2013 National Bike Summit

Posted by Shayne Trimbell March 14, 2013

Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA-06) took time out of a Ways and Means Committee hearing to meet with Shayne Trimbell and Joe Lison

Every year in March, bicycle advocates from across the nation converge in Washington D.C. for the National Bike Summit.  The summit is hosted by the League of American Bicyclists and is an opportunity to learn about the newest programs and developments in bicycle advocacy.  This year, the focus was on the business impact of bicycling.

Summit attendees were greeted with opening remarks from Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).  Blumenauer has been a long time supporter of bicycle transportation, and for a long time, was the only vocal member of congress on this issue.  He spoke of the positivity that bicyclists bring to Washington and that the issue of bicyclist safety and mobility is non-partisan and should be easier to find support in D.C.  Indianapolis Mayor Greg Bollard spoke about the great improvements that his city has made to implement bicycle infrastructure.  They have added bike lanes, bike paths, bike parking, and a bike station with showers at city hall.  The improvements have all been done as part of an effort to help the city attract a younger workforce who places a high value on active transportation.  Representative Tom Petri (R-WI) and Senator Tom Cardin (D-MD) spoke, thanking the group for their tireless work to build better bicycling communities.

During a breakout session, a panel comprised of real estate developers presented a persuasive case for including the bicycle in development plans.  Chris Leinberger of LOCUS and Brookings Institute spoke about the growing demand for walkable urban places (WalkUPS).  In 2001, vehicle miles traveled by Millenials (those born between 1980 and 2000) peaked, and has been declining since.  Developers are taking note, and the more savvy investors are building walkable communities in urban environments.  Aaron Georgelas of the Georgelas Group followed up with a compelling presentation of the developments planned for Tysons Corner, VA.  What was once a sprawling suburban office and shopping complex is being redeveloped into a walkable, urban center.  The Georglas Group is developing 7.5 million square feet of mixed residential, retail, office, and commercial space adjacent to the Metro stop at Tysons West.  The development was built with the pedestrian and bicyclist first, and the automobile second.  The new road network includes bike lanes, wide sidewalks, and block lengths appropriate to a pedestrian.  Each building has ample bicycle parking, and some include shower facilities for bikers.  This is all in response to the changing demographic that places a high priority on alternative modes of transportation.

The highlight of the National Bike Summit is Lobby Day on Capitol Hill.  Attendees take to the hill wearing brightly colored bicycle pins and carrying packets chock-full of bicycle advocacy stats to meet with their members of congress.  GVF Manager of Projects and Development met with Congressman Jim Gerlach and requested his support for a national safety performance measure for bicyclists.  Meetings also took place with staffers from Senator Bob Casey and Senator Pat Toomey offices.  After the meeting, GVF was notified that Congressman Gerlach signed a letter addressed to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood requesting the US DOT implement safety performance measures.