Six of us traveled from Harrisonburg and Rockingham Co. to Washington, DC to join 750 other bicyclists and “urbanists” representing all 50 states and a few others from Canada to discuss, inspire, and share ideas on how to build healthier, more bikable and walkable communities.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood was the keynote speaker, and plenary speakers included NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, President of Trek Bicycles Inc. John Burke, and Vice President of the Brookings Institute Bruce Katz.
One of my favorite presentations from the Summit this year was by Veronica Davis, co-founder of Black Women Bike DC. She and her friend started this bike club in Washington, DC to expose more African-American women to bicycling. What she shared about how they are doing it, the principals of making biking more accessible, more everyday, socialable and fun, more visible, and how to talk about bicycling with others unfamiliar with biking can be applied to all groups and sub-groups of people. Check out her presentation in the video below (or click here).
The theme for this year’s Summit was “Bicycling Means Business”. Mayor Greg Ballard (R) of Indianapolis spoke about how bike lanes and bike paths have attracted young people to his city, and spoke about the new Cultural Trail and how biking has brought positive economic impacts to his city. I also enjoyed the workshop “Bicycling Means Business: Helping Developers Meet the Triple Bottom Line”. There, Wendy Durren of Arlington Transportation Partners shared how Arlington County, VA was helping developers, employers, and property managers improve their transportation amenities and benefits using transportation demand management strategies.
Summit organizers were also very interested what’s been going on and the successes in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County! Kyle Lawrence, SVBC Board President, was invited to present at one of the workshops. He presented “The Story of Bicycle Development in a Small Rural City.” He shared the value of Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition members as advocates and the work that they do in our community, how SVBC co-sponsored a group of citizen and city of Harrisonburg staff and officials on a trip to Davis, California in 2010, how City Council appropriated $1.2 million last year to the Northend Greenway and the Bluestone Trail projects, and discussed the great value of partnerships between SVBC, the Northend Greenway, James Madison University, City of Harrisonburg, and Rockingham County.
While at the Summit, the six of us also attended a Virginia Get-Together hosted by Alta Planning & Design where we gathered with other advocates, bike coordinators, and officials from all over our state. There was representation from Chesapeake/Norfolk, Blacksburg/Roanoke, Richmond, Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria. We got to hear quick presentations by (summary by Fionnuala Quinn):
- Bruce Wright, Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling Chairman, on the Fairfax Bike Summit
- Amanda Poncy, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator at City of Charlottesville, on the new contraflow cycle track on 6th Street in Charlottesville
- Thanh Dang, Public Works Planner at City of Harrisonburg, on the impact of the Advocacy Advance workshop in gaining funding support for local improvements.
- Mark Blacknell, Washington Area Bicyclist Association President and Virginia Bicycle Federation board member, on the recent Virginia legislative session
- Chris Eatough, BikeArlington Program Manager, on the PAL: Safety on Our Streets program materials (free for use by others)
- Champe Burnley, President of Virginia Bicycle Federation, on Richmond 2015 and getting the word out regarding the tourism potential for Virginia
Thank you SVBC for the opportunity to attend the National Bike Summit.
Thanh Dang is Public Works Planner at the City of Harrisonburg where she manages bicycle and pedestrian projects among “other duties as assigned”. She is also a League Certified Instructor and will be teaching a Confident City Cycling class in Harrisonburg later this Spring, and is a member of SVBC.
Information below added by author on March 14. Comes from the League of American Bicyclists:
MISS THE SUMMIT? VIDEOS NOW ONLINE!
If you didn’t make the trip to Washington, D.C., click through our YouTube channel for videos from the Bike Summit and the Women’s Forum. Keep a lookout for more video uploads from the Summit and slides from many of the presentations on the Summit webpage.