Headed to Guadalajara to meet my sister city

How’s this for last-minute plans?

John Cardenas, president of the Portland Guadalajara Sister City Association (PGSCA), asked me last week if I’d like to join them on an upcoming trip to Guadalajara. They’re leaving Tuesday of next week and one of the agenda items for the trip is to share information about bikes in Portland.

Me? Make a presentation? In Guadalajara? Next week? Sure, why not?!

I first met John through his other job (he works at the PDC and I worked with him on a video about the handmade bike exhibition at the Portland Airport) and I was barely aware of the PGSCA before yesterday. Turns out the PGSCA has been around for 25 years and they’re Portland’s most active sister city (Portland has 17 of them).

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Jesus Carlos was one of
several folks from Guadalajara
who attended the Carfree
Cities Conference held at PSU
back in June.
His shirt reads, “Barato,
Saludable, No Contamina,” which
I think translates to “Cheap,
Healthy, and Clean”.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The trip I’ll be joining them on (from 2/10 – 2/15) is to their semi-annual economic development meeting in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. The trip will focus specifically on “multi-modal transportation systems, urban planning and economic development.”

My job on the trip (besides of course posting dispatches and photos to BikePortland) will be to give a presentation (on Thursday and Friday) and hold a Q & A about Portland’s bike culture, history, and future. I’ll be sharing my knowledge with the Guadalajara Department of Transportation and the University of Guadalajara’s Urban Planning Graduate class.

Also in the delegation are architect Mario Espinosa, engineer Kevin Larson, PSU instructor Cynthia Gomez, and others.

Cardenas said the folks in Guadalajara are very keen on becoming a major bike city and that my presence will fit into their ongoing “Urban Mobility Program” (or “Movilidad Urbana”, I’m working on my accent). According to a one-pager Cardenas sent me about the program,

“….the City of Guadalajara is playing an instrumental political role in creating non motorized forms of transportation by:

    1. Modifying urban development plans
    2. Recouping public spaces
    3. Generating a non polluting public source of transportation
    4. Favor multi-modal forms of transportation
    5. Promote and encourage sustainable life styles

To that end, we are creating a Informational Exchange Program with the appropriate agencies and other partners with the goal of integrating and implementing a car-free, multi-modal transportation system.”

I’m excited about the trip and grateful for the PGSCA for the opportunity to share what I know about Portland’s bike story. Stay tuned for reports from Mexico!

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