Wednesday, March 11, 2009

National BIke Summit highlights so far

The 2009 National Bike Summit in Washington DC kicked off with a record 550 attendees last night. Some highlights:
  • Quantify! You cannot judge the effectiveness of your advocacy efforts if you don't count the cyclists in your town. The League of American Bicyclists won't give you anything beyond a "Bronze" rating as a Bicycle Friendly Community unless you do traffic counts that include the number of bicycles.
  • Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) says the "days of irresponsible transportation funding are over" and "the transportation system should work for all Americans, not just cars." She will introduce Complete Streets legislation next week.
  • Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood tells cycling advocates "I want you to know you'll have a full partner in the Department of Transportation." He says likes rails-to-trails projects :-(
  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) says "Cycling is part of the country's economic recovery."
  • Thunderhead Alliance announced they are now the Alliance for Walking and Biking.
  • Jim Oberstar tells attendees to demand the resources to make cycling a more widely recognized form of transportation.
Thank you to all of those liveblogging NBS09 via Twitter!


Anonymous said...

Howdy, Fritz--

I think I understand the motivation behind the little frownicon regarding rails-to-trails, and I definitely agree philosophically. After all, many of these abandoned train routes were given up because they go places no one wanted to go. The resulting bike paths tend to be purely recreational, not transportation solutions. Plus, there's always the underlying vehicular cyclists' concern that emphasizing segregation draws attention away from our right to ride on the road.

Perhaps even more importantly, they would seem to be sealing the fate of our diminishing rail capacity. However, the Rails-to-Trails folks emphasize that they are not claiming permanent easements. In fact, they're preserving the rights-of-way in perpituity. Should we ever wake up to the potential for rail travel, the routes will still be there. The fact that they've torn up the tracks is basically irrelevant, as they've generally become decrepit, and they'd need to be replaced anyway to be reopened for rail use.

If a bike path is the only way to get out Secretary of Transportation to see the light, I can grudgingly accept their utility.
Happy Trails,
Ron "VC" Georg

Yokota Fritz said...

Thanks Ron. I was perhaps a little hasty in my frowny face -- especially considering that I often use a de facto rail-trail to get from Santa Cruz to my home in the Santa Cruz Mountains!