Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on March 3rd, 2009 at 9:18 am
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.
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.