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 day three of the conference:

Bicycle use is growing by leaps and bounds in San Francisco.  From 2006 to 2009 they saw a 53% increase.  What makes this especially noteworthy is that during the same time span, a court had halted any work on new bicycle facilities.  The injunction is now lifted and bicycle facilities are going at a fast rate to make up for the lost time.  I asked the City staffer what she attributed the rise to and she said: personal economic situations, increase in in interest in alternate modes and not enough transit to meet the demand, a rise in the hipster fixed gear crowd, and encouragement events like Bike 2 Work day.  She credited the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and their 11,000 paid members with being the driving force, though.  She said they work with the City well to resolve issues and work within the community to increase interest through different types of programs.

I also sat in a session geared towards getting more minorities riding.  The two ladies giving the presentation were from the Community Cycling Center in Portland, Oregon. The CCC seems to closely resemble BICAS in some ways.  They have build a bike programs, work with minorities, the poor, and the youth.  The CCC has a some other programs, such as the Create a Commuter program for adults and bike themed summer camp for kids.  They do a lot of targeted outreach in the outlying areas where the poor and minorities tend to live in Portland.  They have learned that there are different barriers for segments of the population.  Many can simply be overcome with a little education and encouragement.  Of course you still need good facilities, which is why they worked with the City of Portland when they were creating the new bicycle plan last year to identify some key parts of town where poverty was the highest and where the city lacked any ‘low-stress’ facilities.  Portland, which is now building bicycle boulevards at a feverish pace is now building this sort of bicycle facility in some of those areas, thanks to that work.

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