community or the planet. We need actions that help clean up the air, water, and land and especially keep pollution from happening in the first place.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
My favorite quote would be whatever the most recent thing I hear that inspires me to act!
Best is to find me at Free Cycles at 732 S. 1st St. W, here in Missoula.
You can forward email requests to me at firstname.lastname@example.org