Penalosa and Pucher to discuss cycling, walking for sustainable cities, October 4

September 20, 2013

The Bloustein School’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center will present a discussion, Cycling and Walking for Healthy, Sustainable and Socially Just Cities, with internationally-recognized bicycling experts Guillermo ‘Gil’ Penalosa, Executive Director of the Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities, and John Pucher, professor of urban planning at the Bloustein School on Friday, October 4 at 3:00 p.m. It will be held in the Special Events Forum, Civic Square Building, 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, N.J. Following the lecture a question-and-answer session with the discussants will be moderated by Charles Brown, a senior research specialist at the Voorhees Transportation Center.

John Pucher

John Pucher

In his discussion, Cycling and Walking for EveryoneJohn Pucher argues that cycling and walking are the most environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable of all transport modes. As part of his lecture he will provide an international overview of cycling levels and trends among many different countries, noting that even technologically advanced countries with high per capita income and high levels of car ownership can have high levels of walking and cycling and much lower levels of car use than typical in the USA, Canada, and Australia. In the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark, for example, cycling and walking are safe, convenient, and feasible for virtually everyone, of all ages, abilities, and incomes, and for women as well as men.  He notes that this should be our goal in the USA as well:  to make cycling and walking possible for everyone.

During his talk Pucher will describe and illustrate a range of policies and programs necessary to make cycling and walking safe and convenient for daily travel, as it is the case in many European cities. Although much of the focus is on European success, Pucher will also provide specific examples of policies, program, and infrastructure in American and Canadian cities that have greatly increased cycling and walking levels while improving the safety of cycling and walking. He also emphasizes the need to reduce motor vehicle speeds through comprehensive traffic calming of residential neighborhood streets and to provide safe, comfortable, physically separated cycling facilities along major arterials, since most Americans will only ride a bike if protected from motor vehicle traffic.

Guillermo ‘Gil’ Penalosa

Guillermo ‘Gil’ Penalosa

Following Professor Pucher’s talk, Gil Penalosa will present Sustainable Mobility for Ages 8 to 80: Creating Vibrant and Healthy Cities for Everyone. He will discuss why safe infrastructure to walk and bike anywhere should be a right, as they are the only individual mode of mobility for many people, including all children and youth around the world. He will present the development of Ciclovia / Open Street international movement, focusing on the benefits of ciclovia as well as walking and cycling to mobility, public health, the environment, economic development and recreation and will discuss how walking, cycling and public transit are means the to the end to the creation of vibrant cities and healthy communities where residents will live happier.

Pucher has been a professor at Rutgers University since 1978, conducting research on transportation economics and finance, urban travel behavior, transportation systems, and government policies in the United States, Australia, Canada, and Europe.  Over the past 15 years, his research has focused on walking and bicycling, and how to improve their safety and convenience for all age groups, for women as well as men, and for all levels of physical ability. He encourages walking and cycling for recreation as well as for practical trips to work, school, and shopping to increase physical activity and to help people toward healthier lifestyles. He has published three books and over 100 articles in academic and professional journals.  His most recent book with MIT Press is entitled “City Cycling.” Pucher has spent several years as a visiting professor at universities in Germany, the Czech Republic, Canada, and Australia, and recently returned to Rutgers University after spending the spring 2013 semester at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Passionate about cities for all people, regardless of social, economic or ethnic background, Penalosa advises decision makers and communities on how to create vibrant cities and healthy communities for all. His focus is the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as on sustainable mobility. As Executive Director of 8-80 Cities for the past six years, he has worked in over 130 different cities in all continents. As former Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation for the City of Bogotá, Colombia, he successfully led the design and development of over 200 parks of which Simón Bolívar, a 360 hectare park in the heart of the city is the best known; here he created the Summer Festival, with over 100 events in 10 days and more than 3 million people attending, making it the main annual recreational and cultural event in the country. His team also initiated the “new Ciclovia”— a program which sees over 1 million people walk, run, skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads every Sunday, and has been internationally recognized and emulated.

The event is open to the public. Registration is requested by visiting The first 100 registrants will receive an autographed copy of City Cycling at the reception* which immediately follows the event. Reception to be held immediately following the event, across the street at the Heldrich Hotel 10 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick. The reception is hosted by the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition. *Must be present at reception to receive book.

The event will be a kickoff to 2013 New Brunswick Ciclovia, taking place on Sunday, October 6. This event is a community collaboration and partnership of the City of New BrunswickNew Brunswick Tomorrow, Johnson & Johnson and Rutgers University.  Public outreach and program evaluation of this first-ever event for New Brunswick is funded in part by a grant fromTogether North Jersey. “Ciclovia” means opening the streets for residents by closing them to traffic along a special route, and on a specific day, so everyone can get outside and be active in a safe, friendly environment. It means using designated city streets to walk, bike, skate, dance, stroll and play without vehicles. Ciclovia started in Bogota, Colombia more than 30 years ago to give people an easy way to get up and get moving right outside their homes and in their own neighborhoods. Bringing this global movement to the streets of New Brunswick promotes active living for the entire community and is one of the first and the largest to date in New Jersey. Visit the New Brunswick Ciclovia website for more information.

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