PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project, a two year program to help U.S. cities build protected bike lanes, will be opening one of its most beneficial components to all U.S. cities next summer. For the first time, cities from across the country will be able to send delegations of civic and business leaders on intensive 5-day workshops that use the backdrop of world-class Dutch and Danish urbanism to frame conversations about how to transform streets back home.
Over the past five years, PeopleForBikes has brought more than 250 Americans from its Green Lane Project focus cities to Northern Europe, including politicians, business leaders, engineers, planners and community advocates, to open their eyes to the massive potential of bicycle transportation as a tool for city improvement. The multi-disciplinary tours bring small teams of public and private sector innovators to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Malmo, Sweden and other Dutch and Danish cities large and small that use protected bike lanes, bike paths and networks of low-stress side streets to make biking a normal, desirable part of everyday life. PeopleForBikes study tours emphasize the role of bicycling as a means to create great public spaces and vibrant cities.
“Anyone who’s interested in building a great city needs to come on this trip,” said Tami Door, CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership and a participant in a 2014 delegation to Denmark. “They need to experience what they’re reading about and hearing about. They need to get out and ride the bikes and talk to the people that are really making it happen.”
Participants of study tours will meet the professionals and civic leaders who have led these countries’ livability booms, often in the face of temporary public opposition, and helped create some of the most prosperous, egalitarian and beloved cities in the modern world.
“How would you paint a desert landscape if you’ve never left Rhode Island?” asks Zach Vanderkooy, who created the PeopleForBikes program in 2009 and has curated study tours for selected North American leaders over the last five years. “Understanding and experiencing some of the world’s most livable cities is inspiring, but that’s only part of the value. Study tours are rolling conversations about how to implement change on streets in America. It’s a powerful tool for cultivating the focus, vision and confidence necessary for a city to be effective at creating great streets and public spaces.”
The cost is $4,000 for each of four to 12 delegates, which covers all expenses from airplane to airplane. Included are five nights in single-occupancy hotel rooms, all meals, all ground transportation, course materials and professional guide services. Airfare is not included. PeopleForBikes and its European partners facilitate logistics, meetings with top European officials and transportation experts, hands-on site visits by bike, and tactical strategizing on how to implement the best ideas in the North American context.
PeopleForBikes study tours are designed for teams of cross-sector innovators, change agents and urban visionaries. Public sector staff and officials are typically the backbone of a delegation, along with leaders from the private, academic, institutional, non-profit and philanthropy sectors. Cities and regions must apply as a delegation of 4-12. Individuals are not eligible, with rare exceptions.
Applications for World-Class Cities 2015 tours will be open to about 100 participants from cities across the country. Interested cities should visit the PeopleForBikes website, and submit an application by Oct. 1, 2014 for the best chance to secure first choice dates. Applications will be accepted until all 100 spots are filled. A deposit will be due Dec. 1, 2014 in order to lock in dates.
“The surge of interest in protected bike lanes in cities and towns across the country is making city leaders, transportation departments and planners want to better understand and refine the way they are designing their streets,” said Martha Roskowski, vice president of local innovation for PeopleForBikes. “Green Lane Project study tours have been the most effective part of the program for catalyzing local progress. We’re excited to offer this tool to leading cities nationwide.”
Verde Brand Communications
Logo courtesy PeopleForBikes