Michael Andersen, PlacesForBikes staff writer
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin welcomes attendees to his city.
When we were pulling together the inaugural PlacesForBikes conference, held last week in Madison, we had a couple of strategies.
First, we wanted a compact program: two breakout panels, four keynotes, three plenary panels and a round of small-group strategic planning. (Plus a bike ride, of course.) Second, we wanted to cross-pollinate ideas across the biking movement. Instead of having separate tracks for things like equity or the bike industry, we tried to integrate different interests within each panel, since (for example) all policy needs to be equitable and all biking exists in symbiosis with the bike movement.
Hopefully, the result was a dense brew of fresh wisdom. Here’s a sampling of the most interesting, lifted from some of the slideshows presented by conference speakers.
You can also see videos and/or slides from most sessions here.
(I’ve uploaded large images below so you can look closer at any of them. To view these images at a larger size on a desktop, right-click or command click and choose “open image in new tab.” Unfortunately, this also means they may display distorted on some mobile screens.)
An innovative crossing of a major street
Before and after shots from Tessa Greegor of the City of Fort Collins:
Why bike shops should care about bike networks
From Trek CEO John Burke, sharing a little data from independent bicycle dealers in otherwise comparable cities:
The biggest reason to hire locals for your localized biking promotion program
From Ronnie Harris of Chicago’s Go Bronzeville program:
The uneven distribution of bike infrastructure progress
Kate Fillin-Yeh of the National Association of City Transportation Officials pointed out that though many cities have a few protected bike lanes, only a handful are making consistent progress:
Why networks matter, in one slide
From Toole Design Group’s Spencer Gardner and PeopleForBikes research director Jennifer Boldry, comparing car and bike networks:
How other countries’ biking networks score
Gardner and Boldry used the new Bike Network Analysis they’ve developed (and calculated for 299 U.S. cities so far) to see how two European cities stack up to U.S. cities. Groningen in the Netherlands, the college town that is the only city known to carry more than 50 percent of trips by bike, scored a 75, compared to 55 for Fort Collins:
And Seville, Spain, which saw biking rocket in popularity after a new protected bike lane network was installed a few years ago:
A one-slide explanation of a bike boulevard
From Tucson’s Andy Bemis, here’s the best visual summary I’ve seen of a difficult-to-explain infrastructure type:
The safety case for bike boulevards
Bemis also compared the crash rates per bike-mile traveled on some of his city’s bike lanes to those on some of his city’s bike boulevards. The difference is striking:
Race, class and biking barriers
Jennifer Dill of Portland State University presented results from a brand new study that broke down 23 biking barriers by both race and income, revealing interesting differences between high-income and low-income white people and people of color.
Dill also shared this breakdown of barriers specifically to using bike share, comparing higher-income white people to lower-income people of color:
A simple, cheap design for interim walking space
Austin’s Laura Dierenfield joined a panel about “quick projects that make a difference,” sharing (among other projects) this imperfect but functional band-aid for a street that awaits a real sidewalk:
Chicago’s downtown connections
David Smith of the Chicago Department of Transportation shared this three-part sequence about the rapid progress in one of the country’s most consistently improving bike cities:
Digging beneath city-level Census data
Austin’s Nathan Wilkes walked participants through the methodology he used to make the case for one of the country’s biggest local investments in biking, including a groundbreaking way of comparing cities to one another independently of municipal boundaries. The same analysis showed how major biking progress in central Austin has been concealed inside Austin’s citywide Census figures:
These were only a taste of the dozens of presentations on offer last week, and of course many of the most interesting insights arrived in live conversation. For a less wonky (but more complete) sense of the conference, here’s a short video summary from documentarian Ryan Van Duzer:
PlacesForBikes helps U.S. communities build better biking, faster. You can follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook or sign up for our weekly news digest about building all-ages biking networks. Story tip? Write [email protected]es.org.