Posts Tagged ‘National Bike Summit’

Videos from the National Bike Summit

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

John from Pedestrians.org recently posted a comment about videos from the National Bike Summit. They really deserve a bit more visibility.

And this probably is the next best thing to being there.

Perhaps the best is of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood:

What a striking improvement over the former Transportation Secretary Mary Peters who tried re-defining “transportation” and “infrastructure” to exclude biking and walking.

Other videos from the Summit include:

You’ll also want to check out this video from the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Blumenauer’s breakfast speech beginning at :40 seconds captures a great moment from this event. Congressman Tom Petri of Wisconsin also provides some interesting commentary.

Wrapping up the National Bike Summit

Monday, March 16th, 2009
Mike Reuter, Todd Scott, Cullen Watkins

Mike Reuter, Todd Scott, Cullen Watkins

Here’s additional information from the National Bike Summit.

Bicycle Respect and Recognition

We reported earlier that Congressman Oberstar said, We need to make bicyclists a standard transportation mode by law.

BikePortland.org published more information on Oberstar’s initiative last week:

Today at the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C., Oberstar will meet with the country’s top bike lawyers to discuss the potential of a new legislative initiative to draft the country’s first piece of legal policy that would directly relate to the respect and recognition of bicycles as users of our roadways.

Portland bike lawyer Ray Thomas… describes the initiative as a way to create a federal law to ensure equitable treatment of people on bicycles who are involved in crashes. Too often, he says, drivers do not receive serious charges in collision cases. The way the system is set up now, police officers and prosecutors (for a variety of reasons) will often not even attempt to press serious charges against motorists.

Oberstar wants to fix the system so there’s a better chance that justice will be done.

A Plan for Circuit City Stores

One of the most interesting ideas I heard at the Summit was at an IMBA advocacy session. Sitting next to IMBA trail guru Rich Edwards, I began discussing potential indoor mountain bike facilities in Detroit.

Rich mentioned another more suburban opportunity.

567 Circuit City stores have closed around the U.S. These stores are large, well-lit, have concrete floors, heat, water, and very few uses — especially in this market.

One alternative idea is to make them into indoor dirt parks.

John Burke (right) holds a Detroit Gets Green pin

John Burke (right) holds a Detroit Gets Green pin

Trek Ride in Detroit

I attended the Summit with Mike Reuter and Cullen Watkins from American Cycle and Fitness. They invited me to a Trek dealer event at the Summit hosted by President John Burke.

After giving John a brief overview of what we’re achieving in Detroit, he offered to come to town this spring for an urban tour.

Detroit is 140 square miles with zero bike shops stocking new bikes on their floor.

Cyclists are Important Users

Ray LaHood, the Department of Transportation Secretary has a blog where he recently left comments on attending the National Bike Summit.

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of addressing the National Bike Summit. I was invited to speak as a member of the Obama administration, but I have been a supporter of bicycling for many years and was a member of the Congressional Bike Caucus when I was in Congress.

Still, I don’t think the League of American Bicyclists knew what to expect when they invited me to their summit.

I hope they were pleasantly surprised because I am committed to investing in programs that encourage bikes to coexist with other modes and to safely share our roads and bridges. And there’s strong support in Congress for these goals as well.

Secretary LaHood also noted his excitement for the Active Transportation pilot program. The city of Detroit has submitted a proposal for participating in this program under the next federal transportation bill.

Complete Streets Bills Re-Introduced

Monday, March 16th, 2009
Photo courtesy of Dan Burden

Photo courtesy of Dan Burden

While meeting with members of Congress at the National Bike Summit, Complete Streets legislation was re-introduced. The same bill was introduced in the Senate in 2008 but died in committee.

The basic premise is road agencies should adopt a policy that ensures all transportation modes are reasonably accomodated, includinng biking and walking.

According to bill sponsor Senator Tom Harkin:

When Americans choose to leave their car at home and walk or ride a bike to school or work, they are making a healthy decision. We need to ensure streets, intersections and trails are designed to make them easier to use and maximize their safety.

This legislation will encourage Americans to be more active, while also providing more travel options and cutting down on traffic congestion.

Everyone is encouraged to use this quick online form letter to ask your Senator and Representative to support this legislation.

We typically got receptive but uncommitted support while in Washington DC, perhaps in large part because the bills were only recently introduced.

More details from the Complete Streets web site: (more…)

National Bike Summit Breakfast: Day Three

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

img_2189Thursday began with a National Bike Summit breakfast. I took the opportunity to speak briefly with Congressman Earl Blumenauer about biking and walking in Detroit.

I didn’t need to provide much background.

He immediately noted how his cycling city roll-model Portland is different in that it’s a growing city, whereas cities like St. Louis, Detroit, and others are dealing with shrinking populations, jobs, vacant land, and more.

I spoke about the collective effort with the support of Mayor Cockrel to reinvent Detroit as a green city, where biking and walking are a strong component. I noted our non-motorized plan, greenways network vision, and our application for Active Transportation 2010 funding.

He added that we need to make sure our bike solutions at the federal level are not one-size-fits-all.

Although it seemed longer, it was perhaps only a minute of conversation. Still, it was one of the most rewarding minutes during my stint at this summit. It was very good to know that one of the primary congressional leaders in biking and walking advocacy was already on point with urban non-motorized perspectives outside of the Portland’s and Boulder’s of the world.

After our discuss, Congresssman Blumenauer addressed the entire group on his new Multimodal Commuter Credit legislation. It basically addresses some flaws in the current implementation of bike commuter tax credit and provides more flexibility.

Why was the bike commuter act flawed from the start? BikePortland.org asked Blumenauer’s staffer Tyler Frisbee that question.

Frisbee said the reason is that it was passed as part of the financial bailout package, “instead of a more orderly process.”

We reported on this back in October. Blumenauer’s bike commuter bill was added to the bank bailout bill perhaps to garner his vote — it didn’t work. He voted against the bailout and the commuter language was flawed.

Fortunately the Congressman’s commited to correcting these flaws.

National Bike Summit: Day Two

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

img_2159Secretary Ray LaHood

LaHood is the Secretary of Transportation, and although there was some hesitation in the cycling blogosphere when Obama nominated him. After today’s presentation, that hesitation should be gone.

He told the crowd at the opening session that we’ll build on our successes in pedestrian and bicycle promotion. He noted we’re on the verge of making more progress in doing the things America really wants to do. Creating livable communities is becoming the priority.

And finally, he assured us that we have a full partner at the Department of Transportation.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer

Blumenauer started with the rhetorical question: “How many people right now are stuck in traffic on their way to a health club to ride a stationary bike?”

He added:

  • Families biking are an indicator species for livable communities
  • With Congressman Oberstar chairing the transportation committee, the “table is set for us” when it comes to writing the next transportation bill.
  • We need to be relentlessly bike-partisan. There are no blue or red bikes.
  • There are currently 213 legislators in the bike-partisan caucus. 218 would be a majority — and that’s a Summit goal.
  • The Commuter Choice act will be taken up in this legislative session. The gist is it adds flexibility to the commuter tax benefits and allows the mixing of modes, e.g. biking and transit.
  • New Clean-TEA legislation would set aside 10% of a carbon tax to help communities reduce the carbon-footprint of their transportation, making it more sustainable in the long term. The justification? One-third of greenhouse gas emissions are from transportation. ?Cycling and walking can offset that. Clean-TEA would be an amendment to a climate change bill.

Also, Congressman Blumenauer biked to the Summit from the Capitol and was sporting a pant strap.

Congressman Dan Lipinski

Congressman Lipinski touted the fact that he’s not only a cyclist, but a card carrying of the League of American Bicyclists.

Lipinski did warn us that we must remain vigilant as there is still a mindset out there that bikes are not transportation.

Congresswoman Doris Matsui

Congresswoman Matsui spoke about the Complete Streets legislation that is on the verge of being introduced in the House and Senate.