I got an invitation to participate in this year's Downtown Transportation Summit, which was today on the 31st floor of the U.S. Bank Building. The reason for the invitation was that my company won an award for having a high percentage of participation in the Twin Cities Bike/Walk week last year. It turns would we had a respectable 24% of our staff participate in Bike/Walk week last year (despite the fact it was really pretty cold most mornings that week). We were given a certificate recognizing our participation level and a shiny new Dero hitch bike rack. Sweet.
The main thrust of this event was commerce and business, and how transportation impacts commerce. The opening presentation was made by Todd Klingel, President of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce. He made the point that the Chamber is pro-transit and pro-bike commuting because they are concerned about congestion downtown, which can hinder commercial vehicle movement. An interesting perspective but one that makes sense.
Dan MacLaughlin of the Downtown MPLS TMO got up and talked about the upcoming Commuter Challenge and Bike/Walk Week 2010, and urged participation (you can win prizes!). The TMO has several other interesting programs running, including assistance to companies seeking to develop a telecommuting policy, resources and assistance for employees and employers on transit issues, and recognition programs for companies that support transit,
Nice Ride gave a presentation on their bike sharing program and they had one of the actual bikes that they will be using for the program at the event. These are... striking. I hope that program works out well for them and us. They have a lot of money and have done a lot of homework, but I still remain a little skeptical that this will take off.
We were then subjected to a long presentation assuring us that the new Twins stadium would not make any more of a mess of downtown than the old one did, and we got a run down from Metro Transit on what they've got up there sleeve. The most interesting bits there are that they are planning a new transit stop at 46th Street and I-35W to enable rapid transit stops in Minneapolis for buses coming up I-35W (that's interesting, but not very interesting). The really interesting bit is that David Byrne (yes, that David Byrne) will be coming to Minneapolis' Uptown Theatre on June 17 to give a talk based on his recent book about bikes and cities.
Best of all, I got a free pant-cuff retainer from our friends at Dero Bikes as well. It sounds like Dero may have had a fire last night, so we hope they are doing well and will be cranking our more racks in the very near future.