It’s been a busy week-plus, and there are so many topics I have wanted to blog about, but just haven’t had the time. And now I wonder if there is any point in going back, so I guess I’ll touch on the highlights.
At work, we have been crazy-busy getting ready for National Walk @ Lunch Day, April 24th. Walk @ Lunch Day is a Blue Cross Blue Shield event that we promoted to our employer clients last year, with about 200 total participants. This year we decided to add pit stops, places where walking teams could stop during their walks, and somehow the number of participants has grown to over 800! We could blame it on the goodie bags, but we gave those out last year as well. We can’t even blame it on our awesome video, but I’d like to, so here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrVXbyerOpc Isn’t it great?!
Last week was all about TDM – The Association for Commuter Transportation’s (ACT, aka my national association) Leadership Academy for two days (learning how to be a leader can be a bit intimidating!); ACT’s Legislative Summit, where we learned about transportation legislation, and talked to our representatives on the Hill about the importance of transit parity and TDM (and how cheap it is compared to building new roads!); then the local chapter of aforementioned association held a one-day summit, where I presented about transportation alternatives in emergency planning. At the last minute I stepped in to moderate another panel. Whew! That’s a lot of talk about how to get people to change their car-dependent ways!
As much as I want to share the picture of me in the Model A, well, I was a teen, and look pretty dorky. I’m just not sure I can… It was cool to see all the Brooks saddles, and bags, and coats, and other accessories, even my favorite GiveLoveCycle being sold in the shop. We had Hendricks Gin punch, and The Mechanic bought Bike Snob‘s new book, Bike Snob Abroad (which, I might add, he’s already finished!), but managed to leave without realizing we’d miss out on Bike Snob’s presentation. Oops. Damn. I comfort myself with the knowledge that we’ve been slandered on his blogpost. At least, the back of our heads have been….
Biking through DC, fashionable and reflective though I was, made me think about the keynote speaker from last week’s summit, Jeff Speck. He is a city planner and his most recent book is about walkability, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time. I definitely agree that making cities walkable will make them better for us all – even though I bike everywhere, I still walk just as much, and feel way more vulnerable as a pedestrian than as a cyclist. Drivers in cars pay less attention to people on foot than on two weeks. I did notice that most of Speck’s examples of innovative, redesigned cities still had the bike lanes on the outside of the parked cars. I hate to harp on Copenhagen, but it felt so much safer to have the bike lane next to the sidewalk, and to have buses and cars physically separated by the raised lane.
Someday, when I live in Copenhagen, I may look back on this as naivete but I really hope American cities move towards this. I think that as active transportation and health issues move closer and closer together (walking at lunch is fun AND healthy, an cities should promote it more!), we will see more interest in connecting areas, not just cool downtown areas, but neighborhoods were people can walk to grocery stores and coffee shops, and to see each other, to make our lives better all around.