Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Under Construction

Hi All. Just wanted to let you know that I have been trying out some new features here on this blog, and I would be interested in your feedback. I've added a widget that displays recent popular posts, the ability to follow via email and I've officially claimed authorship of this blog. For the last three years I've written under a not-to-hard-to-infer nickname. With updates to the behind-the-scene aspects of the way the blog works, my personal and professional persona have collided. I'm still working on how this blog flows with Google+, so hang with me if some aspects disappear or reappear in odd places. It's a re-design in process! Your insights and wisdom are welcome

(In particular, I'm interested in knowing if the search option is working. And, if it's not, any insights on how to fix it?)

And in case the season slips by me, I wanted to wish Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours, however, with whomever and whenever you celebrate. Whether you arrive by car, bus, bike or plane, wishing you all the best!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

BITU's Third Anniversary

Three Years. This blog on this little corner of the internet started just three years ago, and I had no idea where this journey would lead. Starting out I was bicycle advocate and trained planner recently moved from the Midwest – Madison, WI specifically. I had hailed from the land of bicycle-friendly streets, businesses, and culture. Inspired by my personal and professional experience, I wanted to a place to explore what biking in the Upstate meant. Three years later this blog is still going strong, and I’ve had some great opportunities to meet some great people and further the development of bike facilities in the Upstate.

The journey has been fun, and it’s been great to have you along the way. It’s important to note that the number of communities, activities and events supporting bike riding has increased over the last several years. Some may point to the success of the City of Greenville’s Master BikePlan as the kick-off for bike-related successes in the Upstate. With the development of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a number of bicycle-related businesses and programs, it would be hard to disagree. And this kind of success is spreading with the continued planning efforts for the Doodle Line Trail that would run between the cities of Pickens and Easley. What other routes could connect communities like Seneca, Walhalla, Anderson and Pelzer? What other entrepreneurs will be inspired to start their own business related to bicycles? 

I hope that you’ll continue to join me in the months to come and enjoy this pedal-powered journey.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bicycles at a Parking Conference

Earlier this fall, I presented at the Carolinas Parking Association annual conference. Invited to present by Clemson University's Parking and Transportation Director on the Clemson University Bikeways Master Plan and related successes from its implementation, I was excited to present to an audience that was knowledgeable about transportation issues. Attendees included parking directors, consultants, government leaders, parking enforcement professionals and vendors. With the conference focused on multi-modal transportation issues, it was a great opportunity to make a connection between parking and biking.

During my presentation, I talked about the development of the university bike plan and some related successes like the installation of a bike repair station and the installations of several miles of bikeways on the campus. However, to really connect with this group, I thought it was important to focus on the connection between bicycles and parking, and why supporting bicycle facility improvements matters to parking professionals.

Providing facilities for bicycle riders is one way to help solve the parking problem in cities, neighborhoods and campuses across the country. When people arrive at a destination, they are looking for a safe, secure, convenient parking spot for their bike, just like when they drive a car. By supporting the development of bicycle facilities (bike lanes, paths, cyclepaths and shared roads) and investing in bike parking, people are more likely to ride their bike. More people on bikes means that there are fewer in cars. Sharing this bicycle-parking connection with the audience was important.

A good foundation for my presentation was made early on in the conference. One of the keynote speakers talked about the International Parking Institute's 2013 International Parking Survey. The survey was based on answers from parking professionals from 21 countries, and revealed the top issues that parking professionals are facing. One of the most important issues that the survey revealed was that sustainability is an industry focus around the world. Biking was specifically mentioned as a way to address alternative parking solutions and to take note that folks are using it as a real, legitimate form of transportation (meaning that it's here to stay), especially with our international neighbors. I was excited to see that supporting and addressing the needs of the bicycle riding community was recognized at the international level. 

Last year I presented to a bicycle-centered group at the Georgia-Lina Bike Summit. Having an opportunity to talk about the connection between bicycle and parking to some colleagues in a related field was fun and important. Broadening their perspective and having an opportunity to answer their questions was an important step in continuing the dialogue about why bikes matter. I was a great time, and I look forward to more future opportunities.