Bicycle Program Manager Kate Cavazza speaks at Bikewalk NC Conference

The state advocacy organization BikeWalk NC hosted the 7th Annual BikeWalk NC Summit on October 19 and 20 in Raleigh, and Sustain Charlotte was a featured presenter.  As the bicycle program manager, I want to share the top three things that I learned during the conference.

BikeWalk Summit Mascot

The conference had fantastic speakers, great conversation, and new action items to move biking and walking in the state forward.

1. Don’t forget that transportation is a system

As the Bicycle Program Manager, I tend to focus on bikes.  It was refreshing to be reminded that transportation impacts more than mobility.  During the Summit, multidisciplinary speakers from the Center of Disease Control and Duke University gave different perspectives on how transportation also encapsulates public health, the economy, and influences the City’s political structure.

Photo: Courtesy of BikeWalk NC

2. The top thing you can do for Vision Zero is to lower vehicle speed limits.

Paula Flores served as the International President of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.  As a keynote speaker, she spoke about the value of Vision Zero and how the greatest responsibility of transportation professionals is to protect the lives of the public they serve.  An audience member asked Flores what is the biggest step that we can take on the road map to Vision Zero. Her answer? Reduce speeds in your city. As Sustain Charlotte continues to serve on the City of Charlotte’s Vision Zero task force, we will continue to push for the lowering of speed limits as Council votes on passing updates to the Neighborhood Traffic Calming policy on November 26.

Slide from Ritchie Rozelle’s Land of Sky Regional Council / Strive not to Drive presentation

Slide from Ritchie Rozelle’s Land of Sky Regional Council / Strive not to Drive presentation

3. Charlotte is actually doing a lot.

Charlotte is actually doing a lot to improve walking, biking, and transit in our city.  The Charlotte Department of Transportation is working to preemptively lower all neighborhood streets to 25 mph through their proposed updates to the Neighborhood Traffic Calming policy. The city has also released a draft of Charlotte’s future bike network recommendations that is open for public feedback. We pushed for the inclusion of a bike map in the Charlotte BIKES plan back in Spring 2017 and we are happy to see it come to fruition. You can add your comments to the bike map here.

Charlotte cycling advocates and transportation professionals had a strong presence at the Raleigh-based conference.  Just to name a few, friends from StewartLandDesignKittelson and AssociationsCLT Bike Camp, the Bicycle Advisory Committee, and Active Routes to Schools were all in attendance.

I also had the opportunity to represent Sustain Charlotte as a speaker, sharing our 2018 policy successes and placemaking experiences with conference attendees.  I focused on the challenges and wins of incorporating a pop-up demonstration bicycle lane into our recent Biketoberfest presented by the Charlotte Knights event.

Attendees listen at Sustain Charlotte's breakout session.

Attendees listen at Sustain Charlotte’s breakout session.

Click here to view my full slide deck from the conference. Learn more about BikeWalk NC’s work by checking out their webpage, linked here.

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