June 4, 2013
Two wheels, four days: UW hosts international symposium on bicycling
The University of Washington will become the global capital of bicycling for four days in June, when scores of scholars, policymakers, analysts and activists come to campus for the Bicycle Urbanism Symposium.
The event, to be held June 19-22, is being hosted at Gould Hall by the Department of Urban Design and Planning in the UW College of Built Environments, with help from local cycling agencies, enthusiasts and clubs — all to encourage widespread bicycle use in 21st century cities.
The international symposium will feature speakers and discussions on creating bicycle-friendly cities as well as group discussions on issues of health and safety, rider education, biking with babies, environmental awareness and working with elected officials and many other topics.
There will also be guided bicycle field trips and a four-hour disaster relief simulation demonstrating how cargo bikes can be used to respond in the event of disaster.
UW research to be featured in the symposium includes:
- A feasibility study by students and faculty working with planners and advocacy groups that has found sufficient demand in Seattle for a public bike-sharing program, and offers recommendations on implementation.
- An extensive literature review created by students and faculty that focusing on best practices in bike-related planning, policy and design as well as counting bicycle commute activity.
- Studies on reducing conflicts between cyclists and trucks, making improvements to better serve UW resident students who cycle, and retrofitting Seattle infrastructure based on lessons learned about bicycle use in The Netherlands.
The symposium’s main faculty organizers are Don Miller, UW professor of urban design and planning; and Alon Bassok, affiliate assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, collaborating with several other students and faculty.
Miller said the UW seems a perfect place for such a meeting, with the City of Seattle planning initiatives to encourage bike use and the UW striving to have 20 percent of its daily commuter trips to campus by bike by the year 2020. Plus, he notes that the League of American Bicyclists named Washington as the most bike-friendly state in the nation.
“A major purpose of this international symposium is to look ahead 20 to 30 years,” Miller said, “to explore innovations in urban spatial structure and design and new policies and programs that hold promise for greatly increasing the use of bicycles as a part of daily life.”
The symposium kicks off with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. June 19, in Gould Hall that is open to the public for $20, and to which people are invited to bring well-loved family or cargo bikes to show off.