Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bicycle Commute Challenge Day 14 - Biking in the Dark, with Luggage

Biking in the Maas tunnel (Rotterdam) is like the view I had this morning.

The darker days are upon us, especially when you leave the house at 5 AM. I had to leave this early to get to the airport for a trip to Montreal as I am an invited speaker at McGill University. I thought twice about commuting by bike with my luggage, but when I thought about it, I packed lighter, had a bag that I could wear on my back and realized I wasn't keeping to the spirit of the Bicycle Commute Challenge if I didn't try something new.

There was another trip when I was considering biking to PDX, but I decided against it because it seems like a bad idea to get sopping wet and then board a plane close to others that won't appreciate a neighbor dripping on them.

The trip to Montreal will provide some great ideas for my work. I am speaking as a guest of the Transportation Research at McGill Group. They have done a wide variety of work and have a history as one of the premeire universities in Canada and North America for that matter.

Montreal has been long mentioned among the most beautiful cities in North America and they have done some great work with bike signals and are very progressive with transportation policy. They recently reduced their speed limits on residential facilities from 50 km/hr to 40 km/hr (sound familiar?) and have a fabulous transportation plan. Montreal was recently named one of the most bike friendly cities (#8) on the planet by Copenhagenize, and they have bikesharing company Bixi as a hometown industry (much like we have Alta).

I am meeting with City officials to discuss the various investments they have made in the transportation sysytem, seeking ways to be more freight friendly at the same time while we invest in our bicycle network.

I also just learned about a meeting with representatives from Velo Quebec, their version of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance or the Dutch Cycling Federation.

I am especially interested in my host's recent research, Ahmed El-Geneidy's recent research on transit operations and cycling. He did some great work while at Portland State University and it will be nice to catch up with him on his recent efforts.
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