Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Eh, brah, got bike?

BFC Fall2014 HonoluluandCounty  1  
Congrats to Honolulu. These things take time and long term dedication.

In the mid 1990's the Hawaii Bicycling League (HBL) revamped and revitalized its advocacy and government affairs capabilities. In the late '90's, the Bicycle Federation of America folks from Washington, DC, led by Bill Wilkinson,arrived to advise the increasingly pro-bike city government on how to develop a bike plan. HBL operatives almost literally kidnapped the Bike Fed folks the weekend they arrived, beating the city administrators to them, tossing them on borrowed bikes, and leading them on a tour through the major transportation routes through downtown Honolulu to give them the lay of the land from the viewpoint of the saddle. My good friend Tom Fee, then a partner (and now president of) the urban planning firm Helber, Hastert, and Fee, worked with Bike Fed, HBL, and the City (including Bicycle Coordinator Chris Sayers, who has to be one of the longest running bike coordinators on the planet) to research and write the first Honolulu Bike Plan, published in 1999. A second, drastically revised version, was recently completed. The new bike planning program integrates cycling with Honolulu's new train system and as Tom Fee just emailed me "puts a lot more on the books" as far as formalizing how cycling fits into the city's transportation infrastructure. This stuff takes time.
I moved here from Honolulu in 2001 as the first phase of all this was unfolding. My job was as president of the Hawaii Bicycling League, trying to keep all this stuff pointed in the right direction from the standpoint of advocacy. Far more competent folks filled my shoes working with Tom, the city, and others, and that bronze is a tribute to their efforts and persistence, to LAB for recognizing good work, and to the City and County for taking this dead seriously. A tip of my hat in particular goes to Chris Sayers, who has been the hard working point man as Honolulu's bike coordinator since my early years there, Chad Tanaguchi, who has led HBL, and Tom Fee, who has dogged this as a professional planner from the get go. I'm sure others need recognition as well. Chris, Chad, and Tom, the next beers are for you. A celestial thank you goes to the since departed Eve DeCoursey, the E.D. of HBL back when we were bootstrapping all this stuff on a wing and a prayer. Eve, take a look down here and smile. You deserve it.
The late Eve DeCoursey, former Hawaii state cycling champion (USCF), first exec director of HBL, and all around good person

A tip of the brain bucket and that shaka below is for all who made that happen, and what we can do when we put our minds and hearts to it. As some of you can imagine, I've not been this tickled since the Bills won the AFL championship in 1965. Woo-hoo.
From one hotspot volcano to another, cycling rules....

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