Few decisions are easier than deciding on who should be involved in a new Eugene area cycling news blog. WeBikeEugene contributors Shane Rhodes and Alexander Hongo were obvious choices. If any more evidence is needed other than their history of activism and participation, one must only look at their current news blogs.
This past Saturday was the 4th Annual Eugene Walking and Biking Summit. Hosted by the City of Eugene and supported by the City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), Eugene Safe Routes to School and Travel Lane County this years event was the kick-off of the cities Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan process. Besides having an input session for the plan there were also some great speakers, booths from area walking, biking, and healthy living organizations, and an Active Transportation Fashion Show.
The morning started with an Off the Waffle breakfast with DIY toppings and Full City Coffee provided by the City. Once caffeinated and fueled up participants heard some inspiring words from Bill Nesper, the League of American Bicyclists “Bicycle Friendly Communities” Director. He spoke about the BFC program and the importance of community involvement in raising a cities BFC rating. At the end of 2009 Eugene was moved up from the Silver Level rating it has had since the end of 2004 to the Gold Level. I think a good goal for us now would be to achieve the Platinum Level by the end of the next five years.
Bill handed the Gold Level signage over to Mayor Kitty Piercy who spoke on her hopes for our continued involvement and engagement to help us reach that Platinum Level as well. After Mayor Piercy, Ellen Vanderslice from the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition and the Project Manager for Portland’s current Bike Master Plan Update, spoke on the importance of a cities walkability and of planning for pedestrians. David Roth then introduced the kickoff for the Master Plan and the input sessions began after a break where participants could check out the nearly twenty booths from local vendors, advocacy groups, organizations, and City departments.
The input sessions were multi-faceted with inputs done by video recording, filling in the gaps on the cities bike/ped map, drawing out designs, talking about ideas, or simply filling out a comment card. The basic idea of the input session was to imagine that you moved away from Eugene for 20 years and when you returned you were amazed at the 50% of people who made their trips by active modes of transportation and even more amazed at all the infrastructure that was put in to make it the easy choice for people. What were those infrastructure changes that made that possible and how was it implemented?
After all the hard work of re-imagining a city it was time for a bit of fun! The summit was wrapped up with the second annual Active Transportation Fashion Show. The show highlighted local artisans, bike builders, manufacturers, and bike shops who have an amazing array of gear for getting people around the streets of Eugene. Lot’s of it was family friendly including kid carrying bikes, safety umbrellas, and hip clothes. For a full listing of the show including links to local bike shops, manufacturers, and artisans involved in the show check out the Active Transportation Fashion Show resource page.
The event was a great start to a very important plan that will help shape how we incorporate active transportation into our community for years to come and the idea that we can get that serious work done while also having some fun is a testament to the awesomeness of this town!
*Another review of the Summit can be found at “my messenger bag is bigger than your messenger bag“.