The people of Long Beach, Calif., are getting ready for the next Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference, which will be coming to that city in September of 2012.

What a difference a lane makes: Downtown Long Beach, before and after. Photo: jericho1ne via Flickr.

Pro Walk/Pro Bike is a biennial event convened by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking (NCBW), which is a resident program of PPS. And next year, it’s going to be held in a Southern California city that has been steadily improving its bike infrastructure — and is seeing that effort pay off in increasing number of cyclists.

Here’s what NCBW’s Mark Plotz, conference director, had to say about the selection of Long Beach: “For 2012, we will bring our conference to Long Beach because great things are already happening in the city, and because the city’s investments in walkable and bicycle friendly streets and neighborhoods will position Long Beach to be economically viable into the future, while continuing to provide a high quality of life for all residents. In other words: we see that Long Beach is headed where many cities need to go; lots of people are eager to learn from its example.”

The news about the Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference has gotten favorable coverage in the local press, including the Long Beach Post-Telegram, which interviewed Charlie Gandy, mobility advisor for the city of Long Beach and chair of Long Beach’s host committee for the conference:

[Gandy] said surveys show the city’s bike-only lanes in Belmont Shore and along Third Street and Broadway have more than doubled bike traffic since they were constructed several months ago.

“In Belmont Shore, we were averaging about 400 cyclists per day” along Second Street, “and that’s jumped to more than 1,000 daily now, and it’s growing,” Gandy said.

The city has also installed about 1,000 bike racks outside businesses and in public spaces, with another 1,000 scheduled to be installed at a rate of 50 per month.

“These efforts are encouraging people to leave their car at home and make those short trips to the coffee shop or to a favorite restaurant on their bike or by walking,” Gandy said. “And it’s also one way we can address the obesity and health epidemic facing our community along with the rest of the nation.”

To find out more about what’s in store at the 2012 conference, check out NCBW’s website here. We’ll be updating you with much more information in the future.

And check out the sweet video below from Vimeo user jericho1ne, showing the opening of a protected lane in the heart of the city. Makes you want to head out there and ride Long Beach yourself, no?

 

Long Beach Protected Lane Grand Opening from jericho1ne on Vimeo.

Photo: jericho1ne via Flickr.

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