February 22, 2016
Michael Andersen, Green Lane Project staff writer
It’s hard to truly understand bikes until you’ve seen a great bike city in action.
Maybe more to the point, it’s also hard for for your boss to truly understand bikes until they’ve seen a great bike city in action.
That’s where the 2016 CityBuilders Symposium comes in.
For seven years, PeopleForBikes has been welcoming city leaders — politicians, city staffers, businesspeople, charity executives, journalists — on tours of the European cities that have made bikes part of their lifeblood. Those who participate become much more than tourists: they become, for a week, students.
We connect them with the cleverest, canniest and most celebrated urban thinkers in the cities they visit. And people who take the trip come back changed.
“Following the trip, over the last year I’ve become a bike rider and gotten my entire family involved in riding,” said Vop Osili of the Indianapolis City-County Council, who joined a tour in 2015. “The trip has affected how I look at plans for the city infrastructure, our roads and bike paths significantly. Just recently I authorized funding for a new bike network in an area that is close to downtown that I might not have seen the vision for prior to the trip.”
Time and again, our study tour participants make the same discovery: it’s not just being in Denmark that made a difference. It’s being in Denmark with a few of one’s peers, getting a chance to talk one-on-one about the city back home.
“Everybody seemed to be getting something important out of it,” said Sam Chase, a councilor for Portland’s Metro regional government who joined a tour in 2013. “Everyone was coming from a different work environment and decision‐making position so everybody had different kinds of information that they were gathering.”
Registration is now open for our single tour of 2016: June 6-11, in Copenhagen. The cost is $5,000 per person, with a 50 percent payment due April 1.
A minimum of four people from a single community, organization, or sector are required to form a delegation. Up to 20 from a single location may form a delegation. The most effective delegations, we’ve found, include senior leadership from multiple sectors and agencies.
“We brought some people from the financial side and some from the technical side, which made it easier to start making changes as soon as we got home,” Seleta Reynolds told the Utne Reader in 2014 about her experience joining a 2012 tour while she worked for the City of San Francisco.
In 2014, Reynolds was tapped to lead the transportation department in Los Angeles. After seeing the tours move minds in San Francisco, she sent a platoon of Los Angeles leaders on PeopleForBikes’ 2015 tours in the lead-up to passage of L.A.’s ambitious Mobility Plan 2035.
Want to learn more about what the trips offer and how to apply? You should. Read all about that here. We’re eager to host the conversations that will change your city’s future on the streets of Denmark this summer.
The Green Lane Project helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets. You can follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook or sign up for our weekly news digest about protected bike lanes. Story tip? Write email@example.com.