We are pleased to announce Mike Lydon will present a keynote address at the Winter Cycling Congress 2016. Mike is a Principal of Street Plans Collaborative and co-author of “Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change” (published 2015). He is internationally recognized for his work as a planner, writer and advocate for livable cities. Recently we spoke with Mike about winter cycling (of course!) and opportunities to apply tactical urbanism in the cold season.
Why bother with winter?
It’s no secret that plenty of people have strong negative feelings about winter and Mike recognizes perception as a major barrier to increasing winter cycling. “Believing that cycling is something that happens when the weather is warm is a cultural norm,” he said. Yet, Mike points out that with the right bicycle and clothing people may come to the same realization he has: cycling keeps you warm. “To me, it is more pleasant [to ride a bike] than to walk in the winter,” he said. Of course, you have to get on a bike in order to come to this realization, which is why Mike thinks there should be more opportunities to experience winter actively. He suggests organizing Snowpen Streets and other events that bring more people outdoors. When people embrace winter actively, the streets become safer and more vibrant and all of this can help change perceptions.
A season for experimenting
In “Tactical Urbanism,” Mike and co-author Antonio Tepedino Garcia advocate for citizen-led, small-scale, temporary changes, which can lead to long-term change. Winter is a perfect season for employing tactical urbanism because nature gives us a tool to work with: snow. The sneckdown movement shows we don’t even necessarily have to do much with the snow besides document its effect on city streets. A sneckdown is a build up of snow and ice extending the curb the same way a traffic calming technique called a neckdown does so cars are forced to slow down, pedestrians have shorter crossings and future design solutions are demonstrated.
In addition to highlighting the way space is currently allocated, Mike thinks there are more opportunities to utilize the snow proactively in designing tactical urbanism projects. For example, check out the tunnel some Boston cyclists dug out last winter so they could keep riding.
In Minneapolis, Mike’s firm is involved in a greenway demonstration project designed to be fully functioning year-round. Note, there will be opportunities to visit the North Minneapolis Greenway during the Winter Cycling Congress 2016, more details soon!
We’re looking forward to hearing more from Mike about how the ephemeral nature of the season can be used to try fun projects.
We hope you will be joining us in February. It’s not too late to do so as a speaker! Proposals to present are due Wednesday, 30 September.