Dispatches from the National Bike Summit
Cycling is having another magic moment in the sun. Close to a thousand advocacy leaders are gathered at the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Summit. A minor dust-up (four-and-a-half inches of fluffy snow) didn't slow the proceedings down one iota.
Here are a few highlights:
Equity through bicycling
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx gave a rousing speech about his and President Obama's commitment to cycling, safety and transit across our country. The secretary pointed out that nearly one-third of all bike trips are made by those people earning less than $33,000 a year. Bikes are critical to middle-class vitality in the United States, and if current trends continue, it will be even more so going forward. Bikes are the great equalizer.
Chicago's impressive investments
Planning guru Gabe Klein made a powerful case statement for the return-on-investment of bicycle infrastructure. Chicago's former Director of Transportation (CDOT) went on to tell the audience how and why Chicago invested over $200 million in cycling infrastructure in less than five years. It's hard not to be enthralled by the Bloomingdale Trail. This elevated 2.6 mile bicycle way was made possible in part by $5.1 million in federal funding. Chicago is taking the legacy of great parks to new heights.
a paradigm shift for drivers
Klein pointed out that with the advent of self-driving cars in the next five years (who knew?), the whole paradigm of driving will shift. Currently, cars are driven about five percent of the time and sit idle 95 percent of their lives. Klein argues autonomous cars will be shared, and those use proportions will invert. I'm not sure I totally agree with his timeline, but I do know that autonomous cars will be a game-changer.
smaller cities, big changes
It's clear from this national gathering that a number of unassuming cities and towns are ascendant in all things bikes. In Houston, bikeways, bikeshare, bike equity and bike mayor are on a roll (their pun, not mine). Culver City is implementing a glamorous Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan, and Holland, Michigan has five bikes shops in a town on 33,000. That is one more shop then we have in Kirkland!
lobbying to make our streets safer
Wednesday, we are off to Capitol Hill to lobby for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act (HR 3494), Safe Streets Act (HR 2468) and the New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act (HR 3978). Here's Cascade's advocacy staff meeting with Rep. Adam Smith., the congressman from Washington's 9th District:
Cascade on the national stage
At every session and break, Cascade gets accolades for the programs and policies we have spearheaded. You, our robust membership, are often cited as a catalyst for the modern bike movement. And, of course, half the delegates claim STP rider bragging rights.