National bicycle and pedestrian expert, Michael Ronkin, was yesterday’s keynote speaker at the Michigan Transportation Planning Association and Michigan Association of Regions conference titled “Planning for Change in an Uncertain World.” The 34th annual conference started on July 13 and will conclude on the 16 and is being held in East Lansing.

Yesterday’s speakers focused entirely on designing walkable and bike-able communities.  Rory Neuner, State Network Manager for the Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership presented on Complete Streets while League of Michigan Bicyclists’ Executive Director Rich Moeller presented a Bikeability Assessment Guide for communities.  Additionally, Meridian Township Treasurer, July Brixie highlighted her communities new Bicycle Parking Ordinance while MDOT’s Josh DeBruyn debunked liability concerns many communities have about putting in pedestrian and bicycle facilities.  The nonmotorized sessions were rounded out by Dave Morena who discussed Road Diets and Wes Butch of DLZ Corp talked about roundabouts and the need to balance pedestrian mobility against motorist safety.

Following these breakout sessions, Tim Potter, manager of MSU Bikes Service Center, led a group of about 15 bikers on a tour across campus and through E. Lansing and Lansing.

The group of bikers included not only Ronkin and Potter, but also a number of engineers, planners and politicians.  Rich Moeller, Executive Director of the League of Michigan Bicyclists, said “It’s different when you see it by bike versus in your car,” “It’s hands-on (and) it allows them to get on their bike and see some of the issues bicyclists are facing. It helps them as planners and engineers to design things.”

A short interview with Michael Ronkin was featured in today’s State News.

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