Bike FRIENDLY Place of the Week: Democratic National Convention
Last week, as part of my "Bike Unfriendly Place of the Week" series I took a look at the bike planning at the Democratic National Convention. Local press reports were dire, noting that bike racks near the Pepsi Center would be closed down as part of the Secret Service’s security perimeter. However, after thinking it over during the weekend, I realized I may have had a "can’t see the forest for the trees" moment; after all the advocacy group Bikes Belong has arranged for a free bike share program for each host city during the convention. Instead of focusing on the negative, I could have looked at how the bike share program will work around the Secret Service’s security concerns.
Upon closer review, it appears that bikes will integrate with the convention pretty well. Thanks to the efforts of Bikes Belong and the openness of the DNC, the 1,000 free rental bikes being provided by Bikes Belong will have plenty of places to safely park throughout Downtown Denver and especially the convention center. The bike rack at the transit hub across the street referenced in press reports will be supplemented by a temporary bike shelter holding roughly 250 bikes. In total, there will be eight temporary racks around the city. Two of them will hold 250 bikes and another six will hold 100 bikes each.
As for access to Obama’s big speech at the Invesco Field? Details are still being worked out. The Senator’s idea to give his acceptance speech at the local football stadium instead of the local basketball arena, came up quickly so the transportation plan is still being worked out.
Bikes Belong hopes that all participants in the convention take advantage of the free bike sharing program be they delegate, elected official or even nominee. Bikes will also be available to any local wishing to try a little two-wheeled travel while the convention is in town. Avery Stonich, Bikes Belong’s Communications Director, sums up the feelings of the bike community in Denver, "People will remember that bikes were a part of this year’s conventions long after we forget where the security lines were drawn."
In short, it’s a bummer the Secret Service is blocking off the Pepsi Center’s bike racks; but overall this could be the most bike-friendly political convention ever. That is, if it’s not topped by the Republican National Convention next month. According to Stonovich, similar efforts are underway to make bikes a part of the RNC in Minnesota next month.