Friday, November 13, 2009

Cycling your brain (It really could use a bit of fresh air)

Have you noticed? Just about all of the planning and decision making in our underperforming, all too often dysfunctional sector is terribly familiar. Priorities are set, terms of references written up, responsibilities defined, teams created, schedules posted, instructions issued, tools identified and applied, observations made, meetings arranged, reports written, recommendations communicated and the whole process grinds ahead to its inevitable destination – more often than not, bingo: old mobility! But if you look closely, the very mechanism, the process, is pretty much the same we were seeing back in the middle of the last century when we were planning and implementing many of the messes we now find ourselves in. Hmm.

So the moral of the story is that we need to take some very different approaches to identifying and then to starting to resolve the most pressing of our problems.

There are some out there, fortunately, and here is one you might wish to spend at least a few minutes with. They call it the NewMasterdam Bike Slam, and back in mid August as it was forming up we announced it here .

Well the Slam has been run, and the ocean spanning organizers have just completed a small illustrated booklet that sets out some of the process, as well as some of the recommendations they came up with. Here is more on that, together with the link so that you can review their results.

Their announcement, just in today:

Booklet on the New Amsterdam Bike Slam
While the Bike Slam teams were hard at work, leading experts from urban planning and design, transportation policy, cultural anthropology, and advocacy gathered on September 11 at the Center for Architecture to discuss “Global Trends in Sustainable Transportation Policy,” especially as they pertain to New York City.

Throughout the day, the primarily American audience was treated to perspectives from a multitude of exceptional speakers who offered opinions wide and varied, including how Dutch cities integrate economic benefits with the planning of space; population groups who are harbingers for significant mode shift (women and elderly); and the strong connections between growing cycling and lowering carbon emissions. Perhaps most inspiring is the consistent theme that benchmarks are not indications for achievement and mark the end of the project, but are markers for improvements and going further.

Special guests of the day included Christopher Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Janette Sadik- Khan, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner.

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Download the booklet here. -

Keep on peddling. It will only do you good.

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