Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 8th, 2008 at 12:13 pm
Jeff Smith (R) at last weekend’s Pro
Walk/Pro Bike conference in Seattle.
(Photos © J. Maus)
I’ve still got a few notes and stories I’d like to share from my trip to the Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference in Seattle over the weekend.
On the last day of the conference, I asked a few members of the Portland delegation to share their most memorable new insights from the conference. Here are their responses:
Lynn Mutrie is the statewide youth education and outreach manager for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA):
“I really enjoyed listening to a session on working with teens and youth…they’re such a tough nut to crack. I heard a presenter talk about how they’ve got kids walking to school in a place where there’s a windchill of -35 degrees! Now I can reflect back to Oregon parents that it’s possible to walk and bike to school even in the winter and I can say, ‘and here’s how they did it’.”
Roger Geller is the bicycle coordinator for the City of Portland Office of Transportation (PDOT):
“After attending a meeting on the upcoming re-authorization of the transportation bill, I think there’s a growing sense across the country that we’re in a time that we have great opportunities to really advance bicycling and to move forward. It’s exciting. People from all over the country are seeing cycling go up in their communities.
I also enjoyed a presentation on the bicycle boulevard work being done in Vancouver B.C. We have a lot to learn from them.”
Denver Igarta is transportation planner with PDOT:
“I was really inspired by the speech on equality from the King County Executive [Ron Sims]… that we must broaden and increase the diversity of cycling and make it look more like the rest of America. It runs along the same lines as how we at PDOT want to provide a range of facilities for all types of riders, from beginners to the more experienced.”
Carl Larson is a walk and bike ambassador for the BTA:
“I thought I really useful to compare notes and methods with such a large sampling of people here that are also doing youth education. Dreaming about bike facilities, like the Route Verte up in Canada [a 4,000 km, 40% of-street path network], was fun too.”
Janis McDonald is with PDOT’s Transportation Options division:
“I loved hearing the youth from Bikeworks in Seattle [sort of like our Community Cycling Center] speak about their experiences getting involved with walking and biking to school and then getting their friends involved in it. One girl said she rides because getting a driver’s license is just too time consuming and it’s just easier to get on her bike and ride! It was very inspirational… they’re [the youth] kind of forgotten here in Portland.”
Linda Ginenthal is the manager of PDOT’s Transportation Options division:
“It’s fun to see that in St. Paul [Minnesota] and Seattle they’re stealing our SmartTrips marketing program. I love that.
I also learned a lot hearing how other cities are thinking about Sunday Parkways…specifically how they are handling the promotional aspects and how to work better with the police and traffic control issues.
The Safe Routes to Schools stuff was a real eye-opener [Ginenthal’s department is getting set to take over management of the program for the City]. It’s really helpful to get all these ideas and see how the program operates in different cities.”
Jennifer Dill, PhD., is an associate professor in the School of Urban Studies at Portland State University:
“Seeing how excited people are about our research [her GPS study presentation was one of the most popular of the entire conference] really helps keep me going. I can get drowned in my data so that helps keep me motivated.
I also enjoyed a session on promoting bike use at universities…after hearing what others said, I felt great about PSU because we already have so much support.”
The next Pro Walk/Pro Bike will be held in Chattanooga Tennessee in 2010. By that time, with the help of folks like those above (and the 800 other attendees of the conference) hopefully America will be a much different place to walk and bike in.