Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bikes-sustainable transportation

1. Remember that in the DC region, Bike to Work Day is Friday May 20th. Sign up here. There are many events around the region, including three just at the NIH campus in Bethesda.

2. The Montgomery County Bike Summit is this Saturday. While I am city-focused, because of my work last fiscal year in Baltimore County, I have been interested in the issue of how to translate increased interest and the number of people cycling in (healthy) center cities to the suburbs, where the opportunities are harder to achieve, the distances that need to be covered are longer, the road and block network tends to not be favorable (except in the older towns that still exist), mobility networks are dominated by the car, etc.

I am one of the presenters, but my topic isn't infrastructure as much as it is about integrated and innovative programming.

Saturday, May 14 from 9am to 1 pm
County Executive Office Building, 1st Floor Auditorium
101 Monroe Street, Rockville

Come and share your comments and ideas!

(click to view flyer or schedule of event activities)

For once my presentation is just about done, although I keep tinkering with it (writing this post made me add an important point just now...).

3. I also laid out a six point approach for repositioning transportation and bicycling in Prince George's County to a key advocate there--advocates are organizing for a meeting with the new County Executive, Rushern Baker... since Prince George's and Montgomery County physically connect to DC, it's important to coordinate and integrate transportation policies in the three jurisdictions more than we do.

4. Richmond is bidding to get the UCI World Road Cycling Championships in 2015, and intends to use this as a lever to improve the cycling environment in both the City of Richmond and the metropolitan area. See "For Richmond, a lot rides on bid for world cycling event" from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

If successful, the nine-day event could bring nearly 500,000 people and $135.3 million in estimated economic benefits to the area, while showcasing the city in television broadcasts to millions of cycling fans around the world. ...

The Martin Agency is working on the branding for the championships as well as on several other marketing options, including mobile. The effort is being led by a group of avid cyclists with lofty ambitions at The Martin Agency. "Our goal is to change the perception of cycling in America," said John Norman, the chief creative officer at the Shockoe Slip ad agency, who rides about 100 miles a week.

5. The city has also posted a position for bike and pedestrian planner. (It's tempting but not an easy commute...)

6. Like with what Richmond is trying to do with the UCI World Road Cycling Championships in 2015, I have suggested that the DC region bid to hold the 2014 American Trails conference here, as a way to jump start the integration of trails/bikeways into a true regional network.

There are a number of key trails. The National Park Service is based here, and they are about to update their 1990 transportation plan. Rails to Trails Conservancy is based in DC. DC is developing the Metropolitan Branch and Anacostia Riverwalk Trails. The other jurisdictions have extensive trails programs. The State of Maryland is developing a strategic trails initiative designed to spur connections and integration of trails across the state. The Capital Crescent Trail and other bikeways will be extended and/or created as part of the Purple Line light rail system in the Maryland suburbs. Etc.

Maybe it's something to take up in June...

7. The Washingtonian reports, in "Intercity Bus Lines Could All End Up Moving to Union Station: As Bolt Bus and Megabus stops move, DC tries to corral them all at a single terminal," about DC's attempt to get the various inter-city bus services operating from one place. This is a long overdue effort. In a way, it's a shame this wasn't done as part of the creation of the New York Avenue Metro Station, to provide subway access to bus services, while being pretty close to New York Avenue, the major northbound/southbound gateway road of the city, thereby reducing the negative impact of big vehicle congestion in the central business district, while still providing convenient connections.

Decades ago, the various stakeholders weren't interested in getting inter-city bus services integrated into Union Station before 1988, when the station reopened after a big rehabilitation project.

8. Richmond has branded its yearlong planning study to "update, revise and re-invent the transportation plan as "Richmond Connects" (The Richmond Strategic Multimodal Transportation Plan). has a story, "20/20 Visions of Alternative Transportation," about a recent set of presentations, where each person was limited to 20 slides and 20 seconds/slide (6 minutes 40 seconds).

Presentations included those by Michael Gilbert of the non-profit Ride Richmond, Andy Boenau of the Urban Land Institute, David Sharrar, of City Parking, Inc., Champe Burnley, president of Virginia Bicycling Federation, Clinton Edwards, an analyst with GRTC, Michael Todd, Sheila Sheppard Lovelady, Amy George on ciclovias, Tim Davey, also from the Urban Land Institute, and a former CSX employee talked about rail solutions, Sarah Driggs, and Scudder Wagg, of the hosting consultant firm Michael Baker, Inc..

8. While it's likely that gas prices will drop due to less fear about regime change in big oil producing countries in the Middle East (see "Olive: Why this gas spike won’t last" from the Toronto Star), it is interesting that a group of Bed & Breakfasts across the U.S. is offering public transit vouchers and rebates to car poolers, not just gas vouchers. See the Better Way to Stay website and the press release.

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