What can Europe learn from Portland about bikes? A conversation about E.U. transport policy

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Mult. Co. Bike Fair - MCBF '09-52

Portland’s bike culture inspires
the world. The Sprockettes perform at
the Multnomah County Bike Fair
(Photo © J. Maus)

I rode out in the rain last night to grab a beer with Mattia Pellegrini, a member of the cabinet of the Vice President / Commissioner for Transportation of the European Union.

Pellegrini, whose background is in environmental policy, is one of seven cabinet members focused on transportation. He is in charge of sustainable transport policy, from green cars to bicycling. He is visiting Portland as part of a three week tour of six U.S. cities through the state department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, which is designed to groom future foreign leaders (several current and recent heads of state are alumni). He is meeting with key players across the broad spectrum of transportation in each city, with the aim of bringing back ideas and lessons to implement in the E.U.

We met up to talk about his impressions of Portland, transportation policy in the E.U., and beer around the world.

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Mayor Adams headed to Brussels for Velo-city Conference

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

That’s a cool logo. I hope someone
brings me back a T-shirt.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams, his Chief of Staff Tom Miller, and Bureau of Transportation traffic safety specialist Greg Raisman will visit Brussels, Belgium next week for the 29th annual Velo-city Conference.

Widely regarded as the premier bicycle transportation conference in the world (the 2007 edition in Munich had 950 participants from 50 countries), this year’s Velo-city will take on added significance. The four-day conference will be held in the European Parliament building and on the final day, several cities — including Portland — will sign the Charter of Brussels.

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