Ronkin was a key figure in Oregon bicycling. In May 2007, then just retired ODOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager, Michael Ronkin received the Bud Clark Award for Lifetime Achievement at the BTA Alice Awards. The award citation noted:
Michael Ronkin moved to Corvallis from Switzerland in 1973, and started working with the Oregon Department of Transportation in 1984. He went from highway construction to bikeway design after five years, and then became the manager of the state’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program. In this role he wrote the Oregon State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, which is a model for the nation, and he put Oregon communities firmly on the path to being great places to walk and bike. Without the work Michael did to “till the soil,” local interest in bike projects and the strength of bicycle advocates statewide would never have grown.
In an email last month Michael shared his plans.
My wife Andrea and I are in the final hectic stages of our move from our longtime home, Oregon, to our new home, Geneva, which is my old home. We have been planning this move for many years, and we are now ready for take off.He will continue to work on critical bicycle and pedestrian matters, fortunately.
I will continue to work, trying to make America more walkable and more bikeable one city, one street, one intersection, one corner at a time. Flying from Geneva to the US is easy, I'm already coming back for some work in April.Salem, Oregon, the United States - we all will miss you, Michael!
Locally Michael has been a strong advocate for completing the Union Street corridor, the bicycle boulevard and connections that will make sure the Union Street Railroad Bridge is a fully functioning transportation link, and not merely a "bridge to nowhere."
As Michael says, "Au revoir means I will see you again!"