Posted June 20, 2012

Philadelphia learns how to ThinkBike from the Dutch

  • At Temple's Architecture Building, Dutch cycling and transportation experts Tom Godefrooij of the Dutch Cycling Embassy (left) and Martijn Te Lintelo of the City of Nijmegen, Netherlands (right) brainstorm proposals for improving Philadelphia's cycling infrastructure.
  • Charles Carmalt of the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities (right), Dan Nemiroff of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (center) and Temple student Tara Woody (left) return to Temple after surveying North Philadelphia and Center City streets on bike.

When you need advice, you turn to the experts. And when you need advice on how to keep Philadelphia and Temple's bicycling culture growing, you turn to the Netherlands, recognized as the world's most vibrant cycling community.

Representatives of the Dutch Cycling Embassy, a Netherlands-based public-private network promoting cycling culture, joined City of Philadelphia transportation planners, Temple students and staff and cyclists from around the region at a ThinkBike Workshop, a two-day event on June 18-19 exploring ideas to make Philadelphia's streets safer for every traveler.

On the first day of the ThinkBike Worskhop, participants gathered in Temple's new Architecture Building to hear presentations on cycling infrastructure and culture in the Netherlands before two teams of Dutch and Philadelphia transportation specialists left on bike to survey the areas around Temple University and City Hall. The teams' mission: to assess and discuss how streets, intersections and neighborhoods can be improved for traveler safety and bike use.

The teams reassembled the next day to develop specific proposals for each neighborhood before presenting their visions at a public concluding session. The Temple group proposed a two-way bike route on North 13th Street, increasing covered and secured bike parking and storage capacity and adding bike lanes to Fairmount Street.

"Hearing from the City of Philadelphia transportation planners and the Dutch experts is very encouraging," said Alex Lambi, a bike-commuting student at Temple's School of Medicine and member of the Temple Cycling Team. "It's great that Temple is hosting this event. At Temple, you see countless students and employees commuting on bikes from all over the city. People are realizing it's so much faster and cheaper to get here by bike."

The event was hosted by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in cooperation with Philadelphia’s Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, Temple University, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Streets Department and the Dutch Cycling Embassy.

- hjh