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NACTO’s “Cities for Cycling”

"Cities for Cycling" is a project of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) to document, promote and implement the world’s best bicycle transportation practices in U.S. cities.

In this Streetfilm you'll see how a typical visit can inspire, enlighten and energize city leaders & advocates.  During bike month, experts from the transportation departments of NYC (Jon Orcutt), Portland (Roger Geller) and San Francisco (Timothy Papandreou) came to Boston to talk about bike infrastructure in their cities and how they accomplished innovative change to their streetscapes.  Thru public presentations, private meetings with city officials, and bike ride audits, the "Cities for Cycling" road show is poised to be an informative, powerful tool for governments.

In addition, NACTO is in the process of developing a dynamic on-line Urban Bikeway Design Guide which will showcase the engineering techniques being deployed by NACTO members to make bicycling safer, more comfortable and more convenient. This guide is due to be released later this year, but they already are hosting many useful resources for bike planners.


Jon Orcutt [00:03] Well I’m here in my hometown of Boston representing the New York City DOT. And I’m here with my colleagues and counterparts from Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, really talking about bicycle policy and the bicycle improvements that we’ve implemented in our cities over the last few years. We did a public presentation last night, about a hundred people came, and I think it was really well received.


Eric Gilliland: [00:23] The events highlighted some of the some of the best bicycle transportation planning that’s taking place in the US. Portland, Oregon, New York City, San Francisco are all on the cutting edge and are really examples that other cities can follow.


Damon Curtis: [00:35] It was interesting because we got a nice perspective. We had a lot of students there, a lot of young people who were eager to get involved and understand where their place might be in this new movement of bicycling that we have across the country, so it was encouraging.


Jackie Douglas: [00:50] The Cities for Cycling event was fabulous last night. It’s a chance to hear about what’s happening around the country.


Jonathan Simmons: [00:55] I’ve probably been at ten presentations in my life that I think about and that still affect my practice today. Last night was… I have to put into one of those ten, it was amazing and I feel like I’ve fast forward the video of Boston to show us what the future can be like, and it was incredible.


Roger Gellar: [01:13] We want to get the information out there. So cities around the country, maybe they hear a little bit about what different cities are doing, maybe they’ve heard a little bit about the innovation, but they don’t have good design, their engineers don’t really know what we’re doing, and so Cities for Cycling is really a way to share that information.


Eric Gilliland: [01:26] Part of the Cities for Cycling program is an urban bikeway design guide that takes best practices not only from the US but from around the world, puts them into one place that’s easily accessible, so city transportation officials, elected officials, advocates, can really have something in one book that shows the best in bikeway planning and how they can make their city a great place to bike.


Roger Gellar: [01:46] Put it down on paper, put it on the web, make it available to planners, make it available to traffic engineers all around the country, and put a little pressure on the Federal Government, right, because we need to be able to use Federal dollars if we’re going to build these bikeway networks in our urban areas. And when we get the Federal dollars, we want to make sure we’re building the best possible designs.


Jonathan Simmons: [02:08] A bunch of us from the NACTO’s Cities rode in this morning in our nice suits, we all looked great. The people in Boston, the cyclists were fantastic, the ride was really fun, it’s a great turnout here on a beautiful day.


Timothy Papandreou: [02:18] This is like the first steps, you’re getting everybody out to ride their bicycles, get the whole point out there, bicycling is an everyday active transportation exercise, and that people can enjoy themselves and have fun. And here we are, we’ve reduced our carbon footprints and we’ve also reduced traffic congestion, improved air quality. So what a win-win for everybody.


Damon Curtis: [02:35] I think it’s a wonderful thing, you know. We’re embarking on this little road show, this is the first stop. We’re, you know, showcasing the innovative bicycle treatments that are in place around the country and we’ve got all the greatest minds here.


Nicole Freedman: [02:47] What we want to do is get your input on some things we’re thinking about, so really bringing the best minds together. Today we’re going to take a tour of Boston’s newest bike facilities with some officials from NACTO’s Cities for Cycling. You know I looked at all the expertise in the room and it was just powerful. I mean there was so many very, very smart, very, very experienced bike planners, and together the group really can change the country.


Jon Orcutt: [03:16] We were invited by the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Transportation here in Boston to hear about what we’re doing, to hear about our network plans, our street designs, because Boston wants to big boot strap up and become, you know, one of the emerging bike friendly cities in the country. You know we’re planning more of these in the Fall, we’ll be in Baltimore, Philadelphia and perhaps out in the middle of the country in the West Coast before the end of the year.

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Clarence Eckerson, Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • Larry Littlefield

    This really is the moment for cycling as transportation. It's the only thing getting better.

    Autos are running out of oil, and with both those who build them and those who operate them earning more in wages and benefits than those who pay for them, transit systems are running out of money. With a general fiscal crisis, elected officials will, for the most part, spend the next decade handing out tax increases and reductions in services and benefits. Hardly the stuff of a re-election campaign.

    But cycling infrastructure, and the purchase and operation of the bicycles themselves, is so cheap that there is no reason for a recession to stop it. All that it requires is a modest reallocation of the existing space. It's the only good news local governments will be in a position to create for some time.

  • cycler

    I'm really bummed that I had to miss the panel discussion during bike week- had a work event I couldn't miss.  It sounds like it was a great event, Anyone know of raw video footage of the panel discussion?

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/bicyclesonly/ BicyclesOnly

    As Fidel would say, "export the revolution"!

  • Nice job

    Great! the ASHTO guidebook needed to be tossed 15 years ago.

  • Supp Suppinger

    Please, keep in mind, that bicycles are a mode of transportation and therefore should be located on the street. Don´t make the mistake to take space from pedestrians and do not place bikelanes on side walks, because pedestians use to have the least space. Put bike lanes on the streets! Thanks.

  • Kevin Lilly

    I have a great idea!  Why don't you stop in just a few small, (but receptive!) towns on your tour of the major cities? You just might spark an "anytown USA" movement that will take root!!!
    I volunteer my town, Moscow, Idaho, pop 23K, the prettiest little place you ever saw!
    Stop in for a presentation to the City Council! I will treat you to a fine meal at my daughter's American-Peruvian fusion restaurant, and you can get a good nights rest on your way to Portland or Seattle or home!