Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Life At The Bike Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The North Little Rock mayor charmed a morning audience who were introduced to the Google Maps program.

He talked about his granddaughter learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels for the first time on Sunday at 2:58 PM. He talked lovingly about bicycling, noting there are bike trails named after his grandkids.

He said he would be happy to show people where the bike trails are in North Little Rock. But he noted he can’t always be there to show you – which is why he suggested you log onto Google Bike Maps to get the routes.


I’m attending a breakout on cities building bike infrastructure. It began with a Portland official showing a dizzying array of photos depicting bike lanes, bike corrals and experimental bike lane locations. Talk about bike lane envy.

Remember the 3 E’s – Engineering, Enforcement and Education.

The San Francisco speaker talked about a bicycle planning program that was launched – only to be undermined by car lovers who sued to stop it, arguing there was not enough impact analysis. A court injunction stopped the bike program.

Then, a judge allowed about 10 bike projects last November. The speaker made a good point -- it's not about bicycling vs. other modes of transportation. It's about bicycling being part of a bundle of transportation outside of the single-occupant car.

Sunday Streets is a program where bicyclists take over the roads in areas six times a year in SF. Irv Lee, a city of Tampa transportation official, has talked about having a closed-street program called Ciclovia that's rotated around the city but, as usual in the city of Tampa government, it's been all talk and no action.

I wish Pam Iorio was here at this breakout session. She built a new art museum. You would think a mayor who likes public art would like public bike space.

Regrettably, she’s out of touch about bicycling because a New York official is now presenting data about the emergence of bike-friendly cities across the country. The goal is to create more capacity on roads for green mobility of bikes and buses instead of just cars.

Transforming Broadway and making Times Square making more ped-friendly are two of the top high-profile NYC projects.

Portland, San Francisco, New York. Wow, I'm dreaming bike lanes. Tampa is way behind folks. I’ve seen a slew of photos showing bike lanes and even signalized bike lanes. In Brooklyn, there’s an even two-way bike lane along the water.


There's even a breakout on distracted drivers, which, as a bicyclist on the road for 12,000 miles a year, I see all the time in the Tampa Bay region.

And another breakout involved bike shops getting involved in advocacy -- a topic very close to my heart (SWFBUD). One bike shop in Washington, DC, joined forces with a local neighborhood marketing agency to give cost breaks to folks who live in the neighborhood and who want to bike.

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