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.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Takoma Park Safe Routes to School Walk/Run this Sunday (May 5th) as an example of local bike and walking initiatives

Given that May is National Bike Month, sometime this month I'll be publishing a long piece on what I think should be the ideal framework and agenda for biking take up planning and practice.  In short, it's not to focus on bike sharing...

Mostly I've already written it, in papers such as "Ideas for Making Cycling Irresistible in DC" (from 2008), the process, presentations, documents, and the actual plan and adoption process for the Western Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Plan, for which I was the project manager and chief author in FY2010, and various blog entries and listserv postings.  So it's a matter of codification and organization (and presentation).

One of the ways that I organized the "encouragement and education" sections of the Baltimore County plan was by what we might call "touchpoints" (although I didn't use that term when writing the plan).  It outlined ways to deal with promoting biking and walking at the different kinds of places where people could be engaged: at school; at work; at parks and recreation centers; on campuses (universities and corporate parks); etc.

Another was by demographic, mostly by children and families versus adults.

More generally, I argue that walking and biking infrastructure, programming, and program delivery plans need to be developed at the sector and neighborhood levels.  Typically, bike and ped plans don't drill down this deeply.

Here are a couple slides from presentations I've done about the organization and process behind what I was attempting to accomplish in Baltimore County (and I guess more generally).

Slide from presentation on best practice bicycle planning and programming

Slide from presentation on best practice bicycle planning and programming

This weekend there is an example of the kind of programming that I believe ought to be offered as a way to support walking and biking, the Takoma Park, Maryland 5K Run/Walk.  And then I list a couple of other examples of events that have happened in the past.

1.  Takoma Park, Maryland 5K Run/Walk.  This is a fundraiser for the city's Safe Routes to School initiative, which is a best practice example.  of what communities can do.

Takoma Park doesn't control the schools in its boundaries, they are either private or run by Montgomery County Public Schools.  And the county schools don't have a systematic walk and bike to school promotion program.

But the city has committed to spending some of its local funds to hire a part-time SRTS coordinator, who works with the schools located in the city.  The run-walk event is a fundraiser and promotional event.

Adults can run or walk the 5K distance.  There are also events for children.  More than 1,000 people will be participating.

2.  DC Kidical Mass.  Kidical Mass is a family-appropriate response/take on "Critical Mass", promoting family riding in a safe and comfortable way, as opposed to "Critical Mass," which is an in-your-m*f*ing-face initiative that promotes biking in contrary and sometimes violent ways.  Kidical Mass is basically group riding for family.  It started in Portland, Oregon, no surprise, and other groups have since organized "chapters" in other cities, including DC.

Last weekend the DC chapter sponsored a program on the "ABC's of Family Biking."

3.  In past years, the Town of Chevy Chase, has sponsored a Bike Day, focused on children, the first Saturday in May, but I don't think they are doing it this year...

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