Along with first-timers Freedom Valley event planner Jill Minick, Philadelphia Advocacy Consultant Sarah Clark Stuart, Delco Chair David Bennett and Walk Bike Berks founder Michele Barrett, veterans Hans, Alex, Fuji's Pat Cunnane and Yours Truly attended the entire three-day National Bike Summit.
Rep. Earl Blumenaur and House Transportation Chair James Oberstar led the Congressional charge with their uplifting speeches. No Floyd Landis, Linda Armstrong or Greg Lemond to wow the crowd but we got along with record attendance (500 participants).
This year's summit focused on laying the groundwork for the 2009 Transportation Reauthorization Bill (GREENTEA?). Sarah Clark Stuart attended the Rails to Trails 2010 campaign for active transportation session. The most exciting component of the campaign is the expansion of the non-motorized pilot program which injects $25 million dollars per community to upgrade bicycle and pedestrian networks and shift towards bicycling and walking. Currently four cities are involved and RTC plans to push this for more than 50 communities.
Two bills were introduced on Capitol Hill specific to bicycling before the Summit. In the Senate a Complete Streets Bill that will require Complete Streets Policies for all MPO's was introduced by Senator's Tom Harkin and Delaware's Tom Carper. Rep. Blumenaur has also put a resolution to the floor supporting the importance of bicycling. A Wheels For Wellness Bike Sharing Program was also announced at the AM Capitol Hill rally by Dan Beard, the Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Alex, John and Sarah attended a big cities bike coalition meeting to discuss common goals among our peers in cities such as San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Washington, DC Seattle and New York. Like BCGP, these organizations are well established and have respectable membership numbers. Discussion was preliminary but an urban bicycling agenda will be developed at conference in June of 2008.
The BCGP mobilized an impressive team on Capitol Hill Day, with representatives from all of our Pennsylvania districts and three of our New Jersey Districts gave us better coverage than ever. We were armed with leave behind sheets from the National Summit as well as local issues, such as the East Coast Greenway and Ben Franklin Bridge. We will be following up with each representative over the next few weeks.
The Bike Portland Blog provided full coverage of the 2008 Bike Summit
Finally as usual Sarah Clark Stuart took some excellent photos
Please consider joining us next year - it's the year of the transportation bill plus Washington DC's and Capitol Hill's Bike Sharing programs will be in full swing.
John Boyle, Advocacy Director