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Headed to Seattle for national conference; Bike Friendly State rankings to be unveiled

Posted by on August 29th, 2008 at 12:20 pm

I’m headed to the 2008 Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference in Seattle next week along with a large contingent from Portland. Among the highlights will be the unveiling of the first-ever Bike Friendly States rankings by the League of American Bicyclists.

The conference, which kicks off on Wednesday, will feature keynote speeches and nearly 250 presenters in a variety of panels and workshop sessions. The opening address will be given by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. Nickels has been hailed as a “visionary” by the Sierra Club and other groups and has been called America’s “greenest” mayor by magazines like Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair.

TriMet bus with rack
Bikes and transit will be one
of many hot topics at the
conference.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Bike advocacy professionals, traffic engineers, and bike and pedestrian planning experts from all over North America will attend the conference to learn and share knowledge about topics like complete streets, federal funding, bike parking, and more. Some of the sessions I’ve got my eye on include:

  • Social Marketing and Community Campaigns Promoting Cycling
  • Partnering With Public Health
  • Quantifying the Movement: Counting Bikes, Pedestrians and Mode Splits
  • Bicycle Zone Analysis: A New Bicycle Planning Tool
  • Adapting the Bike Sharing Concept to North America

Portland’s bevy of bike braniacs figure prominently into the program. Here’s a sampling of participation by local experts:

  • Bring SmartTrips Home: Individualized Marketing Training to Increase Healthy Trips — presented by Linda Ginenthal from the City of Portland’s Transportation Options Program and Jessica Roberts, a former BTA staffer and now a planner with Portland-based Alta Planning + Design.
  • The Role of Infrastructure In Determining Bicycling Behavior — presented by Jennifer Dill, the Director of the Center for Transportation Studies at Portland State University.
  • Bicycle Mapping — presented by Jeff Smith, a bicycle program specialist at PDOT.
  • Bikes and Transit: Why and How — a panel that includes Jessica Roberts from Alta Planning, the BTA’s Michelle Poyourow, and Carolyn Young, the Executive Director of Programs and Communications, fro TriMet.
How will Oregon rank?

As for the Bike Friendly State rankings. I think Oregon’s got a great shot to be #1.

I’ve already made the case that we’re the #1 state for bike racing, we’ve a got a state tourism agency that is completely on-board with biking, one of the best fully supported rides in the world with Cycle Oregon, and then there’s that Platinum ranking and several other cities that have reached Gold and other levels.

I can’t wait to see who comes out on top.

Stay tuned for reports and photos from Seattle starting next week.

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Comments
  • T Williams August 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Seattle\’s mayor may be the \”greenest\” mayor, and one who\’s a \”visionary\” person…

    But Portland\’s mayor? He\’s openly gay!

    Take THAT, Washington!

    GO OREGON!! Woot!

    This message brought to you by: beer.

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  • poser August 29, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    be careful up there. Seattle\’s streets aren\’t nearly as friendly to bikes as Portland\’s – and the drivers are down-right dangerous.

    I\’ll be in Seattle Tues-Wed for business – and I\’ve been trying to figure out all week why all the bike slots were sold out on the train up (I always bring a bike). Nice to see it\’s Portland bike-advocates taking up my usual spot. I\’ll gladly give up my spot for you guys. have fun!

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  • Eileen August 29, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    That sounds great. Hopefully it will re-energize the battle-weary troops and people come back with some good ideas from other states.

    I can\’t wait to hear the comments after the unveiling. If Oregon is #1, they will all be negative saying we still suck and don\’t deserve it and if we\’re #1, the world is doomed. If Oregon isn\’t #1, they will all be about how we should have been and that other state is not nearly as good as we are. Ah, good old bikeportland, sanctuary for the dissatisfied.=)

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  • ambrown August 29, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Go Oregon Go!

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  • Val August 29, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Greg Nickels? Mr. Lip Service? Green!?! Visionary!?! Thanks for that, I needed a good laugh at the end of a long day. I won\’t even begin to bore you all with the many ways our mayor has sorely disappointed the cycling public up here in Seattle; all you need to do is to come ride our mean streets to see just how \”visionary\” he\’s been. Poser is right, Jonathan – be extra alert and vigilant up here, and give me a call – I might be able to work out some time to take you for a ride (I\’ll even provide the bike, if you can\’t bring one). You know where I work.

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  • Mark Allyn August 30, 2008 at 8:00 am

    You guys must not forget one thing . . .

    Even though Seattle may have \’Mr. Lip Service\’ for mayor, we all have to admit that Seattle does have one MAJOR asset that we do not have here in Portland.

    Seattle does have the largest bicycle club on the planet.

    Cascade Bicycle Club, with about 6,000 members, has a very strong education program as well as a advocacy program; not to mention the thousands of rides they offer throughout the year. They are the \’owners\’ of the world famous STP ride that ends here at Holliday Park in Portland.

    When I lived in Seattle, I was active with thim; in fact I had built and hosted their original web site back in the mid 1990\’s. Prior to that, I was the voice on their daily ride announcement phone line. I tell you, at that time, they had at least 10 to 15 rides during each week. It would take me nearly 1/2 hour to do the recording each week! That was in the \’80\’s and early \’90\’s.

    Personally, I don\’t think that we have anything that comes close to them!

    Luv

    Mark Allyn

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  • Eric Stobin September 2, 2008 at 8:49 am

    crazy as it sounds, i think cascade.org has 10,000 members.

    i live in redmond, wa and love the portland vibe.

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  • SkidMark September 2, 2008 at 9:12 am

    I disagree poser. I commuted up there for 6 weeks this summer. I think the drivers are actually more attentive. I will take a slightly more aggressive driver who is paying attention over a slow-moving Portland road zombie who doesn\’t see me any day. The best thing about riding a bike up there was not having to sweat the Police, at all.

    Redmond also claims to be the \”Friendliest Bike City in the Pacific Northwest\” and that would be true if there was more access from Redmond to Seattle. There is bike access on the I-90 bridge, but the 510 bridge is closed to bikes so you have to take a bus. If the rack is full, you have to hope that you have an understanding bus driver or you are stranded.

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  • Andy B from Jersey September 3, 2008 at 12:39 am

    I missed Pro Walk / Pro Bike because my friends who live in Seattle decided to come back to Jersey and get married this week. So I\’m here instead of there.

    Anyway, I\’ve read that much has changed since I last visited Seattle just two years ago but when I was there I did not find it AT ALL bike friendly once you left the shelter of the bike paths like the famous Burke Gilman (Even that was crazy with WAY too many users).

    You see, drivers in the Seattle area think that the double yellow line creates an impenetrable force-field. So instead of giving a cyclists a wide berth as they pass by moving over into the other lane when it is otherwise clear of traffic, they prefer to stay in the lane and buzz past your shoulder with only two feet of clearance. This happen immediately and repeatedly once I rode on a major road without a bike-lane or shoulder.

    I absolutely hated it and would gladly ride on the streets of Philly, New York City and those in New Jersey over riding in the Seattle Metro area any day.

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