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Walk/Bike/Places 2018 Critics’ Picks

Mark Plotz
Jul 10, 2018
Jul 11, 2018

The Early Summer registration deadline for Walk/Bike/Places is Friday, July 13, 2018, 8pm. You should come to New Orleans! We’re not like other conferences; we want you on our lawn.

The lawn outside Walk/Bike/Places 2016

Walk/Bike/Places 2018 will convene in New Orleans, September 16-19. Our program will cover the latest bike facility design, best practices on placemaking, lessons learned about managing dockless bike share, and much more, spread across 80 breakouts, 50 poster displays, 8 super sessions, 30 mobile workshops and a half dozen summits and seminars. See the full program here.

Like a parent, we don’t have any favorites because we love all our sessions equally. So to spare us the agony of choosing among equals, we punt and ask our friends which sessions they are excited about. Here is who they are and what they told us.

Sean Co (Strava Metro)

Sean has been coming to Walk/Bike/Places since the mid 2000s. That was at least 3 conference names ago if you’ve been keeping track. Sean is now with Strava Metro and he will be helping us to organize the super session on Data. In addition to that one, here’s where you might run into Sean:

Stations, Dockless, & Hybrids: Which Type of Bike Share is Right For My Community?

Presented by Dwight Norton (City of New Orleans); Lisa Nuszkowski (MoGo Detroit Bike Share); and Suzanne Williams (University of North Carolina Greensboro)

“I have been involved in bike share in the U.S. for nearly a decade and have seen some radical transformations during that time period.  There are more options than ever with docked, dockless, and e-bikes that are offered at little or no cost to communities. It will be interesting to hear from the panel and participants their thoughts on what works and what doesn't in their communities.”

Data-driven Approaches to Achieving Climate and Health Equity in Active Transportation Projects

Presented by Christopher David (The Trust for Public Land); Jennifer Ruley (City of New Orleans); and Sandra Serna (Louisiana Public Health Institute)

“Public health, data, and climate change are all topics I have been involved with, and this session hits all these topics! Improved public health is often a benefit that results from more investment in active transportation infrastructure. In many communities, these health benefits are not equally distributed where low-income, minority populations often see less benefit than affluent and white areas. I'm excited to see solutions that come out of this session using data to achieve a more equitable outcome.”

Jessica Roberts (Alta Planning + Design)

Jessica is one of a handful of people who contributes selflessly to the conference year after year. She is a reviewer, a presenter and a strong voice for improving the diversity and inclusivity of this event. Here is where you will find Jessica in New Orleans:

How Parking Has Damaged Our Cities, Why It Makes People Crazy And How We're Going To Fix It. Or How I Learned To Love Parking 

Presented by Martha Roskowski (Further Strategies)

“Martha is one of the smartest and most strategic thinkers in our industry, and good thing, because we're not going to be able to transform our cities for active transportation without serious parking reform. Which, you know, is a wee little bit hard to accomplish. I trust she has some wisdom and a big pep talk that all of us need, and badly.”

From Community Need to Project Delivery - A Framework for Dignity-Infused Planning

Presented by Carlos Hernandez and Destiny Thomas of LADOT; and Carolyn Vera (Fehr and Peers)

“Want to know what issues your city will be confronting soon? You need to learn more about Los Angeles. The challenges and successes playing out in this dynamic, extremely multicultural, very auto-dominated cultural landscape are big, real, and significant for the entire industry. Knowing a bit about Carlos and Destiny's outstanding work, I can't wait to hear from them.”

Diverter Division: Challenges in Communicating About Traffic Circulation on Neighborhood Streets

 Presented by Nick Falbo (Portland Bureau of Transportation); and Miriam Sorell and Charlie Ream of SFMTA

“Our streets need diversion. And yet diversion is seen as a third rail when it comes to neighborhood backlash. Knowing how committed Nick is to high-quality bikeways, I hope and expect he'll bring us some edifying stories from the front lines of public engagement, and some new ideas about how to frame diversion in a way that lets us all move forward.”

Culturally Relevant Community Engagement

Presented by Maryann Aguirre and Río Contreras of People for Mobility Justice

“If there's any organization I have a professional crush on, it's People for Mobility Justice.”

Melissa White (SSFM International)

Melissa is organizing the Urban Sustainability super session which is scheduled for Tuesday, September 18, 8:30 am to 11:30 am. That session will look at the social, economic, and environmental infrastructure that will be tested by climate change, human migration, and resource scarcity. Melissa would like to bring to your attention two of the supplemental trainings happening at this year’s conference.

Functional Ambiance: Balancing Place and Flow Through Participatory Design Sessions

Presented by Mobycon

“Why is there so often a disconnect between engineering and aesthetics? Having experienced firsthand the chaos and controversy that can result from disjointed community expectations and design outcomes, I am greatly looking forward to learning some collaborative and implementable approaches to public space and street design from Mobycon. The Functional Ambience approach was developed in the Netherlands – one of the big kids on the urban design block. The methodology-focused approach of this session means you can take what you learned and immediately run with it!  You’ll have another chance to check out the presenter from Mobycon at the Urban Sustainability Super Session on Tuesday.”

Open Streets Summit V

Presented by The Street Plans Collaborative and 8 80 Cities

“The combination of Walk/Bike/Place with the fifth Open Streets Summit in New Orleans and Gretna is a very happy convergence for all of us plannerds! What a fantastic opportunity to see the Open Streets model in action as it’s applied to a new community. The World Café portion of the event will be a great way to engage in small group idea-generating conversations with open streets champions and organizers. And, it’s easy to register for both events at once through the Walk/Bike/Place landing page. You can also meet two of the Open Streets Summit organizers – Ryan O’Connor from 8 80 Cities and Mike Lydon of Street Plans Collaborative - during the Urban Sustainability Super Session on Tuesday!”

Bill Nesper (League of American Bicyclists)

I got to know Bill about a decade ago when I worked across the hall from him. He was with the League, I was with the National Center for Bicycling & Walking, and next door to me was the Alliance for Biking & Walking and America Bikes. We had a K Street address, we were the Bike Advocacy Industrial Complex, and it was full time war-on-cars. Yeah, right.

Bill is a modest guy. He rides a Surly. So when Bill does some logrolling, you know there’s probably a good for it. (Read: don’t miss this one.)

How We Roll: Creating Bike Friendly Communities in MN 

Presented by Kelly Corbin (MN Department of Health); Natalie Gille (Bicycle Alliance of MN); and Michael Petesch (MnDOT)

“I'm excited to see this session showcasing the Minnesota model. It is a great example of how building Bicycle Friendly Communities isn't just about better bicycling for all but getting bicycling advocates, practitioners, and agency staff riding together towards shared goals.”

Juliet Kahne (Project for Public Spaces)

Juliet joined PPS in 2015. For Walk/Bike/Places 2018 she in contributing as the Assistant Conference Director and as the organizer of our Inequality super session. Last fall she organized Placemaking Week 2017, which was held in Amsterdam. I went and the bike culture blew my mind. It also made an impression on Juliet, which is reflected in her picks.

Bike Shop as Social Venture - A Success Story

Presented by Kelly Chatman (Redeemer Center for Life); Dustin LaFont (Front Yard Bikes); and Casey Pavek (Venture North Bike and Coffee Shop)

“I’m most looking forward to hear from Dustin La Font, Executive Director of Front Yard Bikes in Baton Rouge, Louisiana — an organization that focuses on teaching participants of all ages how to fix and maintain bikes! At events like these, we need to hear more from community leaders, entrepreneurs, and activists who are out there working face-to-face with local communities on building change from within. Particularly when the work of such leaders focuses on creating safe spaces for people to learn, grow, and become better citizens, while also furthering their connection to their own community.”

Woonerfs and Shared Spaces, Why Not? 

Presented by Mobycon

“Seeing examples of ‘shared space’ and ‘woonerfs’ in the Netherlands changed the way I think about our most used and shared public space – the street. I am excited about Mobycon’s session because, let’s face it – the Dutch kick ass when it comes to creating great streets and implementing biking infrastructure — we need to learn all we can from them.”

We hope to see you in New Orleans in September!

Mark Plotz
Mark Plotz
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