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Richmond’s bike future to be discussed

September 17, 2013 6:48am
Partnership for Smarter Growth and Bike Walk RVA (a program of the Sports Backers) will host A Look into the Richmond Region’s Bike Future on the evening of Thursday, September 26, 2013, at the Science Museum of Virginia.  At the forum, attendees will learn from keynote speaker Jim Sebastian, Manager of the Active Transportation Branch of the Washington, D.C., Department of Transportation, about how our region can encourage bicycling as a daily transportation practice through infrastructure improvements. The forum will also feature a panel of guest speakers representing local public works and planning departments who will provide updates on bicycle and pedestrian planning in the Richmond region.

Bike infrastructure in D.C.

Bike infrastructure in D.C.

“A Look into the Richmond Region’s Bike Future” follows the June 25 fact-finding day trip organized by Bike Walk RVA to Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. for 50 of the region’s elected officials, transportation planners, community advocates, and stakeholders.  The purpose of the trip was to experience first-hand the pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure that Arlington and D.C. have developed over the past several years and to hear directly from the planners and officials responsible for those changes.  
This examination of the Richmond region’s bike and pedestrian infrastructure comes at a significant time. Biking is booming in the Richmond region – more people are biking for recreation and transportation each day, infrastructure improvements have been made to better facilitate biking as a viable means of transportation, and nearly half a million people from around the world will visit the Richmond region in 2015 to watch the UCI World Road Cycling Championships.  However, despite the a burgeoning bike culture and planning efforts in the right direction, the region has only 18.25 miles of bike lanes and a bike commute share of 1.6 percent. 
“The Richmond region has a lot of progress to make before the 2015 world cycling championships,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Bike Walk RVA for the Sports Backers.  “In two short years, all eyes will be on Richmond and we don’t want to disappoint.  We need to show the world that Richmond is a premier biking destination, not solely in how we host events or provide recreational opportunities, but in how we accommodate people who just want to get around by bike.”
“This event is a natural partnership between Bike Walk RVA and Partnership for Smarter Growth,” said Brianne Mullen, Executive Director of PSG. “Improving the conditions for bicycling in the Richmond region is attractive to talented young professionals who might want to move here for work. And proper planning and implementation of bicycle infrastructure has been shown to benefit the local economy and provide transportation solutions for people that didn’t exist before. It’s a win-win approach to making our region more attractive.”

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?