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“Making the National Capital Region the Next Cycling Capital of the USA: Opportunities and Lessons from Home and Abroad,” A Lecture by Professor Ralph Buehler


Thursday, September 12, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT)

“Making the National Region the Next Cycling Capital...

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Please join us for the kick-off of the 2013 Fall MI+SPIA Lecture Series, hosted by the Urban Affairs and Planning Program:

Cycling is taking the Metropolitan Washington, DC, region by storm—four times as many DC residents commute by bicycle today than did in 1990, along with a tripling of regional bike commuters during the same time period. Numerous policy changes have been adopted that promote cycling along with the installation of new bike infrastructure and the expansion of the popular Capital Bikeshare program to four jurisdictions—Alexandria, Arlington County, the District, and Montgomery County. With the support of pioneering policymakers and the strong voices of regional and local cycling groups, bicycling is now a staple of regional and policy planning, policy, and design discussion. However, what will it take to make the District and its core jurisdictions the next bike capital of the USA? How can cycling become irresistible?

Dr. Ralph Buehler, co-editor of the popular book, City Cycling (2012, The MIT Press), will share his observations about the region’s current cycling boom along with a discussion about the potential for Washington, DC, to become the Bicycling Capital of the USA. He will discuss trends and determinants of cycling in the Washington, DC, region in relation to other successful cycling cities in North America and Europe, and offer an assessment of how Washington, DC, compares in terms of cycling levels, cycling safety, cycling infrastructure, bike parking, the integration of cycling with public transportation, and the promotion of cycling for all groups. Cities seeking to make city cycling feasible, convenient, and safe for commutes to work and school, shopping trips, visits, and other daily transportation will demand the coordination of infrastructure and the promotion of programs, and government policies.

Ralph Buehler, PhD, Associate Professor, Virginia Tech, is an Assistant Professor in Urban Affairs & Planning and a Faculty Fellow with the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech’s Alexandria Center.  Most of his research has an international comparative perspective, contrasting transport and land-use policies, transport systems, and travel behavior in Western Europe and North America. His research interests include: (1) the influence of transport policy, land use, socio-demographics on travel behavior; (2) active travel and public health; and (3) public transport demand, supply, and financial efficiency.


Shane Farthing is the Executive Director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and uses that position to combine and pursue interests in community outreach, transportation, sustainability, and urbanism. During his tenure at WABA, the organization has launched major outreach initiatives to expand mobility and affordable transportation east of the Anacostia River, address the gender gap in regional bicycling, and pursue next-generation protected bicycling infrastructure to make bicycling a mainstream transportation option for all.  During the same period WABA has also taught over 6,000 people how to ride a bike or how to ride a bike more safely, and hosted over 45,000 people on bikes at our various biking events and activities.

Prior to his work at WABA, Shane served as head of the Office of Green Economy and as Land Use & Development Coordinator at the District Department of the Environment.  Shane is a LEED accredited professional and possesses graduate degrees in law and public policy from George Washington University, where he has also been a Lecturer in transportation policy. 

Jaime Fearer joined the City of Greenbelt as a community planner in September 2011 and she has since focused on a number of projects, including working with Greenbelt’s Advisory Planning Board to complete the city’s Pedestrian and Bicyclist Master Plan, implementing Safe Routes to School street improvements at a local elementary school, securing a grant to complete a citywide bikeshare feasibility study in cooperation with M-NCPPC Prince George's County Planning Department, and working with county planners and the community on an updated Greenbelt Metro Area Sector Plan.

Since 2008, Jaime has contributed to the local transportation and planning advocacy blog, Greater Greater Washington, and she is now on the editorial board. A current member of WABA and the League of American Bicyclists, Jaime has taken a particular interest in getting more women and girls on bicycles, and has promoted events in the area through the Capital Spokeswomen group to do just that.

Christopher Zimmerman, Arlington County Board Member, has been an advocate of the County’s legacy of transit-oriented development and managed growth, and a proponent of the principles of the New Urbanism.  During his tenure on the Board, he has emphasized traffic calming and neighborhood conservation, transportation infrastructure, affordable housing, schools and programs for youth, economic development, public safety, protecting open space, and enhancing recreational facilities.  He has worked to improve transit service and to make Arlington more pedestrian-friendly.  He has devoted much of his effort to ensuring the availability of affordable housing in the County.  Regionally, Chris has worked to promote the concept of “smart growth” as the Washington area seeks to cope with the problems of traffic congestion and environmental pollution. 

Chris serves actively on the WMATA board, the VRE board, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, and the Transportation Planning Board. On the WMATA board, he pushed to invest in the system's future with the Metro Matters program, started the investment in upgrading to 8-car capacity, invested in new and clean buses, bringing down the average age of the bus fleet. He advocated installing bike racks on all Metrobuses.

6:00 – 6:30 PM  Arrive early to meet Faculty if you have any questions about becoming a graduate student in Urban Affairs and Planning (UAP)

Light refreshments will be served

Read the Christian Science Monitor article The Bike Boom here.

Have questions about “Making the National Capital Region the Next Cycling Capital of the USA: Opportunities and Lessons from Home and Abroad,” A Lecture by Professor Ralph Buehler? Contact MI+SPIA

When & Where

Virginia Tech Research Center, East/West Falls Church Room
900 N Glebe Rd
Arlington, VA 22203

Thursday, September 12, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT)

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MI+SPIA is a joint research venture between the Metropolitan Institute of Virginia Tech and Virginia Tech's School of Public and International Affairs.

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