Wednesday, March 10, 2010

National Bike Summit - Julie's Update

Hi all -just a few minutes here to post before we head off for dinner. It has been a very long, but very energizing day in your nation's capital.

I tried to Twitter as much as possible today as I heard various interesting things during sessions. You can see those random thoughts by following @omahabikes on Twitter.

The day started out great with remarks from Earl Blumenauer. As somebody mentioned, "I might not be from Oregon, but as a cyclist, Blumenauer is my Congressman." He gets it, and he is one the key people leading the charge for many things near and dear to cyclists' hearts: complete streets, transportation, safe routes to school. The governor of Delaware spoke of campaigning on his bike and joining in Bike to Work day. It was also good to hear about the work being done by the Federal Transit Administration to make improvements that will help create a more multi-modal transportation system.

Google also made a big announcement today about their new bike mapping system: I've seen this blogged, tweeted, retweeted and emailed all over the place today, and I hope that means that many of you have already checked it out!

There were two reoccurring themes today: Livability and Sustainability. The Obama administration using these two themes as the lens through which they view policy, and they both fit perfectly with cycling.

The luncheon was a proud moment for the Nebraska Delegation. Andy Clarke, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists, announced the Bike Friendly Business awards. He said he wasn't going to take the time to mention every business by name, but he did want to recognize 3 distinct "clusters" of designees ... Omaha being one of those. He was very kind in his comments about Omaha and the work we are all doing, and I believe we were the city with the most awards given. When we had our photo taken with Andy, we told him to expect many more to come, at which point, we were challenged to beat out Milwaukee as the city with the most awards. It's ON.

It was great to connect with my Safe Routes to School colleagues today, and there are a couple of bills regarding this great program that we will be highlighting on our trip to the Hill tomorrow. The SRTS panel also included two 11 year old brothers who discussed their experience with biking to school. Advocates in action!

The day wrapped up with a strategy session of the Nebraska Delegation. We are ready to hit the offices of Lee Terry, Mike Johanns and Ben Nelson tomorrow. We are disappointed that we do not yet see any of their names as sponsors of any of the bills that we will be discussing with them tomorrow; hopefully we can convey the message that multi-modal transportation is good for health, economic development, safety and the environment.

So, off to dinner now. Let me close with a little name dropping. :) We've met and/or rubbed elbows with some really cool people, including John Burke (CEO of Trek Bicycles), and Gary Fisher (yes, THAT Gary Fisher - the one with his name on the mtb in your garage). We've also had a chance to reconnect with old friends from Bikes Belong, Trek, Safe Routes to School, and many others. Oh, and obviously Jonathan Maus, the "voice" behind the Bike Portland blog and twitter that we follow evidenced by our photo showing up in his blog coverage!

I'm sure Matt will also have a full report (and may have already beat me to it).

Pictures to upload soon and more updates and tweets tomorrow as we make our way around Capitol Hill!

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