Headed to New York City for Vision Zero Cities conference

A few of my images from 2012 trip.

I have some exciting news: I’m going back to New York City!

My goal: To cover the Vision Zero Cities conference hosted by nonprofit streets advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.

Some of you might recall my trip to the Big Apple back in 2012. I made the trip to cover the inaugural NACTO Designing Cities conference. NACTO, short for National Association for City Transportation Officials, (a counterbalance to the more conservative American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, or AASHTO), was fledgling back then and the conference gave me the chance to meet amazing people and tell the story of New York City’s emergence as a cycling power in the U.S.

That trip was the best (and most fun!) reporting I’ve ever done outside of Portland. I was able to interview legendary former NYC DOT chief Janette Sadik-Khan, Streetsblog financier Mark Gorton, cover a speech were former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed that cyclists were more important than drivers, highlight Manhattan’s hard-working deliveristas, experience Central Park in fall, ride-along with a first-time commuter, and more.

Then, just as I packed up to go home, we got word that a major hurricane was bearing down. I decided to extend the trip to wait out the storm and it was the right decision! Imagine being a cycling journalist in America’s largest city after it was it with a hurricane that damaged buildings, cut electricity to thousands, and flooded the subway. I got to ride around Manhattan during a blackout, survey damage first-hand, and photograph one of the most remarkable commutes in the history of cities as a subway shutdown stranded tens of thousands of people who took to feet and bike to get to work.

And then, I witnessed bicycling emerge not just as a mobility tool, but as a power-generator, community-builder, and lifesaver.

Suffice it to say, I can’t wait to go back and see how the city’s infrastructure has evolved and changed in the past 11 years.

My itinerary has extra days beyond the Vision Zero conference, but the event’s speakers and topics will be a major focus. The speaker list includes two Portlanders: Sam “Bike Bus” Balto, and Michelle DuBarry who will represent Families for Safe Streets. I’ve covered both Sam and Michelle several times here on BikePortland, so it will be fun to see their voices lifted to a national stage.

The two conference keynotes will be given by author and Houston DOT Director Veronica Davis and The War on Cars podcast co-host Doug Gordon. There are three full days of virtual sessions, field tours (including a bike bus ride with Sam!) and breakout sessions. With traffic safety at an all-time low, there’s tremendous urgency around Vision Zero and I’m eager to hear what our country’s best and brightest have to share about it.

I leave late Tuesday night (10/17), which means I’ll have to miss Bike Happy Hour.

I’ll miss being here, and I get nervous about missing local news when I’m gone; but the break from Portland will do me good. If you are reading this from New York City and have a story idea and/or a connection or event you’d like me to make while I’m in town, please get in touch!

One last thing… this trip is a hefty expense for this little business and I need sponsors and financial support to help make it sting a bit less. If you or your company wants to come along as a sponsor, just email me at maus.jonathan@gmail.com and we’ll work something out. And if you value the work I do/will do and are able to support it, I would really appreciate your help.

Please visit BikePortland.org/support where it’s easy to subscribe or contribute funds. If you’re on Venmo, we’re @bikeportland.

And stay tuned! I’ll be sharing photos, maybe some audio and podcasts, a social media video or two — you never know what I’ll be inspired to create or what story might present itself. Thanks for all your support.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
6 months ago

Jonathan, yeah that NYC NACTO was a great conference (one of the best other than the 2003 Velo City Paris with the ‘discovery’ of sharrows) AND a crazy trip for me too… scrambling on the last Amtrak train out of town to points south to shelter with my brother in DC.

Sadly, I think the NYC subway is still trying to repair the damage from Hurricane Sandy flooding of 100+ year old tunnels and wiring.

Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)
Shannon Johnson (Family Biking Columnist)
6 months ago

Have a blast! Wish I could join you! I follow cargobikemomma on Instagram as she cycles around NYC and it looks like such a fantastic way to get around the city. I’m eager to hear what you think about the cycling infrastructure. And I am definitely looking forward to your reporting on Vision Zero. I have been pretty sad and discouraged about traffic deaths over the past six months. This is important work. Bravo.

Jimmie Green
Jimmie Green
6 months ago

Safe travels Jonathan. You probably have already done this but if not you should consider obtaining carbon offsets for your trip.

https://www.iata.org/en/programs/environment/carbon-offset/

Maple Leaf Rider
Maple Leaf Rider
6 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Yeah let’s not even bother to save the world from global warming. It’s a lost cause. Oh and no voting either right Pierre? Engaged Democracy is bad for the planet right?

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
6 months ago

Oh and no voting either right Pierre? Engaged Democracy is bad for the planet right?

It’s fascinating that a self-proclaimed supporter of a “democracy” where primaries are only open to fascist party R or corp-fascist party D is so very upset at my choice not to vote.

SeaTacgoride
SeaTacgoride
6 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Offsets can be helpful. Of course the BEST thing to do is to cut one’s own emissions. Jonathan do you REALLY need to go? If so, offsets are a second best move to reduce global warming. Don’t be a naysayer do some research on good offsets.

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/should-you-buy-carbon-offsets

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
6 months ago
Reply to  SeaTacgoride

Of course the BEST thing to do is to cut one’s own emissions.

One of the best things we can do is ignore oil company propaganda that claims individual actions can address the climate crisis and organize for global mandates/system change.

SeaTacgoride
SeaTacgoride
6 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Pierre, that simply sounds like an excuse to justify one’s poor choices. “I don’t recycle, won’t use mass transit and fly everywhere without a second thought because I don’t believe in “oil company propaganda”. Huh?

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
6 months ago
Reply to  SeaTacgoride

because I don’t believe in “oil company propaganda”. Huh?

Apparently, you do.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/23/big-oil-coined-carbon-footprints-to-blame-us-for-their-greed-keep-them-on-the-hook

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/31/opinion/climate-change-carbon-neutral.html

I became concerned about the climate crisis in the early 80s* and as a result eat a vegan diet and travel by bike. I have also have lived in tiny apartments and consumed minimally for almost 40 years. I don’t do any of this because I foolishly believe my individual choices make a difference but because I hope system change is possible. There is only so much that we as individuals can collectively do in a society based on ecocidal capitalism.

PS
PS
6 months ago
Reply to  Jimmie Green

Of course there is a group offering these who is also having an “Energy in Aviation Forum” in Abu Dhabi.

Lazy Spinner
Lazy Spinner
5 months ago

In a world where government hearings, corporate meetings, and legal documents can all be done securely and efficiently online, I am a bit surprised that environmental advocates still find it necessary to burn jet fuel and to create other carbon emissions to have in-person events. Considering the glacial pace of change where alternative transportation and climate mitigation are concerned, I sense that these still take place for bureaucrats and advocates to combine “learning”, vacation, and self importance in a neat place while also buying time to study new methods of doing nothing.

”Whoa! I just heard about Bangkok Bike Traffic Circles at a conference. I’m going to need at least two trips to see them in person, a federal grant, and about five years to study if they might work in Portland.”

Lazy Spinner
Lazy Spinner
5 months ago

My comment was not directed at you, Jonathan. I agree that journalists need face time with their subjects.

It was more an opinion about people paid to vocally advocate for less carbon emissions always finding justification for carbon spewing travel to talk with other similar advocates while scolding working people for driving to Costco or flying to see Grandma at Christmas. It also pertains to bureaucrats and pols that have failed to fund or implement a hundred good ideas over the years and yet expect the taxpayer to cough up more money so that they can hob nob, sightsee, and hear about some more really good ideas that will go nowhere.

Still waiting for Copenhagen-on-the Willamette because PBOT studied that in person many times, declared it amazing, game changing, and life saving but never found the juice (and never really tried) to make it happen.

PTB
PTB
5 months ago
Reply to  Lazy Spinner

Why leave the house at all? What can’t be done through a screen these days?? What a magical time to be alive!

Lazy Spinner
Lazy Spinner
5 months ago
Reply to  PTB

Why travel across the country to watch PowerPoint decks while the speaker reads it to you verbatim?

PTB
PTB
5 months ago
Reply to  Lazy Spinner

Human connections? Life experiences? Seeing things in person can’t ever be replicated by living behind a laptop screen?

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
5 months ago
Reply to  Lazy Spinner

Meanwhile the Measure 101 apologist contingent is in Portugal touring castles