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Preview: Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to Hold Bike Summit August 8

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition will hold its 7th Annual Bicycle Summit on August 8 at the Microsoft campus in Mountain View. The goal of the summit, according to SVBC Deputy Director Colin Heyne, is to highlight best practices in bike planning and advocacy, both locally and from other areas. The goal is to share good ideas and lessons learned, and to bring local advocates and city officials together to learn how communities can be made more bicycle-friendly.

Oh, and also to have fun, meet new bikey friends, and get inspired.

“Every year we get guests from all over California,” said Heyne, “and they help spur local expectations and innovation.”

Everyone who is interested in bicycle issues is welcome to attend. Register here.

The summit will kick off with a keynote speech by Tamika Butler, executive director of the Los Angeles Community Land Trust, and former executive director of the LA County Bicycle Coalition. Butler is a powerful speaker, and her talks over the last few years at the California Bike Summit, the NACTO conference in Seattle, and at the Vision Zero Cities conference put on by Transportation Alternatives have engaged attendees on race, class, and justice in planning, and challenged them to examine their own biases in their approaches to planning and those found within their organizations.

At the SVBC summit, Butler will talk about some of the struggles the LACBC encountered around Vision Zero in L.A., and how they feed into the contradictions inherent in relying on law enforcement to increase safety.

Her keynote speech will be followed by a session focusing on Vision Zero and enforcement, with representatives from law enforcement, advocacy, other jurisdictions that have been working on Vision Zero, and elected leaders.

A full day of learning and sharing is planned. One session will focus on the value and challenges of Safe Routes to Schools; another on combining bikes with transit. That one will feature representatives from BART and Caltrain talking about access to stations, parking, and getting on board with your bike.

A session on protected bikeways will highlight a couple of local projects, one in San Jose and one in Cupertino, that, according to Heyne, “are both at the stage of turning vision into reality.” Cupertino is studying bikeways along busy Stevens Creek Boulevard, and San Jose is bringing in experts from NACTO to help plan a complete bike network in that city.

Another session will discuss what's needed to make the major corridor of El Camino Real and its parallel routes safer for biking and walking.

The summit will conclude with a fast-paced Pecha Kucha (participants have about six minutes to present quick ideas) on a range of programs aimed at getting more people riding bikes - like Bike Party, bike-share, SVBC Route Scouts, and more.

The SVBC will also hand out awards for local greatness:

    • The Bicycling Professional of the Year is Penny Ellson, Palo Alto PTA Traffic Safety Committee Chair, who as a volunteer helped expand Palo Alto's Safe Routes to Schools program.
    • The Project of the Year is the King Road bike lane in San Jose, a 4.5-mile bike lane gap closure that required restriping of a major intersection and elimination of an extra left-turn lane, as well as extensive public outreach.
    • The Program of the Year is Viva CalleSJ 2016, the second annual open streets event that opened six miles of streets to over 100,000 bikers, walkers, skaters, scooters, and strollers.

Of course, SVBC encourages people to ride a bike to the event, and to that end a “bike pool” is being organized from the Mountain View Caltrain station, leaving a little before 9 a.m. Other options include a shuttle or walking (about 30 minutes) from the train station. And if for some reason you HAVE to drive, well, at least carpool.

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