Posted by: bikenwalk | November 14, 2008

Common Grounds Seminar: Bikeability panel

After our guest speaker for the Voorhees Transportation Center’s Common Grounds Bikeability Seminar, discussed in yesterday’s post, there was a Q&A session with three notable figures in bicycling and public policy in New Jersey. The panelists were Jerry Fired, Recently elected Mayor of Montclair Township and avid cyclist, Liza Betz, Planner for Union County, and Micahel Dannemiller, NJ-East Cost Greenway volunteer and Senior Planner for the RBA group. Each member of the pannel brought very interesting information and opinions to the table. Here is a brief summary of each panelists talking points.

Jerry Fried got involved in politics through his organization, Bike Montclair. He shared with us how he sees biking as a way to create a more intimate community within his township. Mayor Fried shared some of his ideas for promoting bicycling, such as a Township wide bike day in early spring, making biking less intimidating by avoiding spandex (something in direct conflict with me and my wardrobe, but a good idea), and a a scavenger hunt throughout town pitting car vs. bike (showing township members can get around town much faster on a bike).

Liza Betz is a planner for Union County and took us through the steps her department has taken to increase bikeability in Union County. One major focus of her talk was creating an extensive bike map for Union County residents so that they have a way of knowing what bike routes are safe, as well as what bike routes and improvements will be made in the future.

Michael Dannemiller primarily discussed the completion and NJ-NY connection of the East Coast Greenway (ECG), a trail running from Maine to Florida. Michael talked about all the improvements to the ECG, and how supportive the local and NJ state government organizations have been of the ECG, building a multimillion dollar bridge to connect the ECG over a major highway.

After leaving the Common Grounds Seminar, I felt optimistic about the future of cycling in New Jersey. With the passion, motivation, and skill of the presenters and attendees of the seminar, I think bicycling will continue to grow as a way to connect people and communities in New Jersey.

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