If I could pick a theme for day two of the ICLEI World Congress (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) in Edmonton, it would be Eco-Mobility. The Global Alliance for EcoMobility describes Eco-Mobility as mobility without dependency on the private, Eco-Mobility includes a wide range means of travel, most of the presentations I attended yesterday were focused on bicycle mobility. Here are some points I picked up from yesterday’s presentations:
– Edmonton is one of the most car dependent cities in North America.
– Copenhagen (Denmark) is aiming to be one of the environmental capitals of the world. Since 1995, bicycle traffic has risen by over 40% in the Danish capital city.
– In Tilburg (Netherlands) the primary focus is to remove obstacles by improving bicycling parking. There are currently 12,800 bicycle parking spots in Tilburg, with an extra 2,800 spots planned for 2010 and 2,000 spots planned for 2012. Tilburg’s 2003 ‘Balanced Mobility’ cycling plan treats all forms of mobility as equally important. Current plans are to build 1600m of bicycle networks.
– Challenges of increased bicycle mobility includes increased theft. Each year, 4,000 bicycle thefts are reported per year in Tilburg, a big problem that needs to be addressed.
– Changwon (South Korea) has a goal to increase bicycle transportation to 20% in 2020. Some Changwon businesses offer $24 per month allowance for employees using bicycle-transportation to work, and the City Bicycle Centre offers free bicycle classes to housewives.
– For Canadians who oppose increased bicycle infrastructure because of our cold winters should know that similar arguments were made in Rio De Janeiro (Brazil) about the intense heat. Heat tuned out not be one of Rio’s biggest challenges: bad bike lanes led to four cycling deaths in Rio over a short number of years.
– About half of the air pollution in São Paulo (Brazil) used to come from factories, but now 90% of emissions come from motorized transport. Increase bicycle mobility is a viewed a a solution to car air pollution.
– With a population of 34,000, Koprivnica (Croatia) began promoting bicycle mobility after the end of the Cold War, when the introduction of western automobiles drastically increased local air pollution. In 2008, Koprivnica won the European Mobility Award.
– The Local Motion Eco-Mobility Project in the Edmonton community of Parkallen focused on showcasing and encouraging Eco-Mobility through pilot project improvements and Eco-Mobility education. Community education included local programs, improved bike route marking and the development of a local community map (aka, the Parkallen Field Guide).
I would also like to add how impressed I am with the (likely) hundreds of Edmontonians who have volunteered to help with the day to day operations of the ICLEI World Congress in Edmonton. They’ve been doing excellent work!
(As most of these points were jotted down quickly during the sessions, apologies if there are any minor inaccuracies)