“Unifying Georgia State University and Atlanta with Bikes” conference featuring Dr. John Pucher Georgia State University’s Office of Sustainability, School of Public Health, and student groups Sustainable Energy Tribe and Panther Bikes hosted a city-wide “Unifying Georgia State University and Atlanta with Bikes” conference. Dr. John Pucher of Rutgers University’s Urban Planning and Policy Development Program and co-author of City Cycling (Urban and Industrial Environments) keynoted the event, showing how cities worldwide have transformed the built environment to be more bicycle friendly, and how the transformation has made the cities more healthy and inviting in general. Rebecca Serna, Executive Director of Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and alumna of GSU, then presented on the changes her organization has already helped to make in the city, the successful “Streets Alive” events they have hosted, and future possibilities. John Steward of GSU’s School of Public Health coorganized the event and headed a GSU-wide bike survey. He shared that the survey sent to all members of the university in October of this year revealed that the majority (62%) agree with the statement that “Georgia State would be a more desirable place if more people used bicycles for transportation to, from and around campus.” A coming bicycle plan proposal for GSU is the result of a successful technical assistance grant submitted by the Office of Sustainability and provided by the Atlanta Regional Commission. Byron Rushing, Bicycle & Pedestrian Planner of Atlanta Regional Commission, shared key features of the coming proposed bicycle plan for GSU, followed by a comment and question and answer session with a panel of speakers including Beth Jones, Associate VP for Finance and Administration at GSU, Dr. Michael Black of the GSU Office of Sustainability, and Jonathan Lewis, Assistant Director of Transportation Planning for the City of Atlanta. The conference ended with an interactive roundtable of regional planners, bike advocates, and Dr. Pucher. Participants were actively engaged in the discussion and included members of the City of Atlanta, Atlanta Regional Commission, Central Atlanta Progress, Alta Planning, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, Atlanta Beltline, Coca-Cola, Sopo Bikes, Georgia Tech, and students, faculty and staff of GSU. Mike Lunney, one of the panelists and President of Panther Bikes said the conference “far exceeded my expectations.” Dr. Pucher said this “conference was a huge first step, a very important first step” to having a major impact on cycling in Atlanta and said he looks forward to another conference next year with even more city stakeholders at the table. Dr. Michael Black, Faculty Associate for the Office of Sustainability at GSU, said “the hard work is ahead of us, but with so many partners in the city, Atlanta has great potential for the future.” A full conference schedule can be seen at https://guidebook.com/guide/27735. Byron Rushing, Bicycle & Pedestrian Planner of Atlanta Regional Commission, talks about the GSU bicycle survey and how it informs the proposed bicycle plan for the university. Dr. John Pucher of Rutgers University shows examples of making cycling safe for everyone of all ages in a city. GSU’s Touch the Earth program through the Student Recreation Center demonstrates the outdoor equipment available for student rental, including free three-day bike share bikes.
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