Posts Tagged ‘Morgana Run’

Urban Pathways Initiative in Cleveland

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

I spent time last week at the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Urban Pathways Initiative in Cleveland, Ohio. This was their second summit with last year’s being in New Orleans.

This was a very good opportunity to learn what others are doing to making biking and walking more prevalent in urban centers primarily through building trails. Too often trail building discussions focus on the easier-to-implement trails in more rural or suburban environments. This conference looks at trail building in urban areas where greater density and land use creates more challenges.

Many low-income populations and communities of color in urban areas confront the problems of obesity, congestion and scarcity of open space on a
daily basis. Promoting neighborhood use of shareduse pathways can help address these challenges.

Also, this pathways summit was an opportunity to present on all our positive efforts in Detroit. There was a Detroit-specific panel while I presented on another regarding stewardship and partnership.

Here are some of the big takeaways.

Building Diversity

The U.S. bicycle advocacy movement is mostly white. Some national organizations talk the talk, but it seems only the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is walking the walk. They are not only sensitive to the lack of diversity, they’re are trying to do something about it – though they admittedly acknowledge that they have much to learn.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) advocates for equitable investment in underserved communities while promoting the health, transportation and environmental benefits of trail use. RTC staff has engaged local partners, focusing on programs and improvements that enhance access and foster community ownership of trails in urban areas.

There was a session on lessons learned in communities of color. It brought forward some interesting perspectives from Compton, Camden, Milwaukee, and more. Much of the discussion was on increasing participation in bicycling and less on diversifying our organizations, which is also critical.

Pedal for Prizes

This was one of the more unique bike-oriented events we heard about. It’s like an alley cat with less mayhem that can build support for local business.

Registration will begin at 11:30am, and riders will be sent off with their maps and stamp cards in tow at 12:30pm sharp.  Ride your bike to as many of our twenty-two destinations as you’d like until 3pm.  Make your way back to Loew Park by 3:30pm to turn in your card for raffle tickets that you can put towards any of seventy-five prizes valued anywhere between $10 and $625 that will be displayed on a table.

There is more information on the Pedal for Prizes web site.

Cleveland, Ohio

In my short stay, Cleveland struck me as a smaller, cleaner, less vacant city with better transit. On the flip side, their Lakefront Bikeway was disappointing. The pavement condition was horrific.

However, they do have tremendous amount of bike parking within their downtown. It was mostly simple, no-nonsense loops that just work.

I also visited their Morgana Run trail, which is quite promising except for their road crossing treatments. It seems Detroit’s traffic engineers are much further ahead when it comes to on-road designs.