Did you ever think you'd get jealous from looking at pictures from someone's trip to... Pittsburgh? Kerry Hamilton, HASTe's Community Programs manager, might manage just that - but she can't take all of the credit.
Above are a few snaps from Kerry's time exploring Steeltown during this year's ProWalk ProBike ProPlace conference - not too shabby! Find out how Pittsburgh reinvented itself as a bike-, pedestrian- and people-friendly city after the break.
words: Kerry Hamilton
images: shamelessly stolen from the internet for fair use
So how does a Steel City become a Bike City? Many ProWalk ProBike attendees from across North America asked the same question - that was until they arrived in Pittsburg and saw the transformation with their own eyes and wheels. With over 1,000 attendees for this years 18th ProWalk ProBike Pro Place conference, it’s clear the growing movement of walking and cycling is transforming cities for the better, with advocates, politicians, and city staff celebrating the explosion of pop-up cycle tracks, walk to school events and public space markets across North America.
HASTe had the privilege of attending this years conference coupling history with inspiration. Here’s a bit of what we learnt, and where North America is headed.
By the 1860s Pittsburg was a leading American industrial city, known as the gateway to the West. It’s factories created most of the steel and iron that built up the West Coast and the American Civil War. Remnants of this era can still be seen in the historic character of their city buildings and by the sheer amount of steel bridges connecting the downtown at almost every street (Picture 5 more Bridges on each side of Downtown Vancouver!).
Rich in industrial productivity, Pittsburg was also known as the Smoky City with smog sometimes so thick that streetlights burned during the day. In 1945 urban revitalization projects for smoke control were pioneered making environment and health a priority way before air pollution and climate change were hot topics.
Following increasing foreign trade competition and the 1981 recession. Pittsburg’s steel factories collapsed leaving many unemployed and suburbia-bound. Efforts are now in place to revitalize Pittsburg’s Downtown once again; but this time, the steel is on two wheels and reduces smog rather than creating it.
Pittsburg’s revitalization plans focus on attracting people back to the downtown, creating a City where people want to eat, work and live. Their Mayor Bill Peduto recognizes that creating places where people can walk, bike and be is a crucial way to achieve this transformation and is striving for Pittsburg to become one of the top 10 bicycling cities in North America (currently #21).
Today in Pittsburg, you can buy local produce downtown and have lunch on plaza patios at Market Square, bike to a NFL Steelers Game along their multi-use water front pathway system, or even ride over one of the many steel bridges in your own separated bike lane. There’s still lots of work to be done, but Pittsburg has shown us that even a steel focused, smog burdened city can make a walking & cycling transformation possible.
Walk & Bike to School Inspiration:
Here are just some interesting walking and cycling to school resources and links HASTe picked up from this year’s conference:
Finally, Pittsburgh was the site of some BIG NEWS for cycling, walking and public space advocates and aficionados in Vancouver and British Columbia... but you'll have to check back soon if you want the full scoop.
So it's (finally) the first day of school - and wouldn't you know it, the sky is gray and threatening rain. We hope that doesn't dampen the enthusiasm of the students, teachers and families who have been waiting for this day for weeks (months?).
Have a great first walk, bike, wheel, whatever, to school today. And welcome back.
It seems like a lifetime ago, but in 2012 Vancouver hosted Velo-City, the world's premier cycling conference series. This year marked the beginning of VeloWorks, a more modest event aimed at building on the excitement and momentum that was generated two years ago.
Along with luminaries from around Metro Vancouver, including a number of mayors, academics and big thinkers, HASTe was invited to talk about the future of cycling education for children and youth in BC. Conference go-ers got a sneak peek at an exciting new initiative we are working on for the coming year. If you missed the conference (it will be back in 2015), keep watching this space in the weeks ahead to find out more.
Last fall, the Canadian Broadcasting Coorporation's Kids website posted an article in pictures called 14 Must-Do's for Cycling Season. My favorite thing about the post is that the absolutely nailed number #1: put the pedal to the metal and have fun!
Check out more of the article's timeless advice and images on the CBC Kids website.
A new school year was supposed to begin today in British Columbia. But they're having some, ah, unforeseeable and unavoidable delays. No one is happy about the current state of affairs at BC schools; but some parties are working hard to keep things fun.
For example, today I noticed that half of the short films on the National Film Board's homepage are about cycling. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe the NFB is trying to subtly send visitors messages about how to, or not, to get to school - or wherever you're headed this week.