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APBP E-news | October 26, 2012

News from the 2012 Designing Cities Conference 

Day Two of NACTO's Designing Cities Conference: Leading the Way to World Class Streets
by Kit Keller, Executive Director, and Craig Williams, Alta Planning + Design

As APBP members watch and listen to the closing plenary of NACTO's Designing Cities Conference, many in the audience wonder if this conference signals an exciting counterbalance to AASHTO. Yesterday Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution asserted that innovation is happening in cities, not at the federal level. Will Washington's divisive partisanship and gridlock render many decision-makers largely irrelevant? Maybe.

As the conference winds down, transportation commissioners are pondering the power of cities and the peril of ignoring cities in our national debates and in national transportation policy and funding.

APBP Board member Craig Williams writes:

Katz said two-thirds of our country's population lives in the top 100 metropolitan areas, and these cities are finally getting it. They are understanding that bicycling and walking are indispensable in showing that a city is livable, and that being livable is critical in order to appeal to businesses, to retain and attract  young and talented workers that make a city even more vibrant. Livable cities appeal to seniors who no longer want to drive everywhere they need to go in the course of their day. They appeal to empty nesters who enjoy the vibrant downtowns and the ability to be able to walk and take transit to the variety of destinations that dense urban areas offer.

In a very interesting '8 to 80 Cities' session, we heard about the Green Lane Project's ongoing efforts to track the progress that cities are making around the country. At the beginning of 2012, for example, there were approximately 50 protected bike lane facilities in the U.S. By the end of 2012, there should be over 100 such facilities in the U.S. That's a phenomenal growth record, and that's just the beginning. We heard from several outstanding cities, including Portland, New York City and Chicago. Indianapolis shared an inspiring story (entitled "From Zero to Hero") about recent efforts to build the Indianapolis Cultural Trail and the economic development projects that the trail  appears to be spurring. And an equally inspiring story about the enthusiasm that Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has shown for improving bicycling conditions and attitudes in the city. Indeed, one of the takeaways from this session is that strong, enthusiastic leadership in these communities is crucial to improving the bicycling and walking environment in cities.

These are amazing networks that these cities are creating. But we also heard that none of this comes easy. That each of these cities is learning the best ways to accomplish these innovative transportation facilities, and they're learning from each other. But that's the point of the Green Lane project; to collect information from these cities and share it with those cities who want to do similar efforts. Stay tuned, and don't forget to register for APBP's free webinar on the Green Lane Project (featuring Chicago and San Francisco) on Wednesday, October 31, at 3pm ET (register here:

APBP Executive Director Kit Keller writes:

Have we ignored transportation infrastructure? Among recollected thoughts circulating at #NACTO2012:

  • "If streets were a business, they would have closed their doors long ago."
  • "We're working with 60 year old designs, but this product needs to change with the times."
  • "The best part of MAP21? It's only 2 years."

Intriguing ideas on public outreach (we must invite public support to innovate): Ricardo Olea, City Traffic Engineer with SFMTA, challenged current practice by saying, "We used to decide what we wanted to do, and then present it to the public, from whom we really needed their buy-in in order to get approval. It was sort of like proposing marriage on the first date. Better to have multiple dates before your proposal." Smart man!

Get more smart insights from myriad NACTO conference attendees at #NACTO2012. StreetFilms is here, too, so watch for transformative glimpses of ideas, walkshops and panels.

And have a great weekend!

APBP Executive Director Kit Keller and Board member Craig Williams attended the Designing Cities Conference. Follow the conference at #NACTO2012. Check out Jonathan Maus' interviews and reporting from the conference at Many APBP members presented and participated in conversations that are sure to effect change.

Kit will be at the APHA Conference in San Francisco next week. If you're there too, stop by the parklet booth shared with the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute and California Walks. Be sure to attend the Tuesday night social event for APBP members and friends at the Thirsty Bear Brewing Company; details here.


APBP E-news | October 25, 2012

In this edition:

• News from NACTO Designing Cities Conference
• FHWA Releases Interim Guidance on MAP-21
• Voting Continues Through November 2 for Board of Directors
• Webinars

News from the 2012 Designing Cities Conference
Day One of  NACTO's Designing Cities Conference: Leading the Way to World Class Streets
by Kit Keller, Executive Director

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) kicked off its first-ever Designing Cities Conference yesterday in New York City at an opening plenary that featured New York City DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Today, keynote speaker Bruce Katz, Vice President and Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, predicted the metropolitan revolution at this morning's plenary. In a just-in-time economy, our transportation planning and policy processes need to respond. Katz suggests that if you don't have a 21st century transit system, you will not compete. He further poses the question that emerged during the dysfunctional process and passage of the last transportation bill: how relevant is the federal government - and perhaps even state government - to city functionality? Through urgency and intentionality, Katz says, cities are at the vanguard; they are change agents. Two-thirds of the U.S.'s population lives in 100 metropolitan areas. Cities need to lead the way and rely less on Congress to direct their efforts. Food for thought. 

There's a pattern emerging that mayors, city leaders and staff who experience how some of the world's leading cities "do" transportation go back home committed to a different transportation paradigm. Ideas stick and practices change, swiftly. It's not surprising to see resistance to new ideas. Nor is it surprising to see significant public support for this progress. Why? Because it works and positions cities as great places to live well and do business. Seamless transportation systems need to be tailored to meet the changing needs of cities. That's why this conference is happening. To compete on the world stage, America needs a world class transportation system. Yet we lag behind. How well do key North American transportation guides respond to this goal? Do these guides offer relevance across jurisdictions? (APBP's Board unanimously approved NACTO's Urban Bikeway Design Guide; a second edition was released this year. Watch for release of the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide in 2013.)

APBP Executive Director Kit Keller and Board member Craig Williams are attending the Designing Cities Conference; read their e-reports today and tomorrow. Follow the conference at #NACTO2012. Check out Jonathan Maus' interviews and reporting from the conference at Many APBP members are presenting and participating in conversations that are sure to effect change.

FHWA Releases Intermim Guidance on MAP-21
From CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking, on 10/24/12: "On Monday, the Federal Highway Administration released its interim guidance on implementing the Transportation Alternatives Program of MAP-21. Transportation Alternatives (TAP), as a refresher, is now the catch-all funding category for all things ped/bike, including Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and the Recreational Trails Program. The interim guidance has good and bad news: TAP funds may be used to pay state SRTS coordinator salaries; SRTS projects now require an 80/20 state-local match; State DOTs and non-profits are not eligible to directly receive TAP funds, but can access funds through partnerships; and TAP funds will be distributed 50% to the local level and 50% for projects anywhere within a state.

"... Low income/low resource communities will no doubt have difficulty competing for SRTS funds under the new 80/20-match requirement. If your state DOT still has SAFETEA-LU Safe Routes to School funds in the bank, urge it to target low income/low resources communities with those remaining funds, which require no local match."

Read the guidance here:
For more information, read the America Bikes, Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and League of American Bicyclists' blogs.

Voting Continues Through November 2 for Board of Directors
Tired of robo-calls and fact-free political ads? Want the fun of voting without the 24/7 newscycle hangover? Why not give APBP's election a try?

Four seats are open on the 2013 Board of Directors, and eight talented candidates are running. Click here to learn about the candidates and open a ballot. Candidates are elected to a three-year term, and may serve two consecutive terms. Members elected this year will serve on the board from 1/1/2013 to 12/31/2015. Voting closes at midnight Pacific time on Friday, November 2, so hurry! Photo id not required.

Upcoming Webinars
October 30: Leveraging Regional Collaboration to Build Healthy Communities. 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. Eastern. Free FHWA webinar; more information and registration here: Learn about the integration of transportation and health-planning with case studies from the San Diego region.

October 31: Green Lane Project. 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Free APBP webinar; register here: Learn about the scope and progress of the Green Lane Project, the Bikes Belong initiative aimed at building support and advancing best practices for separated, protected on-street bicycle facilities. The session includes detailed case studies of new protected bike lane installations in Chicago and San Francisco. The AICP has approved one CM credit, and the webinar will be recorded.

November 14: Maps that Guide, Encourage and Inform. 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Eastern. APBP Professional Development webinar; register here: Find out how map-making is evolving to meet needs for trip planning, coordination between adjacent jurisdictions, and digital mapping. Case studies from Arlington County, Virginia, and Boston. APBP has applied for CM credit, and the webinar will be recorded. Site license fee is $50/APBP members, $75 for non-members; invited any number of people to attend at your site.