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Postcards from ProWalk/Pro Bike
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E-postcard from Pro Walk/Pro Bike® 
Chattanooga • September 17, 2010 
A spotlit sea nettle swims in a dark tank at the Tennessee Aquarium, where  ProWalk/ProBike® participants gathered on Wednesday night.
 
 Tennessee Aquarium Wows the Crowd

 
Just ask anyone who attended the PWPB networking party at the Tennessee Aquarium on Wednesday night about the mesmerizing jellyfish, or the prowling sharks with multiple menacing rows of bottom teeth, or the hushed glimpses of sleeping penguins. There was so much to be awed by in the two buildings that comprise the U.S.' highest-rated aquarium.
 
This remarkable national treasure has found many engaging ways to exhibit these incredible animals. Several people commented that the extensive layout of the aquarium actually made it easier to strike up conversations with others viewing the same tank and made it easier to casually meet more people. Networking abounded. And the food was fabulous too!
 
 

APBP Executive Director Kit Keller (left) and board member Judi Lawson Wallace (right) celebrate after the APBP Annual Meeting at the Tennessee Aquarium.

 America Walks Steps Up With Equal Footing Summit

Shortly after the last handshakes and hugs at ProWalk/ProBike®, over 100 people convened at the first Equal Footing Summit to help craft a national walking strategy under the guidance of facilitator Mark Fenton. "This was a really exciting group of folks, and it was a very energetic session, even after a long conference," says Scott Bricker, Campaign Manager with America Walks.

Participants ratified the Vision Statement for a Walkable America, then engaged in a series of working sessions to deliberate on a list of 10 possible strategies. Five of these advanced to the next round of discussion:
1. A national education
and action campaign targeting current critical decision makers;
2. A
national advocacy voice to advance new initiatives and defend existing federal policies;
3. S
afe Routes for Seniors (a placeholder name, as seniors are not the only people to benefit from walkable communties);
4. Build and activate a
national network of walking advocates;
5. S
afe Routes to Transit.

"There was clear, unanimous agreement that there needs to be a unified voice for walking and walkable communities at the national level," reported Bricker. America Walks is poised to take on this role; its board meets after the summit to consider next steps and prioritize the list of ambitious strategies forwarded by the summit.

Seleta Reynolds, APBP president and an associate at Fehr & Peers, provided energetic and consistent leadership as co-chair of the steering committee and one of the session facilitators.

America Walks Board President Mindy Craig briefs the Equal Footing Summit.

Final PWPB Session Inspires and Challenges

The capstone on the 2010 ProWalk/ProBike® conference offered insight and inspiration for stepping up our effectiveness in making communities more walkable and bicycle friendly. Peter Harkness, board chair of the National Center for Biking and Walking, moderated a panel that included Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Megan McConville of the Environmental Protection Agency, Hugh Morris of the National Association of Realtors, Gabe Rousseau of the Federal Highway Administration, and Rodney Tolley of Walk21.

Hugh Morris made PWPB participants an enticing proposition. "If you are looking for support for bicycling and walking projects, and if you are looking for a fairly powerful voice to help you, reach out to your local realtors' association. There is significant potential to work together to advance bicycling and walking capacity and infrastructure." Hugh offered to introduce you to your local association and urged you to contact him at hmorris@realtors.org.

Walk21'sdirector, Rodney Tolley, gave an inspiring update on European efforts to promote walking: "We have a great walking and cycling network. The only problem is, it is full of cars. The space was once ours and it was taken from us. We need to reclaim it for walking and cycling." He urged participants to sign the International Charter for Walking, which describes the benefits of walking and argues for the universal right of people to be able to walk. Its eight principles include well-managed places and spaces that are connected, comfortable, convenient, convivial, and conspicuous; reduced road danger; and supportive authorities and policy makers.

Rod also invited cities to consider surveying their residents through Walk21's Making Walking Count survey tool. They provide the survey, your city administers it, and they do the analysis and report for a nominal fee. Thus far New York, London, Copenhagen and Barcelona have completed these surveys. This is not a city-to-city comparison tool, but rather one that establishes a city's own benchmark from which to measure future changes. Rod gave us a sneak preview of PQN (Pedestrian Quality Needs) findings from research in 20 European countries.

And finally, he offered thse recommendations for future PWPB conferences: expand our vocabulary and intent from "pedestrians" to "people walking." Go beyond walking as transportation and recognize the time spent sitting in the public realm. He noted transit should have a significant presence at this conference and reminded us that, "All livable places have mass transit which generates great walking trips which support great transit."

Todd Litman challenged us to re-define economics as being not about money, but rather social welfare, or more simply, happiness. The benefits of active transportation include physical and mental health, community cohesion, mobility for those not driving, reduced congestion and energy consumption, parking cost savings, and responding to consumer demands among others. However, we do not incorporate these benefits into our analyses when prioritizing and selecting projects. Todd suggested that there is an opportunity to promote and communicate these benefits through storytelling. He will soon finish a paper that describes how to evaluate and quantify nonmotorized transportation benefits; look for it on the VTI Web site.

Closing the final plenary, NCBW Executive Director Sharon Roerty announced that the 2012 conference venue and date will be determined by the end of 2010.


As we wish Local Host Committee Chair and APBP Board member Philip Pugliese a well-deserved rest, we say goodbye from Chattanooga. We missed your company and hope to see you at APBP's Professional Development Seminar in 2011--date and venue to be announced. Many thanks to Sharon Roerty and all the NCBW family. It was a great conference.

Regards,
APBP Staff in Chattanooga

 

 
 
E-postcard from Pro Walk/Pro Bike® 
Chattanooga • September 16, 2010 
Leslie Meehan accepts the 2010 Professional of the Year - Public Sector Award from Seleta Reynolds.
 
 APBP Annual Meeting Recognizes Excellence in the Profession

APBP honored five members for professional excellence at last night's Annual Meeting at the Tennessee Aquarium. The 2010 Professional of the Year - Public Sector Award was given to two people:

Leslie A. Meehan, Senior Transportation Planner, Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Leslie's work helped establish the Nashville Area MPO as a leader in active transportation. The Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Study recently won the ITE Planning Council Best Project Award (read about it here). Other notable projects include a physical activity and commuting study, a health impact assessment of transit-oriented development, mapping food access and transportation, a Safe Routes to School state network project, the Tennessee Obesity Task Force, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, and symposiums on complete streets and school siting.

Jim Sebastian, Pedestrian and Bicycle Program Manager, District of Columbia Department of Transportation. Jim inspires his staff to excel with projects such as the Bikestation at Union Station, a bicycle facility on Pennsylvania Avenue connecting the White House to the Capitol, a separated bicycle lane on 15th Street NW, the City's first HAWK signal and several new rectangular rapid flashing crosswalk beacons resulting from DC's comprehensive Pedestrian Master Plan. The Oberstar Award for Safe Routes to School went to a D.C. school and the city's bicycle sharing program expands from 10 stations to 100 stations.

The 2010 Professional of the Year - Private Sector Award went to Andrea White-Kjoss, President and CEO of Bikestation. Andrea was recognized for pioneering work to provide bicycle-transit facilities and her skillful building of community partnerships essential to the planning and installation of these facilities, which are changing how people perceive and use transportation while winning the attention of transportation officials and entrepreneurs alike. Charlie Gandy accepted the award on Andrea's behalf.

Daniel Jatres, Pedestrian and Bicycle Program Manager, New Orleans Regional Planning Commission, received the 2010 Young Professional of the Year Award (for professionals under the age of 30). In addition to his regular duties, Dan initiated a successful revision of Louisiana state law (ACT 2010, No. 618) that clarified state bicycling law with a modern understanding of bicycle operation and what constitutes a safe cycling environment. Dan engaged the bicycle community in this process by establishing a strong communication network using Constant Contact to keep the membership of the New Orleans Metro Bicycle Coalition up to speed on the progress of HB 1137.

Members gave another standing ovation to 2010 Lifetime Achievement award winner Lois Thibault, who had received her award at a plenary session on Tuesday.

Those attending the Annual Meeting heard APBP Board President Seleta Reynolds give highlights of the year: the collaboration between APBP and ITE's Pedestrian-Bicycle Council on a multi-modal LOS tool, the publication of the revised Bicycle Parking Guidelines, the Women's Cycling Project with its 15,000 survey responses, and the partnership with America Walks to create the National Walking Strategy and host the Equal Footing Summit.

Seleta asked members to acknowledge the five recipients of this year's Gihon Jordan Scholarship, remarking, "Many of us remember Gihon. In his name we can continue to bring great folks to the ProWalk/ProBike conference and APBP Professional Development Seminars."
 
 
Extraordinarily Early, Interactive Plenary Considers the Big Picture

By the time Wednesday's 6:15 a.m. plenary session ended 90 minutes later, the starting crowd of 150 hearty souls had at least doubled. Dan Burden, Mark Fenton, Michael Ronkin and Peter Lagerwey lead the earliest risers through a lively interactive discussion of the convergence of movements and trends that define our work. They challenged us to force a tipping point by steering the trends to serve our mission, by moving from evolutionary change to revolutionary change.

What are these trends? The list included the demographics of an aging population and changing family structure; decreasing VMT; the recession; the impact of the Highway Trust Fund bankruptcy; the minority majority; separation of wealth; health status inequities; the need for new a economic model and affordable housing; mass transit erosion; and many others. What a way to start the day!


2010 Board Election

APBP's own election season kicked off at the Annual Meeting when President Seleta Reynolds announced a slate of four candidates for four open Board positions:

• Eric Anderson, incumbent, is the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Berkeley, Calif.
•  Mark de la Vergne is a Project Manager with Sam Schwartz Engineering in Chicago, Ill.
Judi Lawson Wallace, incumbent, is President of Wallace Consulting and Training in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Craig Williams is the Principal at LYKAH Consulting in Chicago, Ill.
 
The three candidates attending the conference gave statements; the fourth will post a video statement on the APBP Web site. The polls are now open for voting online: click here to read about the candidates and submit a ballot. Seleta called for a quorum of members to vote by October 29. She also encouraged members to consider running for a board seat, noting that in addition to governance, board members have the opportunity to help advance the pedestrian and bicycle profession.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's postcard, which will include PWPB® participants' reactions to the reception held in the incredible Tennessee Aquarium on Wednesday.

Thinking of you as we munch on Moon Pies,
APBP Staff in Chattanooga 

 

Jim Sebastian accepts the 2010 Professional of the Year Award - Public Sector Award from Seleta Reynolds

Dan Jatres accepts the 2010 Young Professional Award from Seleta Reynolds.

 
 
 
E-postcard from Pro Walk/Pro Bike® 
Chattanooga • September 15, 2010 
You've seen the logo; here's the real thing: Chattanooga's Walnut Street Bridge, which spans the Tennessee River. It is the second-longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge in the U.S. and a centerpiece of the city's urban renewal.
 
 APBP Board Members Reflect on
Day One of PWPB® 2010

APBP Board members shared what stood out for them at the first day of the conference:
 

In two different workshops, President Seleta Reynolds heard about Roger Geller's four different types of cyclists and the call for the U.S. DOT and state DOTs to research innovative designs to meet their needs.

 

Kristin Bennett praised the effectiveness of the interactive sidewalk maintenance session. After presentations, participants shared their problems and drew ideas and resources from each other as well as the presenters.


Local Host Committee Chair Philip Pugliese reflected on Chattanooga's role as the site for PWPB. A middle-sized American city, Chattanooga demonstrates that progress can be made despite modest resources, a DOT with a pay-as-you go policy, and no state income tax. "You can't do everything, but you can still do some things. Not bad for a red state!" Mark Fenton told Philip he's been hearing a lot of good buzz about Chattanooga from other conference participants. We have too!

 

For Eric Anderson, who works as a municipal bicycle planner, the high point was the NACTO session. "It made me really hopeful about the direction we need to go. It was empowering. It is easy to get discouraged by the amount of bureaucracy and red tape, and complicated bike issues, especially related to encouraging people who are new to cycling." His take-away was, "It is up to us at the local level to make change happen. The sense of urgency we feel at the local level regarding bikeway design is not shared at the state and federal level."

 

Jon Kaplan was inspired by Mia Birk's lunch-time keynote speech. Jon noted the broad range of ages and professions among participants. Thinking back to earlier PWPB conferences, he commented that the level of discussion is more sophisticated, the field is better-developed, and the health component is integrated into topics rather than being a separate concept. And for Jon, PWPB is "like a homecoming."

 

Judi Wallace was stuck by the phrase "cul de sac culture" used by lunch plenary moderator, Joe Kurmaskie, aka "the Metal Cowboy." She thinks it's an apt description of how many of our communities are designed.

 

Brett Hondorp noted what PWPB means to him: a chance to connect with all his colleagues that he doesn't see very often. And he added, "I always come away having learned new things I didn't expect."

 


APBP invites members to look for more updates from Chattanooga on Thursday and Friday .

Best regards,
APBP Staff in Chattanooga

 
Keynote Speech
Made to Move:
Guidelines to Community Action

Epidemiologist Dr. Gregory W. Heath, DHSc, MPH, energized Pro Walk/Pro Bike® on Tuesday with the scientific justification for making our communities more walkable and bikeable. Major research shows that adults need at minimum 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week. (PWPB participants easily manage this traveling between workshop rooms and exhibit halls at the beautiful Chattanooga Convention Center.) However, 23 percent of adults report they have no significant physical activity, and 12.5 percent are active less than 150 minutes a week. Children need 60 minutes of physical activity per day at least five days a week, but only 37 percent are meeting this minimum requirement. Dr. Heath noted we have engineered opportunities for physical activity out of our environment.

The Centers for Disease Control's Guide to Community Preventive Services provides evidence-based environmental and policy approaches that truly work. These are categorized into strategies that create or enhance access to places for physical activity, and both community- and street-scale urban design and land use policies.

 

Dr. Gregory Heath ornamented his PWPB® keynote address with this haiku poem: "To live long, eat food as grown, keep moving."
 

 
 Lois Thibault Receives APBP Lifetime Achievement Award

Tedson Meyers Honored for Meritorious Service

APBP honored Lois Thibault, Research Coordinator at the U.S. Access Board, with its 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award at Tuesday's lunchtime plenary session. For 18 years, Lois has led the Access Board's training and agency rulemaking programs, stimulated new research, and attended myriad meetings with transportation professionals who learned from her insights. In 1999 Lois authored Accessible Rights-of-Way, a design guide for pedestrian facility accessibility. She has also worked with APBP to develop its Designing Pedestrian Facilities for Accessibility course.

At the same plenary, APBP Board President Seleta Reynolds surprised Tedson Meyers with the 2010 APBP Meritorious Service Award. Tedson, a founder and Board Chair Emeritus of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking, has served the field for five decades. APBP recognized his early vision and advocacy work in Washington, D.C., his support of national advocacy, his steady leadership in the National Center for Bicycling & Walking, and his advocacy work in Alabama. Tedson's commitment demonstrates that as advocates and professionals we each have the power to make the world a better place for people to bicycle and walk. As Tedson reminded us earlier in the day, "Remember its not the organization it's the movement."

 

 

 
 
 
 
E-postcard from Pro Walk/Pro Bike® 
Chattanooga • September 14, 2010 
APBP members Karen Parsons, Craig Williams, Pete Lagerwey, and Barbara Duerk (from left to right) examine the edges between public and private spaces outside the Chattanooga Convention Center.
 
 Site Design Workshop

Pro Walk/Pro Bike® 2010 got off to an early start on Monday with special meetings, including a full-day workshop exploring the overlap of the public rights of way and the private realm. Instructors Michael Ronkin of Designing Streets for People and Peter Lagerwey of Toole Design Group observed that siloed, rather than integrated, street and site designs often create places we instinctively avoid or hurry through as pedestrians and bicyclists. Michael noted, "Sidewalks are opportunities to break down these silos and work together."

Participants from across the country considered elements of street and site design that create quality places that invite lingering. Examples are a mix of uses with retail at street level and housing on upper floors, sidewalk corridor zones with different functions, and ways to use on-street parking to help pedestrians. Karen Parsons, Principal Planner for the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission, also noted the importance of collaboration across professional disciplines. "Architects know buildings. Planners know transportation. The interface between them is urban design. They both need to know urban design."
 
 
Participants also questioned the focus of professional education and project goals. "Everything we professionals are trained and schooled in, and all the regulations, are based on the worst case scenarios; the 10- and 100- year storm events, peak traffic flows, and the number of required exits from a building," mused Jo Somers, a traffic engineer from Huntsville, Ala. "We don't plan for every day living." This prompted Tony Hull of Bike Walk Twin Cities in Minneapolis to add, "If you only design for the worst case scenario, you only succeed in the worst case scenarios."

What happens at the interface between the public and private realms has significant positive or negative economic impacts as well. Inviting places generate significant economic vitality for small- and medium-sized businesses. As Peter Lagerwey noted, "It's okay for the development community and businesses to make money from doing good, from creating good outcomes."
 
Pro Walk/Pro Bike® 2010 Gets a Fine Chattanooga Welcome

In keeping with Chattanooga's reputation for friendliness and the traditional collegiality of Pro Walk/Pro Bike®, the 16th edition of the conference began with a flurry of free hugs throughout the reception hall. A new tradition, perhaps? We were warmly welcomed by Sharon Roerty, Executive Director of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking, and Philip Pugliese, Chair of the Chattanooga Local Host Committee.

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield, a former urban planner, spoke compellingly about the benefits for his city of bicycling and walking. (Chattanooga's dedication to becoming a more walkable and bikeable community helped attract two new large employers.) Erik Esborg of Bikes Belong celebrated the coalition's great progress in recent years and commended the 8-80 Cities movement, which encourages cities to plan for 8 year olds and 80 year olds, because then cities will work for everyone in between. (Click here to subscribe to the 8-80 newsletter.)

Left: Charlie Gandy offers free hugs during the Pro Walk/Pro Bike® reception; Randy Neufeld hugs back (right).

Safe Routes to School National Partnership Annual Meeting
 
The Safe Routes to School National Partnership released its draft 2011-2015 Strategic Plan at its Annual Meeting on Monday. This plan's five strategic focus areas were informed by extensive interviews and surveys: 1) Opening Minds through Research and Communications; 2) Changing Policies and Infrastructure; 3) Building Capacity for Leadership; 4) Advancing Social Equity; and 5) Assuring Sustainability. The National Partnership invites you to review the five-year plan and take ten minutes to complete a survey about it.
 
The Federal Highway Administration, the National Center for Safe Routes to School, and the SRTS National Partnership also announced that the Third Safe Routes to School National Conference will be presented on August 16-18, 2011 in Minneapolis. Mark your calendar!
 

 
APBP invites members to look for more updates from Chattanooga on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week.

Wish you were here! Best regards,
APBP Staff in Chattanooga

 
 
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