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Heading down to the L.A. Bike Summit

Posted by on March 3rd, 2009 at 9:18 am

Reporting by Brompton in
Baltimore last month
(Photo: Patrick McMahon)

I’m headed out tomorrow afternoon to Los Angeles for the first-ever L.A. Bike Summit on Saturday, March 7th.

L.A., iconic land of freeways, may seem like an unlikely place for bicycling to flourish, but that seems to be what is happening. In an op-ed for the L.A. Times last June, summit organizing team member Robert Gottlieb discussed the history of L.A.’s recent surge of interest in bicycling, and the formation of many new bike-oriented groups running the gamut from large, spontaneous midnight rides to advocacy organizations to bike repair co-ops.

“Unfortunately,” Gottlieb wrote, “the increased interest in the bicycle as a commuting option exceeds the city’s capacity to handle it.” He calls the city’s bike infrastructure “abysmal” and wrote that one primary purpose of next week’s summit is to bring all stakeholders together into one room to build strategies about how to address this problem.

In my fifteen minutes on stage I’ll go over some of what makes Portland an amazing city to bike in and the challenges that lie ahead for us. I’ll be joining other plenary speakers Noah Budnick, Deputy Director of Transportation Alternatives in New York City and Dhyana Quintanar, Bike Coordinator for Mexico City and Bernardo Baranda, Senior Program Director for Mexico at the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy.

The rest of the day will be full of workshops and I’ll have a chance to share more in-depth what makes Portland tick, as far as bikes are concerned.

Also representing Portland will be Shawn Granton whose rides through the Urban Adventure League are classics. He will lead a workshop on “Instigating Bicycle Fun” where he’ll share his expertise in organizing and leading fun, social bike rides around interesting themes.

As with my travels over the winter, I’ll be going by train, and bringing along a bright green Brompton folding bike on loan from Clever Cycles for getting around the city.

I’m looking forward to the summit itself as well as various official and unofficial events, going on bike rides, meeting up with local officials, activists, bloggers, and other leaders in the realm of biking. And I can’t wait to explore L.A. by bicycle.

If you’re in town, the summit is free to attend and registration is still open. Maybe I’ll see you there.

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9 Comments
  • Ron Milam March 3, 2009 at 10:17 am

    We’re excited that you’re coming down to LA. There’s a lot LA can learn from Portland (and vice versa).
    Cheers,
    Ron

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  • Paul Tay March 3, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Been there. Dun dat.

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  • steve March 3, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Ugh.

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  • Whyat March 3, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    I’m curious as to what solutions can found to deal with all the incorporated cities that reside inside the boundaries of Los Angeles. It’s great to have a city wide bike plan unless large chunks of the city choose not to cooperate. I wish everyone good luck because they are going to need it.

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  • revphil March 3, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    la is a krunk cyclist’s dream.

    lots of props go to the community startups like the Bike Kitchen, Bike Oven and Bikerowave, which in turn come from the ecovilliage, which was partially inspired our friends at CityRepair.

    kisses a mi amigos del HELL-A!

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  • Aaron March 4, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Hey Elly;
    One thing I noticed about LA is that there are a lot of small residential streets that connect. They even have more connectability than Portland. So while the arterials will always be scary, people can connect quite well on 2-lane roads. I rode all the way from Santa Monica to Lomita on these roads along with the Pacific Coast bike path. So it would be worthy to emphasize bike blvds over bike lanes. LA also has a wonderful bus system with bike racks which allows people to get very far with their bike.

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  • Drew March 4, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Hi Elly, glad to see you’ll be coming down to visit. It’s always nice when northerners keep an open mind about our humble hometown. I’m sure everyone you meet in town will have plenty of good advice for how to bike around here. Have a safe trip down, and see you Saturday.

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