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2017 SC Mayor’s Bike & Walk Summit Recap!

Noteworthy quotes from the Mayors’ Roundtable:

City of Anderson, Mayor Roberts:

“You’ve got to make and work with master plans and then be flexible when we need to be”
“What does ‘Accessibility’ mean to me:  Give every citizen opportunity to get to services and recreation.”
“Executives come to your city with their families and they’re looking for quality of life.”

City of Travelers Rest Mayor McCall:

“Change is gonna happen,
and it’s up to us to make it change in the right way.”
“People are out using this trail and all of a sudden they’re neighbors again.”

City of Columbia Mayor Benjamin:

“We are having to decide where we are going to make significant public investments … Efficient bike lanes …
Assessing where is demand … The number 2 question I’m getting is what is your talent pipeline? …
Makes me reflect on how do we make our cities good to attract people and talents…”
“I’m a big believer that psychological wins will take you further.”

City of Greenville, Mayor’s representative on City Council, Amy Doyle:

“… Change, [I’ll echo that].”
“We need to be bold in creating equity.”
“What I’ve learned is to talk about it from the pedestrian perspective, because the bike perspective can be divisive.”

City of Charleston, Mayor’s representative Design Division Director Allen Davis:

“… I wish I had better news … There’s a paradigm shift and we need to embrace it. We only have 2 streets with bike lanes on then. So we have a lot of work to do … People Pedal’ is a robust plan and its going to be hard to do…”
“[I have a new term]: Lovability:  That’s showing up to the community meetings, picking up trash,
watching out for pedestrians coming off the sidewalk into the crosswalk …”

City of Rock Hill, Mayor Echols:

“[With intentional and positive coordination with our state and local partners, we’ve been able to begin accomplishing great things, in time, including our velodrome and improved downtown walkability.  All of these things add value to our communities.]”

Highlights of Thursday Keynote Vince Graham’s presentation on SC’s transportation:

Historically, SC promoted local funding and therefore local control of transportation. But through a strange course of events, we became the state with the 4th largest state road ownership in the country, which pays less per linear mile than any other state in the country.  Yet we still maintain the ethos of local control, which runs counter to how we pay for our streets and roads.  Changing that paradigm to enable more locally owned roads may be the best way to really have local control in our state.

Highlights of Friday Keynote Charles Brown presentation and a bike friendly SC:

There has only ever been one research project that studied bikes and African Americans.  Equity is a necessity in local bike and pedestrian advocacy, in order to achieve accessible, dignified communities built and designed for everyone.  A diversified leadership is the most relevant, and in one that isn’t you’ll see this symptom:  a non-transparent access to power.  Public input in the most functional democracies enable transparent access to power for all citizens.  Our keynote Charles Brown, native of Mississippi and currently professor of policy at Rutgers, said the following were key challenges ahead of us all:

  • Enable access to power for more people, and you will achieve equity, by enabling better access to safe streets.
  • Education:  this is just as important as our infrastructure, especially in educating communities about riding in their streets safely, establishing bicycle parks to teach safe riding, and teaching access to the powers of planning.
  • Consultants:  Walk up and down your project’s corridors, and talk and listen to all users. Make sure that photo renderings reflect the existing population; otherwise your photo renderings represent the gentrification we don’t want.  Bike shares tend to not be in Latino and African American communities:  we need to ensure we are being equitable with where we place resources.
  • Advocates:
    • Do better.
    • Connect with people that connect with communities.  You can’t help a community if you’re afraid of them.
    • Advocate for funding better public engagement before the planning and infrastructure.
    • Get real and listen.  Realize the realities of economic and social justice in public safety, street lights, disproportionate enforcement and excessive traffic stops, gentrifying neighborhoods and over-criminalization.
    • Bike theft is a big concern. Everyone wants safe places to park their bikes and they don’t want to look like experienced cyclists so that they don’t become victims of theft.

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