Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eugene Panel Envisions Remixing Transportation and Development

Gary Obery, whom you will remember from his Intro to Smart Cycling clinics, writes this report about Eugene's Bike Plan Update and a trip there for a panel discussion on October 22nd.

My Reflections upon Eugene’s “Transportation ReMix”

One evening last month, I had the opportunity to check out the bike scene, the latest bicycle treatments, and a really cool bar in Eugene – at Eugene’s Transportation Remix. This was an event designed to inform local citizens on the latest developments in bicycle facility planning and design.

And after letting it settle in a bit, I realize it was much more. It was the city’s way of inspiring citizens to participate in the upcoming planning decisions, of showing how much fun it can be to talk about bicycle projects, and to give people hope for creating a city where nearly everyone can feel safe and comfortable riding a bicycle. All attendees certainly seemed comfortable in the relaxed atmosphere of the Electric Station!

We were treated to three excellent presentations. Ed Fischer, the just-retired State Traffic Engineer for ODOT, gave a summary presentation of his scan trip to Europe to see a wide variety of bicycle (and pedestrian) facility solutions and to learn about their programs and policies. Good to see a diverse group of established professionals tout the possibilities of the bicycle!

Next up was Hugh Pritchard, a retired developer and real-estate broker. Hugh traveled to Copenhagen for the Velo-City conference this past June, just as I did, and he came back inspired just as I did! What I really, really liked about Hugh’s presentation was his suggestion that we, as bicycle advocates, should strive get others to view people on bicycles with “affection.” Humm….sounds interesting. It goes like this:
If a motorist starts to appreciate a person on a bike for taking one less parking space, for emitting only a human breath, for lowering everyone else’s health insurance, etc, then they will have positive feelings about cycling.
Hugh gave credit to Michel Colville Anderson for this inspiration. Ever since hearing Hugh’s presentation, I’ve been following the laws more closely and smiling at everyone I see on the streets, all in hopes of creating positive feelings towards bicyclists. Maybe they think I’m friendly…or just strange!

Last up was Jessica Roberts, an experienced staffer at Alta Planning and Design. Her presentation highlighted some of the latest and greatest bicycle treatments right here in the U.S. Her presentation, along with Ed and Hugh’s left me thinking about how much more we can do for people on bicycles besides installing typical bike lanes on some busy roads.

As Salem works through its bike/ped plan update, I’m hoping we include cycle tracks, bike boulevards, buffered bike lanes, and a variety of intersection treatments in the updated document. In the mean time, I’ll keep smiling at all the people I see on my bike around town.

Additional Info:

The Eugene bike plan update info is here.

Ed's complete slide deck here.

Jessica's complete slide deck here.

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