Friday, December 27, 2013

Big News! Ciclovia Organizer Gil Penalosa Scheduled for February Lecture

Just got confirmation that Cherriots is bringing Gil Penalosa of the 8-80 Cities project to Salem in February!

If you enjoyed Sunday Streets in September, you already know one of the most important things about Penalosa!
Gil advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for all: from 8 to 80 years old. His focus is the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as on sustainable mobility. As Executive Director of the Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities for the past six years, Gil has worked in over 130 different cities in all continents.

As former Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City of Bogotá, Colombia, Gil successfully led the design and development of over 200 parks of which Simón Bolívar, a 360 hectare park in the heart of the city is the best known; here he created the Summer Festival, with over 100 events in 10 days and more than 3 million people attending, making it the main annual recreational and cultural event in the country. Gil’s team also initiated the “new Ciclovia”— a program which sees over 1 million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday, and today it's internationally recognized and emulated.
More than special events, an 8-80 city is one that meets the popsicle test - can you send your eight-year-old out on her own to get a popsicle? Do you trust the street enough that your 80 year-old grandmother can get groceries by walking and/or transit? Do the streets function for people who aren't making a drive-alone trip? Do the streets and development patterns support public health, or get in the way of it?

There aren't many streets in Salem that meet an 8-80 standard, and it would be great to create more of them. Great to accelerate implementation of what we've adopted already, and great to raise the standards for what we've yet to adopt.

Salem right now has all these semi-dormant studies - Bike and Walk Salem, the Downtown Mobility Study, the River Crossing Alternate Modes Study.  There are plenty of adopted plans with projects that express the 8-80 ideals to various degrees, but most of the projects are not funded, and none of them have much urgency behind them.  Sunday Streets is scheduled for one day only in 2014.

Penalosa's lecture will be an opportunity to introduce more people to the concepts and to build more support to take to City Council and our neighborhoods.  

The lecture will be Wednesday, February 19th at 6:30pm on the Willamette University campus. Doors will open at 6pm. More details - like the exact venue - to come! But save the date.


Brian Hines said...

That is indeed great news. In a burst of cosmic synchronicity, this very morning I started to read a book I gave myself for Christmas, "Happy City" by Charles Montgomery.

The first chapter talks about what Enrique Penalosa and his brother Gil (Guillermo) have accomplished in Bogota and elsewhere. I'm going to really enjoy hearing what he has to say.

Sure hope the Mayor, City Manager, city councillors, and other top officials are at his talk. Salem needs to learn from him.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

What excellent timing and coincidence on the book! I hope you'll write a review of it - which I would look forward to reading!

Curt said...

One of the core themes in the Penalosas' message is about leadership. They assert that progress can't be achieved through consensus. It takes visionary leaders with the will to act and the conviction to stand up to the critics. Examples: Michael Bloomberg and Jeanette Sadik-Khan in NYC, Rahn Emmanuel and Gabe Klein in Chicago, Mia Birk and Roger Geller in Portland. Without Linda Norris exercising her "imperial powers" as city manager, Sunday Streets would have never happened. All these people, including the Penalosas' have been maligned as devious, scheming "dictators" over the years for the creative tactics the have used to implement dramatic changes in a short period of time.

Laurie Dougherty said...

Great news! I had the privilege of hearing Enrique Penaloa speak on two different occasions when I lived in Boston. Can't wait to hear his brother Gil. So much of the Penalosa brothers' vision is about developing public spaces and public transportation to meet the needs of people who live and work in the city - getting to work and school and to stores and services, safe and healthy places to relax and play, and building cities for people, not for cars. If I remember right, one of the first things Enrique Penalosa did as mayor of Bogota was to abolish the practice of parking cars on sidewalks. I don't think free parking is one of their priorities.

Gary said...

This should be a great lecture. I hope our health, public works, & political leaders can make it. Gil spoke at the 2010 Velocity bike conference in Copenhagen (in place of his brother). He had a great message for all cities, big or small, developed or not-so-much, politically dicey or not. I recall him talking about how Bogota started to prioritize street improvements for it's citizens, not its cars, and how the city prospered.

Anonymous said...

We have details! From a Cherriots Press Release:

Doors will open at 6:00pm. Penalosa's presentation will begin at 6:30pm. Light refreshments will be available.

Willamette College of Law, 245 Winter St. SE, John C. Paulus Great Hall
February 19, at 6:30pm