In case you missed them.
New York Transportation Chief Defends Bike Lanes
Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City’s transportation commissioner, looked out at several hundred bicyclists gathered here on Wednesday morning and allowed herself a smile.
“It is wonderful to be here,” she said, “with so many friends.”
The past few days have not been easy for Ms. Sadik-Khan. A lawsuit filed on Monday accused her agency of misleading the public about a bicycle lane on Prospect Park West; last week, she withdrew a proposal to install a pedestrian plaza on 34th Street in Manhattan that had been attacked by neighborhood activists (and tabloid columnists).
But on Wednesday, in an appearance scheduled months in advance, Ms. Sadik-Khan spoke in front of a more supportive crowd: the National Bike Summit, an annual gathering put on by the League of American Bicyclists, an advocacy group. The buzz around the hotel ballroom was that Ms. Sadik-Khan — described by attendees as innovative, inspirational and a role model — was not a speaker to miss.
Bicycle advocates lobby Congress with jobs pitch
For example, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) will learn that his district is home to 51 stores that sell bikes and that those stores grossed more than $20 million in 2009. Bikes, he’ll be told, are sold by small-business owners, and those sales create jobs.
And, by the way, if you’re looking to develop transportation alternatives in these tight times, bike paths and bike lanes are a whole lot less expensive than new highways and commuter rail lines.
With mountains of debt being circled by budget hawks on the Hill, preaching the bike gospel of good health benefits and a green alternative to carbon-belching autos seems so 2007.
In 2011, bikes are small business and cheap transportation.
The hundreds of bike advocates encamped at the Grand Hyatt for the National Bike Summit have been armed with fact sheets for their foray to the Capitol. Just like Sarbanes, members will be told precisely how many stores sell bikes in their districts and how much their constituents spend on two-wheelers.
The 2011 National Bike Summit in Washington D.C.
It has already been a year since the last National Bike Summit, and this year’s edition is starting today in Washington DC at the Grand Hyatt. The organizers write: “There are more people riding bikes than ever. Yet half of all U.S. trips are three miles or less, and more than 90 percent are made by car. The National Bike Summit has improved bicycle-friendliness and livability in many communities, but the need and opportunity to improve physical activity, safety and livability in the U.S., while reducing congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on oil – remains greater today than a decade ago. These issues seem difficult to solve but the answer is simple. The answer is the bicycle. “
National Bike Summit 2011: A Simple Solution
“We are very fortunate that, in these hard economic times, the President knows the economic importance of investing in transportation,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, blogging in advance of his opening presentation at the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit, March 8-10, 2011 inWashington, D.C. LaHood is the first of many impressive speakers at the Summit, from Janette Sadik-Khan (commissioner of the NYC Department of Transportation) and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to Robin Schepper, Executive Director ofMichelle Obama‘s Let’s Move Campaign.
“Summit attendees will be reminding their representatives about the direct value of enhancements, safe routes, recreational trails and other Federally-funded projects,” said League President Andy Clarke. “More than 700 cycling advocates, supporters and industry executives are coming to D.C. to emphasize the importance of bicycling to new and current members of Congress. Bicycling offers an excellent return on Federal investment, in terms of jobs, economic growth, and a healthier America.”
Each year, the League of American Bicyclists orchestrates a convergence of hundreds of bike advocates from across the country. For three days we network with other grassroots leaders, learn about federal transportation issues and deliver our bike-partisan message directly to our members of Congress.
League Policy Director
Flusche joined the League in April 2009 and has a B.A. in history from Syracuse University and a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in public policy analysis from New York University.