An estimated 1,000 city planners, transportation engineers, public health advocates, elected officials, and community leaders are expected to attend The Pro Walk/ Pro Bike/ Pro Place Conference beginning Monday, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, and some appropriately will arrive by bike.
The conference, in its eighteenth year, will commence with a celebratory eight-mile ride into the city from the historic Pump House in Homestead. Bikers not attending the conference are encouraged to take part in the ride. Riders will have the opportunity to travel, and meet with fellow cyclists and professionals in the transportation industry.
Representatives of one of the host organizations, Nelson\ Nygaard, are biking from Washington D.C. to the conference, and will meet up with delegates from the Adventure Cycling Association in Cumberland, Maryland who will join the journey to Pittsburgh.
Ginny Sullivan, the Travel Director of Adventure Cycling says the conference is a way for individuals to come together and discuss how to make the nation more accessible.
“So we really focus on not just biking and walking, but creating communities where people really want to live and spend time.”
Zabe Bent a principal and participating cyclist at Nelson\ Nygaard says this will be a great way to promote cycling.
“I’m also really looking forward to connecting with some average folks on that last leg, and hoping to introduce cycling to folks as a new way of experience. It doesn’t have to be like every day you become an advit cyclist, but it’s fun.”
The conference will feature more than one-hundred breakout sessions and panel discussions outlining the latest trends, research, and best practices to help improve and expand human-powered transportation.
Sullivan says she is confident the nation is in moving the right direction.
“We have a long way to go in the United States but I think more and more people sharing these best practices, and having opportunities to network, and learn from each other gives us an opportunity to really meet some big audacious goals.”
Cycling and walking can be for everyone, and that is the message Bent hopes to convey by cycling from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh.
“One of the reasons that I wanted to do this was to show people that we can do this. In particular as a black woman, a lot of people don’t really see black women biking around, but there certainly are some of us. I hope it will encourage other people to step outside of their normal.”
The conference will continue through Thursday, September 11, and is open to the public.