Great Lakes Metro Summit in Buffalo

img_2735Last week the Great Lakes Metros Summit was held in Buffalo, New York.

And to quote Artvoice, this event was where “activists and policymakers from around the Great Lakes gathered to share homegrown solutions to Rust Belt problems.”

At the Summit, I moderated a panel on Complete Streets and Transit while also providing a brief overview status of Detroit’s greenways and non-motorized transportation based on my work for the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (MTGA).

Our panel included Rory Neuner from the Michigan Environmetnal Council and a League of Michigan Bicyclists director. Rory is very active with the Walk and Bike Lansing campaign. They are working on a Complete Streets policy for Lansing.

If you are a Lansing resident, please visit their web site to learn how you can help make Lansing “accessible and walk & bike friendly!”

Next on the panel was Dom Nozzi of Richmond, Virginia. Dom has an invaluable web site devoted to making cities more bikeable and walkable. His four-part speech from Bloomington, Indiana really defines a vision for how we need to prioritize transportation for people first rather than cars.

After the summit, I had a chance to talk with Dom. One interesting point he made is that many people are stuck with outdated transportation paradigms, primarily that mobility — high speeds, wide roads — is the primary goal. They’ve committed themselves to this paradigm and cannot step back to view the bigger picture. They are often unconvinceable. An advocates best hope is they will be replaced or retire.

And also on the panel was Justin Booth, who certainly plays a major role in all the good things happening in Buffalo with respect to biking.

Justin created Buffalo’s Blue Bicycle program, a low-cost, simple, innovative means for sharing bikes across town.

Also, Justin helped create the Rusty Chain beer program here a portion of sales from a custom locally-brewed beer go towards bike racks — an example of which is shown next to Justin in the above photo. To date the program has generated $10,000, which has been matched with city and federal funding (CMAQ). As a result, businesses within Buffalo’s Central Business District can request bicycle racks which are installed for free.

Buffalo recently installed 110 bicycle racks! Justin noted that the racks are custom designed and made locally.

That’s something worth raising a glass to.

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