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.