It’s been a long few weeks. As mentioned in my last post, I was honored by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals to be a finalist in their poster competition. Between the generosity of APBP, WOBO, and my own department at Berkeley, I was able to attend the APBP Professional Development Seminar in Charlotte, North Carolina.
How did it go?
This was by far my longest trip to North Carolina, and my only time in a North Carolinian city. You don’t get to host the APBP conference without some excellent ped/bike infrastructure, and the city definitely looked like it was trying. In particular, I loved the checkered crosswalks near the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
I also snapped a photo of this sign by a crosswalk. Call in to get a pre-recorded bit of history? Pretty clever!
I heard there were far more interesting tidbits on the various APBP-hosted walking and biking tours. Key lesson learned – when a pedestrian advocacy organization invites you for a walk, go with them!
The conference had some highlights, too. The attendees seemed to be almost entirely city staff in beleaguered and broke cities, excited to take back ideas to their communities. My poster on parklets was a big hit at the poster session.
The sessions were well organized and brought some big names, but maybe my land use class at Berkeley has already started drawing me away from bike/ped transportation projects. It was good to learn more about the LEED Neighborhood Development certification, but I felt like a buzzkill for asking if they collected data on the affordability of LEED-ND homes (short answer: “ummm… no”).
I was a bit taken aback in a session on complete streets how few people were from communities with complete streets (including me!). Without best practices of our own to share, we started talking about places we’d visited on vacation. Then someone said the magic words: my community is near a major city, and we’re struggling to keep up with the growth. Bam! I realized that Oakland wasn’t the story I needed to tell this group, so I explained Newton County, Georgia’s Comprehensive Development Plan (putting 88% of growth and all new infrastructure in compact communities on just 30% of the land). Between that and the open source permit, application and guidelines for San Francisco’s parklets, I made a few friends.
Here’s a small version of my enormous 3′x8′ poster.