Two local transportation planners are attending the Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2010 conference in Chattanooga, Tenn..

Ann Chanecka, a Pima Association of Governments planner, and Tom Thivener, the City of Tucson’s bike and pedestrian program manager, will alternate sending updates each night about the most interesting sessions and information they learn each day.

Here is Thivener’s update from the first official day of the conference:

Today (Tuesday, Sept. 14) was the first official day of the conference.  There are probably 300-400 bicycle/pedestrian professionals, consultants, advocates and lobbyists here in Chattanooga.  The overall vibe is really good.  The veterans of the group, who have been coming to these conferences since 1980 have said that things are so much better for bikes and pedestrians now than they were back then.  But we all must become bigger advocates if we are going to see real change happen.  It’s not the sort of message I expected to hear but it has been a reoccurring theme.  The other reoccurring theme so far has been the need for our cities to be places where you can get your exercise when you commute.  In other words, we need active transportation options to keep people physically and mentally healthy.

There has been over $700 billion spent on transportation infrastructure in the last 20 years in this country. Most of that has been spent on projects meant to move cars.  The Rails to Trails Conservancy told us that the American Automobile Association (AAA) is lobbying Congress to reduce the 1.5 % piece of the pie that bikes/pedestrians projects get now to facilitate roadway expansions to handle more traffic.  The Rails to Trails Conservancy is lobbying to keep AAA from doing this and instead is hoping to get a bigger piece of the pie for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

Favorite quote:
“Cities need to focus on getting the 8 year olds and the 80 year olds biking…the rest will take care of themselves”, Gil Penalosa, creator of Bogota’s Ciclovia.

Check back tomorrow for an update from Chanecka.

3 thoughts on “Pro Walk/Pro Bike: Day 1”
  1. Uhm.. I don’t really think we need bike programs aimed at kids. Kids instantly love bikes. Just get them one and they will ride it like crazy. It seems to me that something happens between being a kid and being an adult that makes people give up the bike. We need to figure out what that thing is and fix it. I think I gave up my bike when I started high school. Maybe bike share programs in high schools would work. Maybe cycling in P.E. class too. Then in college everyone rides bikes but after college no bike. Why?

  2. Frank, I don’t think that is what Penalosa meant. I’ve followed the two Penalosas’ comments over the years and what they mean when they say this is that you need to design your cities to accommodate the very young and the very old . . . on bikes or on foot. If you do that, you will also be accommodating many more needs. The young and old are like indicator species. If you have them on bicycles, then you can be confident you have others, too. (Also, if your cities can accommodate children on bikes, then those cities probably have many other virtues that extend far beyond bicycling, because they are safe places for people to congregate and spend time).

  3. I had and used bike during my high school. That’s how I was so 165lb 6ft tall thin guy. I wished I brought my bike to college where I partied and snacked on pizza which I went up to 200+ I just started biking heavy this year. lost some pounds. I don’t have scale so I don’t know how much but can tell from my clothes I wear. I do miss P.E. they were good activities for me. biking was my after school activities visiting friends within 5+ miles radius in central georgia back in 80’s Now I am in Tucson, my radius is like 10+ miles or so. Make me wish I kept biking thru college up to now. Car made me love road travel more than flying. now I am car-free and proud of it. I am working on getting myself into shape that I can be fit to travel on bike thru several states.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.