What this blog is about

Bicycle commuting, bicycle touring, bicycle racing; bicycle ADVENTURING.
To the grocery store, up a mountain, across the country or to the finish line--
it's all an adventure.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Community Sustainability Forum

Do you want people to choose bicycles? You have to give them the FACILITIES to do it FIRST. You don't force them to ride in dangerous conditions and THEN provide them.

Tonight I attended a community sustainability forum and I posed the question to Duane Cole, our city manager:

One way to be sustainable-- is to ride a bicycle. In Copenhagen, they have this figured out-- because of their government. In Copenhagen, the busiest bike lane sees 35,000 people in a day. 30% of trips are made by bicycle (which trumps Portland's 6%). These trips are made in suits & dresses. A website, Copenhagen Cycle Chic, is dedicated to artistic photos of women in heels, tall boots and dresses-- riding a bicycle. This is normal. They're not poor or technologically behind-- just smart.

But it hasn't always been this way. It's not, "oh, the Europeans, they've always been like that!" In the 1960s there was an 80-90% DECLINE in bicycle use due to pro-car policies and popularity. Then the government decided to triple their bike lanes and create progressive bicycle infrastructure (such as bicycle boulevards or advance lights for bicycles).

Now Portland, OR is Copenhagenizing by taking the initiative to make a practical, healthy, socially equitable and sustainable means of transportation safe and practical. Will Walla Walla take the lead like Portland and Copenhagen?

The reply I received was, "Yes." Too bad I didn't ask HOW instead of IF. That seems to me a cheap way to get out of actually answering a question. The halfway faded bike lanes in Walla Walla sure don't measure up to his answer.
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