Aarti Mehta’s Leadership in Advocating for Clean Transportation for Underserved Communities in New York City

Published: 20 June, 2024 – Author: Maja Markovski

As the Senior Manager for Community Development and Engagement at Perch Advisors, Aarti Mehta is working towards improving the quality of life in underserved communities. With a background in architecture and master’s in urban placemaking and management, she skillfully navigates the challenges of transportation planning, emphasizing sustainability and inclusivity.

She achieved her Coro Neighborhood Leadership Certification in 2023. While undergoing training at the Coro Neighborhood Leadership Program in New York City, she improved her communication and leadership abilities. She is a proponent of giving citizens a voice in decision-making and actively listening to them. Leadership training has helped her build trust and a positive community relationship.

Aarti’s work builds trust, addresses inequities, and fosters collaboration between residents and decision-makers. In NYC, her leadership in a community engagement project resulted in a significant grant for a clean transportation initiative. Dollaride is one such project in which she is leading community engagement efforts. Dollaride is a mobility firm that aims to enhance transit options for marginalized communities in NYC while lowering carbon emissions.

In November 2022, she led community engagement for Dollaride, which resulted in a $10 million grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). In Brooklyn and Queens boroughs, this funding is being used to implement the Clean Transit Access Program (CTAP), which provides access to electric vehicles to support the transition to electric vehicles, charging stations, training, and licensing.

As part of this process, Aarti hosted town hall meetings and presented at Community Boards (CB) in Brooklyn to generate awareness of the project and gather local feedback on the Clean Transit Access Program led by Dollaride. This led to meeting expectations and reducing the communication gap between the community and project goals. The meetings also led to overcoming community distrust and resistance to change.

During this process, misconceptions and district were some of the challenges she faced. She addressed these challenges by engaging in open dialogue, being transparent, listening carefully, and offering the community the insights they sought regarding the project’s impact on their neighborhoods.

“Immersing myself in the stories and experiences of residents has been pivotal in building genuine connections. At Perch Advisors, I guide and represent community voices in discussions, amplifying collective power,” she explains. As Aarti Mehta continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible in clean transportation, her story and achievements offer valuable insights for others in the field. By blending innovation with empathy and strategic thinking, she sets a high standard for what it means to be a leader in creating a sustainable, inclusive transit system. Her journey inspires not just urban planners but all of us to think about how we can contribute to making our underserved communities better.

 

Tags: Aarti Mehta, architect, New York, New York City

Author: Maja Markovski

 

A 35-year-old female architect with a passion for innovative, sustainable design. I blend creativity and functionality to transform spaces into beautiful, practical environments.

 

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