Recently 5th Square, an urbanist political action committee based in Philadelphia, tweeted about the 2016 City Builders Symposium in Copenhagen, Denmark. Where city leaders and planners from around the world gather to see what happens when you take 50 years to design a city for people and not for cars. They suggested that City Council Members Helen Gym, Derek Green, and Allan Domb all attend this. The conferences sessions involve meetings with local experts and peers on how to bring the best ideas on bicycle infrastructure back to their cities. Including bicycle rides to various sites throughout Copenhagen. At $5000.00 per person not including airfare, this seven day vacation is quite the deal.
Rather than travel 10 hours and 3923 miles, perhaps our city leadership would be better off spending a few days doing bicycle tours of Philadelphia instead and talking to area residents. So they can see how the infrastructure has changed Philadelphia, where it has failed, and and how it can be improved. All I would ask for that they be willing to commit an hour or two per per day for a few days.
One tour would be on Sunday along Spruce and Pine St. to see what happens when the churches and synagogues use the bike lanes for parking. For both religious services and weddings. Also so they can get a feel for what happens when a cyclist rides down a one lane street with cars behind them.
Another tour would be to some of the bike lanes in Philadelphia that have faded away due to a complete lack of maintenance. Along with rides along the crosstown connectors like Christopher Columbus Ave and 22nd St. To show just how far you can travel if you want to by bike.
We’d also visit places like the Philly Pumptrack where advocacy and community need created a solution that benefits many. Or spend time with the youth and adults who participate in the wide range of programs run by Neighborhood Bike Works in West Philly.
So save your money and avoid jet lag by exploring Philadelphia’s current bicycle infrastructure. Because before you build the city of the future, first you need to see what Philadelphia is like.