Mar 04, 2011

Bad streets don’t just create frustrating commutes, Dan Burden told a Eugene crowd Feb. 28. They also hurt our health, environment and economy.

Burden, executive director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, spoke as part of the University of Oregon’s LiveMove Transportation Speaker Series. A national authority on bicycle and pedestrian programs, street corridor and intersection design, and traffic calming, Burden started advocating for active transportation 38 years ago.

A healthy and sustainable community is a walkable one, Burden said, and transportation and land-use planning both should serve that goal. “If you want to be a transportation planner, you’d better take a couple courses in land use,” he said. “And if you want to be a land-use planner, you’d better take a couple courses in transportation.”

Well-designed streets are key to healthy communities, Burden said. Wide sidewalks, good landscaping, buffer zones between cars and pedestrians and short crosswalks all create an environment that gets more people walking. In turn, he said, businesses will build to take advantage of foot traffic and existing owners will see their property values rise.

Although established communities offer few opportunities to plan streets from scratch, there are still opportunities to incorporate good design, Burden said. Bad streets can be put on a diet, he said....

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Feb 03, 2011

As a bicycle advocate in the early 1990s, Mia Birk was young, idealistic and unaware of the struggles she would face, she told a Eugene audience, with many of those attending in much the same position Birk once found herself in. Birk spoke at the “Movers and Shakers: Connecting People and Places” series presented by LiveMove, the University of Oregon transportation and livability student group.

Birk’s story started in her native Dallas, where her family drove everywhere, even across the street. “It never occurred to us to walk, and it never occurred to us that this was anything but normal.”

When the lifestyle left her overweight and unhappy, Birk found a way out through bicycling. She came to Portland to spread that happiness as the city’s bicycle coordinator in 1993.

It wasn’t so easy, Birk said, and took battles that went far beyond bikes. Opponents emerged quickly from all sectors; it took a while for allies to coalesce.

“Bicycling doesn’t exist on its own,” she said. “You need really sensible land use policy so you can choose bicycling. Good transit is really critical; really good neighborhoods with local schools and bicycle transportation—they all go hand in hand.”

Even the best bike lanes and separated paths won’t get everyone on a bike, Birk said. European cities with high ridership use the carrot-and-stick approach combining incentives for bicycling and disincentives for driving...

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Dec 30, 2010

Heidi Beierle, a community and regional planning master’s student at the University of Oregon, shared stories Dec. 11 from her solo cross-country bicycle ride. Beierle presented “Take Me to Cooky’s: Riding Solo from Eugene to D.C.” at Eugene’s downtown Public Library.

During the summer of 2010, Beierle rode her bicycle from Eugene to the Preserving the Historic Road conference in Washington, D.C. At the conference, Beierle presented preliminary findings of her research on the connections among historic roadways, bicycle tourism and rural economic development. 

Beierle rode solo approximately 3,500 miles in 80 days with all her gear in two front panniers.  She delivered window decals to businesses along the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail and interviewed 100 people about bicycle touring and rural living.  Beierle focused on adventure and the unexpected, including sleeping among sprinklers in Prineville, Ore., raptor and mosquito attack in Wisdom, Mont., quirky bike-friendliness in Guffey, Colo., and intense heat with dog attack made better by doing a tractor wheelie in western Missouri.

She began her presentation with a picture of some peculiar looking cows. “I rode past these cows and...

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Dec 09, 2010

Bridging the gap between engineers and planners starts with asking the right questions, Portland State University associate professor Kelly Clifton told University of Oregon planning students. But it can’t stop there.

In Eugene Nov. 18 for the LiveMove student group’s Movers and Shakers Speaker Series, Clifton stressed the importance of student planners and engineers educating themselves in both disciplines. Doing so gives planners technical skills and engineers understanding of the broader implications of transportation systems.

Engineers are problem solvers, Clifton said. Asked to move as many vehicles as possible through an area, they’ll figure out a solution. But the question should be reframed: What’s the best way for people, not just vehicles, to get around? That includes walking, cycling and transit.

Planners don’t need to become engineers themselves, Clifton said, but they’ll get farther by understanding how engineers bring transportation planning concepts to life. “Don’t be afraid of math,” she said.

Apr 16, 2009

Bill Wilkinson, former director and founder of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking (NBCW), delivered the keynote address at the University of Oregonís HOPES Conference. Wilkinsonís career in bicycle and pedestrian programs spans forty years, including the National Park Service, four years in the USDOTís Office of the Secretary and 25 years with the NBCW. UOís transportation student group, LiveMove, used OTREC funds to bring Mr. Wilkinson to the conference. OTREC also sponsored an event honoring Wilkinsonís donation to the University of his 35-year archive of bicycle and pedestrian materials , including about 1,000 bike maps from around the world.

Feb 24, 2009

LiveMove, the transportation student group at the University of Oregon co-sponsored Bicycle Appreciation Days in Eugene in late February. The weather was lousy but, as this video from the Daily Emerald shows, the students are doing a great job! OTREC is pleased to sponsor student groups on each of its four campuses.

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