The 7th Annual NJ Bike & Walk Summit, organized by the NJBWC, took place this past February 27th. Held for the first time at Princeton University, it was a tremendous success, with 275 participants in attendance.
Keynote addresses from the Summit’s plenary speakers were engaging, inspiring, and informative. Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert discussed her town’s efforts to use bike and pedestrian initiatives to enhance residents’ safety and quality of life. League of American Bicyclists (LAB) Executive Director Alex Doty encouraged advocates to take joy in their efforts and embrace a spirit of optimism in the face of the many obstacles encountered. Barbara McCann of the USDOT, an acclaimed architect of the complete streets movement, gave a detailed presentation of the particulars involved in advancing bicycle and pedestrian policy initiatives. Also addressing the audience were Essex County Freeholder Vice President and NJBWC Board Member Brendan Gill and LAB Board Chair Karen Jenkins.
In addition to a plenary panel that introduced the concept of “green” parking, the Summit featured 20 different workshops and panel sessions. Topics covered a wide variety of issues including funding, equity, infrastructure projects, safe routes to schools, and strategies for more effective advocacy.
NJBWC Board Chair Brian Stolar and Executive Director Cyndi Steiner presented the 2016 Advocate of the Year Awards to Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli and Ocean City advocacy group Bike OCNJ. In a thoughtful acceptance speech, Mayor Lucarelli relayed a story of tragedy and triumph that began with the tragic death of Fair Haven Councilman Jerome Koch and continued into a successful push for safer roadways that resulted in Monmouth County partnering with municipalities to fund complete streets. Accepting the award on behalf of BikeOCNJ, Co-Chair Thomas Heist detailed their Seven Steps to Successful Bike Advocacy, actions that led to Ocean City becoming a model for the implementation of biking infrastructure.
Thank you to all the attendees, presenters, volunteers, and sponsors for making the 2016 NJ Bike & Walk Summit a truly outstanding event.