Friday, October 11, 2013

Premiere of the film "Bikeswell: Smart Movement in Arlington Virginia"

There was a great crowd at the premiere of Bikeswell last night at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse. The movie depicts the advances Arlington has made over the past several years in creating a bicycle-friendly place. It's taken a committed County Board that has devoted the resources needed to have six staff devoted to bicycle and pedestrian issues. It's also taken an active Bicycle Advisory Committee along with an engaged community.

The film was produced by BikeArlington and Gripped Films and features Arlington staff and advocates. It's an excellent film, with many good lessons for Fairfax. Here are some photos from the premiere. We've embedded the film below which is available on YouTube.

Here are some excerpts from the film:

Chris Hamilton, Arlington Commuter Services: "It all started with the idea that if we moved people instead of cars we'll be able to build a more prosperous, dense, high performing city. We don't have any room to build more roads, and our transit capacity, although expanding, is constrained, so the good place to add more capacity is in biking and walking and so Arlington set out as a goal a few years ago under the County Board's leadership was to be the premier city on the East Coast for biking. In doing so they laid out a number of things; that we needed to build the infrastructure, and that we needed to add bike lanes, bike trails, bike parking. We also realized that we needed to build bike culture, so we started a program called BikeArlington where we have staff that do nothing but encourage people and help people to get on their bikes."

Chris Eatough, BikeArlington: "Biking is part of the solution in so many ways. It's great for our public health, it's really good for our air quality, it helps our transportation problems and our congestion, it just helps our land use. We don't have to devote as much space to roads and for parking cars... It's good for business. It keeps money local and it gives local store owners a whole new customer base... This is pretty hard. We're changing a culture that's been based around the automobile and the default that you get around by car and cars are used for every trip. We're working on changing that and it's hard work. It takes a lot of individuals, it takes a lot of groups to get behind it. You can't just have a couple of guys that work for the county that call themselves the bike guys that are doing all this work. That's not going to be enough. That feeling and that sense and that effort has to come from all departments in the county government, and from businesses and employers around the county and individuals."

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I wonder if we can have a showing in Fx Cty at the Angelika or someplace -- especially for our Bd of Supervisors and other decision makers -- and open up the rest of the seats to cycling supporters. It will give tantalizing possibilities ...

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