It’s been a literal whirlwind of a week in Washington DC. Amid several inches of snowfall and high winds, the brightest minds and leaders of the national bicycle movement converged to advance efforts towards a more bicycle friendly America.
Day One – Women Bike
The week kicked off with the third annual Women’s Bicycling Forum. Everyone came together to address the gender gap in the bicycle world. With amazing speakers from government, advocacy, industry and culture, the forum had one goal – getting more women on bicycles.
There is great leadership from women in the bicycle world and amazing progress has/is being made towards the common goal of encouraging more female leadership in the bicycle world and even more women out riding! Follow the progress from Women Bike and the forum on their Twitter feed below.
Day Two – Presentations
It was an early start to a day full of presentations and speakers who are doing amazing things to promote bicycles across the country. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Texas Senator Rodney Ellis (TX), and Pittsburgh Mayor, Bill Peduto were all present to fire up the crowd in the early morning opener.
Anthony Foxx is in his first year as Transportation Secretary, and filling the shoes of former Secretary Ray LaHood is something he is proud to do. LaHood has long been an ally in the administration, being very vocal about his support for biking and walking, lucky for us, Anthony Foxx continues to carry that torch.
On the new $302 billion dollar transportation proposal released that same day:
“We made sure that this plan increases resources to step up bicycle and pedestrian programs and the resources we need for our public transit systems, which are so important to people who walk and ride bicycles… I’ve made investing in bicycles and pedestrians a priority in the president’s plan… We need to make sure Congress acts on this plan.”
We’re looking forward to working with Secretary Foxx in the future, and thank him for his continued support of biking and walking as key components of our country’s infrastructure. Read more from Foxx’s appearance at the Summit on the Bike League’s blog.
After Foxx, we heard from Douglas Meyer on a study conducted on the perspectives of mayors on bicycles. Interviews with 40 mayors from across the country revealed that”Everyone is bought in and support is increasing” for biking and walking. This is true for cities of all sizes where mayor after mayor said that those who oppose bicycle infrastructure are now in the minority.
Quality of life was often cited as a main reason for support bicycle projects. Economic development is also closely related to quality of life issues, and bicycle infrastructure has shown to be an incredible opportunity to attract young talent and businesses to cities of all sizes.
One of Meyer’s best lines from his talk is something we believe at the Bicycle Coalition as well:
“If you have a One Less Car t-shirt, burn it. Anything anti-car adds fuel to a fire you don’t want to stoke.”
You can view his presentation below, and read some fascinating takeaways from his presentation on the on the Bike League’s blog.
Day 3 – Advocacy Day on the Hill
It was a warmer day than last, making for much easier trekking on Capitol Hill for our annual advocacy day. We had a meeting set with local representative Lois Capps (D-CA, 24th District) who has long been a supporter of better biking and walking on the Central Coast.
The common “ask” all of the advocates were making on the Hill was simple:
- Co-sponsor the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act (HR3494 and S1708)
- Co-sponsor the Safe Streets Act (HR3978)
- Co-sponsor the New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act (HR2468 and S2004)
We have a great supporter in Lois Capps, who agreed to the first two and will be paying us a visit here in SLO County later this year, where we hope to highlight some of the new projects on the horizon. Read specifics about these bills and the collective ask from the Summit on the Bike League’s blog.
After meeting with Capps and a few other leaders from across the country to drop off information to their offices, we wrapped up another successful advocacy day with a reception on the Hill to celebrate our hard work! That’s all for 2014, cheers to a bright year ahead and to next year’s trip to Washington DC!