mia birk

Mia Birk: New York City bike share is game-changer on many levels

Avatar by on September 15th, 2011 at 11:28 am

Mia Birk, President of Alta Planning + Design and Principal of its sister company Alta Bicycle Share photographed yesterday at a celebration of their selection as operators of New York City Bike Share.
(Photos © J. Maus)

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How two leaders respond to thorny bike issues

Avatar by on November 23rd, 2010 at 2:02 pm

“Together, let’s say, ‘I solemnly pledge to behave as considerately as possible no matter how I get around.’”
— Part of a crowd exercise led by Mia Birk in response to a fired up citizen

One of the many things that keeps my fire burning here at BikePortland is a sense that knowledge is power. I know it’s almost trite, but from where I sit, it’s something that proves itself almost every day. Bottom line is that when you know the context of an issue and you know how to respectfully convey your opinion, you can have a huge influence.

On that note, I wanted to bring to your attention two very smart people who have recently shared how they responded to two issues that have a long and storied history of thorniness in the bike world — helmet use and the ‘all-cyclists-are-scofflaws-and-we-need-to-start-enforcing-laws-against-them’ thing.
[Read more…]

Mia Birk brings her ‘Joyride’ to Powell’s Books

Avatar by on November 23rd, 2010 at 1:30 pm

This just in… our friend Mia Birk is set for a special author event at Powell’s Books:

“Joyride, Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet” tells the dramatic and enlightening behind-the-scenes story of how a group of determined visionaries transformed Portland into a cycling mecca and inspired the nation, over the course of 20 years. Featuring local projects and people in Portland, author Mia Birk shares the fascinating history of the Steel Bridge, painting stripes on Southeast 7th Avenue, and other pivotal moments in bicycle history, accomplished while convincing a skeptical public.

Mia Birk, President of Alta Planning + Design
Founder of the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation
Adviser to the Post-Carbon Institute
Author of Joyride, Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet

Mia Birk will be giving a free talk about her book and the experiences that led to writing it. Q & A and raffle to follow.

Tuesday, January 4th, at 7:30 pm.

Powell’s Books, Downtown, 1005 W Burnside, Portland, OR 97209

Mia Birk was the City of Portland Bicycle Program Manager from 1993-99, where she led a period of rapid growth of Portland’s bikeway network. As a consultant, she has been involved across North America in hundreds of bicycle, pedestrian, trail and corridor plans, and has managed the public process, design and implementation of many new bikeways and walkways, as well as programs such as Safe Routes to School, bike-transit integration, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly development and bikeway/walkway maintenance. She has led numerous groundbreaking studies in the field of non-motorized transportation and is a co-founder of the Cities for Cycling project of the National Association for City Transportation Officials, and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals.

Mia has 20 years experience in sustainable transportation focused on pedestrian, bicycle, trail and greenway planning, design and implementation. She is also Adjunct Professor at Portland State University, where she co-founded the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation in the College of Urban Studies.

Mia’s been featured on the cover of Momentum Magazine; been written up in media sources ranging from blogs such as BikePortland, Bike Intelligencer, and CarFreeAmerican, to top sources such as The Huffington Post,The New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Oregonion. She’s appeared on the Sundance Channel, Streetfilms, CBS News, and KBOO. A longer media list is available here.

Alta wins contract to develop Portland bikeway projects

Avatar by on July 12th, 2010 at 10:46 am

Policymakers Ride-22

Improvements on N. Willamette are
one of five projects to be developed.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Several familiar names will help develop five significant bikeway projects in North and Northeast Portland in the coming months. On Thursday (7/8), the City of Portland issued a letter of intent to award a contract for ‘Bikeway Project Development’ to Alta Planning & Design. The Request For Proposals was issued back in May.[Read more…]

From bikes to books: Mia Birk gets ready for her ‘Joyride’

Avatar by on July 6th, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Cover of Joyride

Mia Birk, the woman who fought in the trenches to put biking on the map in Portland back in 1990s, is now gearing up to promote her new book, Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet.

Joyride is Birk’s first foray into the publishing world and she’s doing it with the help of seasoned author and fellow bike activist Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie. Kurmaskie helped Birk write the book and he’s also behind Cadence Press, a new publishing company which which will make Joyride its first title.

Joyride chronicles Birk’s 20-year crusade to make biking normal in America. She started in Portland as the City’s bike program manager in 1993 and oversaw (what I consider to be) the golden age in the development of Portland’s bike network. Working under a Transportation Commissioner named Earl Blumenauer (now a member of the U.S. Congress), Birk helped Portland become one of the most bike-centric cities in North America.[Read more…]

Job: Assistant to the CEO (Alta Planning + Design)

Avatar by on July 2nd, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Job Title
Assistant to the CEO

Alta Planning + Design

Job Description
Alta Planning + Design is a 65-person consulting firm with a mission to provide green infrastructure and program solutions that help people have active daily lives. We specialize in bicycle, pedestrian, trail, park, and greenway planning, design, and implementation, in addition to outreach and education programs. For more information, see our website at www.altaplanning.com.

Alta Planning + Design’s Portland office is seeking to hire an Executive Assistant to the CEO, Mia Birk (www.miabirk.com). The ideal candidate will be experienced in handling a wide range of administrative and executive support related tasks and will be able to work independently with little or no supervision. The ability to interact with staff (at all levels) in a fast paced environment, sometimes under pressure, remaining flexible, proactive, resourceful and efficient, with a high level of professionalism and confidentiality is crucial to this role. Expert level written and verbal communication skills, strong decision making ability and attention to detail are equally important.

In August, Mia will launch her book Joyride: Pedaling Towards a Healthier Planet. Her assistant will help with all aspects of Joyride marketing, including speeches, book distribution, communication, travel, etc.

The Executive Assistant will:
•Be responsible for heavy calendar management, requiring interaction with both internal and external executives and assistants, as well as consultants, to coordinate a variety of complex executive meetings
•Always be a “step ahead” in forecasting and preparing the CEO for anything on the agenda, from daily tasks to major events
•Communicate and handle incoming and outgoing electronic communications on behalf of the CEO and Principals
•Assist CEO with preparation of presentation materials
•Review and summarize miscellaneous reports and documents; prepare background documents and outgoing mail as necessary
•Prioritize and manage multiple projects simultaneously, and follow through on issues in a timely manner
•Arrange travel schedule and reservations as needed
•Travel as needed to provide support on the road

Must have:
•B.A. in English, Business, Communications, or other relevant field
•Experience supporting the executive level
•Excellent calendar management skills, including experience with shared calendar systems
•Experience assisting with the creation of PowerPoint presentations, memos, and reports
•Amazing organization skills, high energy, and calm under pressure
•Advanced proficiency in MS Office Suite and expert internet research skills
•Experience scheduling travel arrangements for management
•A genuine desire to work in the bicycle/pedestrian planning field
•Positive attitude, energy, ability to adapt quickly

Strongly Prefer:
•Experience in the bicycle/pedestrian/advocacy field

This job will be based out of the Portland office but requires ability to travel, run errands, and be highly mobile.

Salary: $30,000 – $40,000. Alta offers excellent benefits, flexible work schedules, and a fun, collaborative work environment with an extremely dedicated and skilled group of planners and designers.

How to apply:
Please send cover letter, resume, and three references resumes+ea@altaplanning.com. Please, no phone calls.

It’s no joke: Portland Business Alliance honors bike advocates

Avatar by on April 29th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

At their Annual Meeting at the Oregon Center Ball Room on Tuesday morning, the Portland Business Alliance gave a special award of recognition to some unlikely members. The PBA — long a thorn in the side of city bike planners (and others) for their positions on bike projects — gave their Transportation Award to two of the city’s most high-profile bike advocates; former City of Portland bike coordinator and now CEO of Alta Planning Mia Birk, and owner of The Bike Gallery stores, Jay Graves. David Knowles of CH2M Hill, chair of the PBA’s Transportation Committee, received the award along with them.[Read more…]

In-Depth: Where bikes and streetcar collide (Part Two)

Avatar by on February 6th, 2009 at 10:21 am

[This is the second (and final) part of our In-Depth report by Libby Tucker on how bikes fit into Portland’s streetcar plans. Read the first installment here.]

Yesterday, we left off with a discussion about bikeway and streetcar track design in the Pearl District. Mia Birk, a former bike coordinator for the City of Portland and now a consultant on Portland’s streetcar plans, continues our story…

On NW Lovejoy, bike traffic is
routed up onto the sidewalk
to get around the streetcar
platform. (Photos © J. Maus)

The Lovejoy design (see photo at right) creates a “very uncomfortable situation for most bicyclists,” added Birk. “It feels really weird to go up on the sidewalk and blast through a pedestrian zone, and when you’re on the street you have to cross tracks at a bad angle.”

This time, Alta (the planning firm where Birk is a principal) has completely redesigned the Pearl District’s bike facilities in the area surrounding the streetcar tracks, starting with the removal of the bike lane on Lovejoy. Instead, the streetcar plan would convert Lovejoy and Northrup into a one-way couplet for cars and reroute bike traffic onto a bike boulevard along Northwest Marshall. The cobblestone street would be smoothed out to accommodate bikes and would include new bike signals and bike boxes along the route.[Read more…]