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Megan's Study Tour blog


Follow the exploits of ViaStrada's Megan Fowler on her North American Study Tour:

  • The all important preparations

    We thought that it's important for Megan to get into the spirit before she leaves for the United States.

    The all important preparationsThe all important preparations

  • The adventure begins

    The adventure begins in Seattle (after a somewhat sleepless flight) with the NACTO (National Association of City Transport Officials) Designing Cities conference. With over 800 participants, I was expecting everything to be super-sized in comparison to IPENZ Transportation Group conference... I wasn't disappointed on that front, but was also pleasantly surprised with a gentle kick-off.

  • Seattle - Home of Starbucks and superstar engineers

    After enjoying a stunning conference, I had the highlight of my trip yesterday afternoon, which was spent with Dongho Chang, Seattle's chief traffic engineer. After all that I've seen here so far, I had a lot of questions about how they choose their various treatments and what the legal implications are. For example, I've been surprised to find that Seattle (and other places in the USA) operate filter-turning of motor vehicles across two-way protected bike lanes with filter turning, giving only a head-start to cyclists.

  • Vancouver's protected network

    Once again today I was blown away by being so generously welcomed by some talented and experienced (and, no doubt, busy) practitioners. I met with David Rawsthorne and Mike Anderson from the City of Vancouver along with Gavin Davidson from Alta Planning and Design. We met at Alta and someone made the mistake of asking me if I had any questions. An hour or so later, we were ready to ride!

  • People who cycle

    Today I changed tack a little in my investigations and, instead of talking to people in charge of designing facilities, I talked to a couple who use them. I didn't just find some randoms, though - I met with Chris and Melissa Bruntlett, who I think must be Vancouver's most famous people on bikes. I first came across them speaking at the 2014 New Zealand walking and cycling conference. I found their story inspiring and challenging, and was pleased for the opportunity to meet them in person in their home cycling-ground.

  • Cycling a mile-high in Denver

    In Denver, it's not the hills that get you, it's the altitude! I was glad someone warned me about the effect of moving around in the "mile high city" so I wasn't too surprised about puffing to get to the top of a hill that Seattlites (yes, that's what they call the folk from Seattle) would scoff at.

  • Chicago!

    I've been extremely grateful for the warm receptions I've received at all the cities I've visited so far, but the folk at Chicago have taken that beyond the next level. One of my main reasons for wanting to come here was to talk with Nate Roseberry, who I saw present on an APBP webinar from a few years back.

  • All go in Toronto

    I've been told that Torontonians don't let the weather get in the way of their daily life. I can attest to that from my site visits on Monday, as I was definitely not the only person on a bike whilst the proverbial cats and dogs were raining down. I was also told that what I experienced was tame; like Denver and Chicago, Toronto also has a significant helping of snow during winter time, and thus cycleways need to be designed with snow removal and freeze-thaw cycles in mind.

  • Boston (and Somerville, and Cambridge)

    If I had a dollar for every time I've recited the "litany" of my destinations (Seattle-Vancouver-Denver-Chicago-Toronto-Boston-New York), well, I could probably add another stop to my itinerary.  Although, I was been slightly unsettled a few times while in North America when someone has listened to my recital and then responded "why Boston?!?"

  • New York - city of flashing (yellow) lights

    My final destination - New York, New York (note: since I've had Frank Sinatra in my head for the last five days, I seriously considered writing this blog to his tune, but decided to spare you). The flashing lights here are not limited to Broadway - the NYC Department of Transport has joined the party and started operating flashing yellow arrows at certain signalised intersections.