Velo-city Global 2012 Interview – Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson

Gregor Robertson

Vancouver Mayor

Q: How might Vancouver benefit from hosting Velo-city Global 2012?

Velo-city is an excellent opportunity to showcase many of Vancouver’s world-leading green initiatives, from our extraordinary 14-mile (22-kilometer) seawall bikeway, to green buildings and neighborhoods. We also want to highlight Vancouver’s focus on being a world center for the green economy.

Q: What topics will you address in your presentation?

I plan to speak about my experience as mayor and the politics, challenges and opportunities of building cycling infrastructure in Vancouver and forward-looking cities around the world. It’s important that cities share best practices as we approach the same challenge of trying to encourage a major shift in cycling and more sustainable transportation choices.

Q: How can city officials encourage cycling?

We need to focus both on building effective infrastructure and on measures to enhance cyclists’ safety. In my first year as mayor, we doubled city funding for cycling infrastructure to improve busy bike routes and we also established three new separated bike lanes in our downtown. These new lanes made riding safer and faster, and attracted many new cyclists. We’ve also expanded our efforts to raise awareness and respect between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to ensure our roads are safer for everyone.

Want More?

Visit our Countdown to Velo-city 2012 blog: momentummag.com/blogs/bike-advocacy

Originally published in the May/ June 2012 issue of Momentum Magazine and on momentummag.com.

Velo-city Global 2012 Interview – Technical and Environmental Mayor of Copenhagen Ayfer Baykal

Ayfer Baykal

Technical & environmental Mayor of Copenhagen

Q: What topics will you address in your presentation?

My presentation is about a brand new cycle initiative for 16 municipalities, including Copenhagen and the capital region of Denmark, that involves creating a high-class network of routes for cycle commuters. We call it the Cycle Super Highway Network. The final network will consist of at least 186 miles (300 kilometers) of high-class cycle routes where services for cyclists and modern intelligent traffic solutions are integrated. The first route, which will be a pilot route, will open in the spring of 2012, and the other two routes coming down the pipeline will open in late 2012. I think it will show all kinds of cycle-friendly cities and regions how possible it is to integrate a system like this that links the suburbs to the city center.

Q: What is the path ahead for cycling in North America?

There is an increasing trend towards more urban cycling, and I am sure that you guys will catch up with European cities eventually. It will not be in this decade, but, in many cities in North America, the bike is simply the quickest, healthiest and easiest mode of transport. I believe that politicians and citizens will soon realize that cycling already is playing a vital role in tackling the global problems of congestion, obesity and climate change.

Q: How can city officials encourage cycling?

There is broad consensus among experts about the starting point for creating new cyclists: It must be easy and safe to ride your bike. Bicycle-friendly infrastructure is crucial for making the bicycle a real alternative to the car. But asphalt and stripes are not enough. There is also the bike X-factor that lies in the sensual and bodily aspects and the actual bike experience – when you stop your bike, meet someone you know, feel the sun’s heat on your face or notice how the ride gives you joy and energy. This experience is the bonus that keeps people in the saddle.

Want More?

Visit our Countdown to Velo-city 2012 blog: momentummag.com/blogs/bike-advocacy

Originally published in the May/ June 2012 issue of Momentum Magazine and on momentummag.com.

Countdown to Velo-city 2012: Velo Village

Only two months remain until Velo-city Global 2012, which will take place in Vancouver, BC, from June 26-29, 2012.

In the lead-up to the conference, delegates can also participate in Velo Village on Salt Spring Island between June 21 and 23.

There will be fun, games and knowledge exchange. In addition to bicycle-themed performances, art exhibits, workshops and a 100-meter bicycle-only ferry … [there will also be] a one-day conference focused on cycling and rural mobility.

Read more about past Salt Spring Island bicycling events here.

Velo-city Global presents a unique opportunity to connect and learn from cycling experts from around the world who have transformed their communities into places where people of all ages can safely cycle. View the draft program here.

There are also some great events before the conference including Velo-Talk and Hub‘s (formerly the VACC) advocacy workshop on June 25.

Early bird registration rates have been extended to April 30. Visit velo-city2012.com/registration to secure your spot now.

Check back to the Countdown to Velo-city 2012 blog each week for updates on the conference, its speakers and the people on the attendance list.

Originally published on momentummag.com.

Countdown to Velo-city 2012: Program Released and Ayfer Baykal Q and A

By Sarah Ripplinger

City of Copenhagen technical and environmental mayor, Ayfer Baykal.

The program overview for the upcoming Velo-city Global bicycle planning conference is now live. You can view it on the Velo-city Global website here.

One of the most notable advantages of attending a cycling planning conference of this caliber is having access to some of the greatest minds in cycling policy and planning the world has to offer. One such expert is the technical and environmental mayor of Copenhagen, Ayfer Baykal.

In the following Q and A, Baykal shares her passion for how cycling policy and policymakers will help to shape cities of the future and why Velo-city Global in Vancouver, BC, will be the place to be come June 26, 2012.

1) What aspect(s) of the first North American edition of Velo-city Global are you the most excited about?

I am amazed by the willpower to change North American cities to become more cycle-friendly. And the pace of constructing bike lanes inspires me a lot. I wish other cities could be as effective as cities like New York.

2) What are you looking forward to seeing and experiencing in Vancouver?

I have never been to Vancouver before, but of course I am looking forward to experiencing a great modern city placed right next to a dramatic natural wilderness. Besides that, I have heard so many good things about Canadian hospitality. I am looking forward to meeting people in the street and seeing how they enjoy the city on two wheels.

3) What is your impression of the Velo-city Global 2012 conference so far?

I have the impression that everybody is very excited and counting down the days until the conference starts. It also convinces me that Velo-city Global 2012 in Vancouver is the place to be if you want to see what future cities will look like and how green mobility will have great influence on green growth and livability.

4) Why are these types of conferences important?

This Velo-city Global is my first, but I know from the former mayors that the conference will be bringing together cycling experts, professionals and urban trendsetters from all over the world. This will generate lots of good ideas and discussions about how to build and develop a better cycle-friendly city.

5) Why should people attend Velo-city Global 2012 in Vancouver?

Because it is an amazing opportunity to meet cycle experts and trendsetters from all over the world. These are the people who are changing the world into a better place to live every day.

6) Any other thoughts?

I am just looking forward to joining the conference and meeting all the good people there – and of course to experience the beautiful City of Vancouver.

Pick up the May/ June 2012 issue of Momentum Magazine or view our digital edition to find out what topics Baykal will address in her presentation, what she sees as the path ahead for cycling in North America and how city officials can encourage cycling.  

Velo-city Global 2012 is expected to host over 1,000 delegates from around the world. The conference will be held June 26 -29 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Center Hotel, accessible by the new Hornby Street separated bike lanes.

Early bird registration rates have been extended to April 30. Visit velo-city2012.com/registration to secure your spot now.

Check back to the Countdown to Velo-city 2012 blog each week for updates on the conference, its speakers and the people on the attendance list.

Originally published on momentummag.com.

Countdown to Velo-city 2012 – Early Bird Rates Extended

Velo-city Global 2012 is extending its early registration deadline until April 30, 2012. This is good news for the numerous delegates who have contacted Velo-city Global 2012 to say they are awaiting approval on travel requests and funding.

In other news, an update on the European Cyclists’ Federation website, ECF communications assistant Amanda Winter explains why it can be counterintuitive to use the admirable biking track record of some European countries to discount the slow progress of improvements to cycling mode share in North America:

Any article containing “North America,” “Europe” and “cycling” will largely conclude in a comparison to show Europe’s utopian cycling atmosphere versus North America’s lack thereof. This article will not propose this, mainly because 1. Each city has its own recipe; there is not one common urban planning rule book or cookie cutter approach for all. 2. As the environment does not function around national borders; we are all in this global green fight together, the time is now to cooperate and learn from each other.

Maybe we should think of Europe and North America differently, like North America is Europe’s little sister, younger, more careless, the kind that steals your favorite clothes and eats the last cookie without offering it to you. They like taking the easy way out and changing their behavior is extremely difficult, unless ‘all the cool kids are doing it.’ Let’s be that annoyingly functional family and inspire each other. Let’s have a family meal and share our recipes. Velo-city Global takes inspirational people at an international level, creating a global family not only to help you reach your goals, but to set new ones and step out of your box, try something on the menu you never tried before.

As humbling as it may be to think of North American cities as the younger siblings of more mature European locales, it’s useful to take into account the amount of “growing up” North America needs to do before more people will be willing to jump onto the saddle.

Separated bike lanes are a key piece of infrastructure that, once established, tend to boost cycling numbers significantly. A League of American Bicyclists report notes that:

Cities in the US, like Portland, OR, have been able to increase their mode-share by building a complete network of facilities and encouraging urban density. The results of a study of 33 large US cities, (excluding New York City, which is considered an outlier in much transportation research because of its size and high use of public transportation) showed that each additional mile of bicycle lane is associated with an approximate one-percent increase in the share of bike-to-work trips.

In this case, as in life, growing up has its benefits.

Velo-city Global 2012 is expected to host over 1,000 delegates from around the world. The conference will be held June 26 -29 at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Center Hotel, accessible by the new Hornby Street separated bike lane.

Originally published on momentummag.com.