Wednesday, December 28, 2011

50 Keys to Transforming Communities

Mia Birk, author of Joyride! Pedaling Toward A Healthier Planet, has been touring the country discussing how Portland, Oregon, once a typically car-centric place, was transformed into a bicycling mecca. While the book tour recently ended, a second edition and e-book are planned:
My publisher promised a second edition and e-version a couple months ago, but it got delayed. The second edition had updates and more photos and the addition of keys to summarize the key take-aways in inspiring people and transforming communities, one pedal stroke at a time. And so, I give you these keys now.
Here are the first 10 keys:
1. Look beyond the bike: bicycle transportation succeeds best when combined with investments in compact development, transit, and walking. Engage in and support various efforts to help shape your sustainable community.

2. Key human elements: strong local political leaders, effective community advocates and well trained and supported City staff. With one or two, you can make some progress, but it is the combination of all three that is the recipe for success.

3. Develop and adopt a robust, visionary, comprehensive bicycle transportation plan. Use the planning process to engage your community in a deep conversation about the future of transportation.

4. Develop a network of bikeways that is connected, comprehensive, and gets people from where they are to where they want to go. It should be a combination of off-street paths, on-road separated bikeways, and low-stress neighborhood greenways and must appeal to a wide variety of ages, cycling skill levels, and trip purposes.

5. It’s not just the bikeway infrastructure, it’s the attitude. Embrace the role of encouraging people to bicycle as part and parcel of the way you do business.

6. Get your traffic engineers on bikes as a regular part of their job.

7. Start with the low-hanging fruit: easy-to-implement projects.

8. Court the media and don’t freak out if you get negative press. It’s important to get ‘bike’ in the public consciousness.

9. Set aside at least one percent of your transportation budget to get the ball rolling.

10. Adopt “Complete Streets” policies and/or legislation, then execute! Unenforced policies and plans that sit on shelves gathering dust are worthless.

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