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Planning Department Features Bike Expert in Speaker Series

The county planning department's next featured speaker will talk about linking transportation policies with bicycle use. The free public lecture takes place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9.

As bicycling becomes a more popular form of transit, planners must look for ways to incorporate safe bicycle routes into existing urban fabric.

The Montgomery County Planning Department's next featured speaker, Virginia Tech Professor Ralph Buehler, will address the topic Tuesday. Buehler's talk, "Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from Europe and North America," will link transportation and land-use policies with bike use, according to a planning department news release.

"Co-editor of the recently published book City Cycling, Buehler will report on cycling trends and policies in North American, European and Australian cities and tie those to how planners and local government officials can promote cycling in their communities," according to the release.

"In his book and classes, Buehler contends that cycling should not be limited to those who are highly trained, extremely fit and daring enough to battle traffic on busy roads. His presentation will describe ways to make cycling feasible, convenient and safe for commutes to work and school, shopping and other daily transportation needs," the release added.

Buehler's presentation will cover cycling safety, bike pathways and bike parking, integrating cycling with public transportation and promoting cycling for everyone.

The talk takes place during a tough time for Montgomery County's bicyclists and pedestrians: Five pedestrians and one bicyclist have died in the county so far this year, Montgomery County Patch websites reported in a map. In all, 14 pedestrian and one bicyclist incidents have been reported in the county since the start of the year, Silver Spring Patch reported.

In Congress, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D—Maryland District 8), was one of 68 members who sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last month calling for more action from the agency to protect pedestrians and cyclists, Silver Spring Patch added.

"Federal law requires states to set performance goals in order to reduce roadway fatalities and serious injuries and has offered rewards to states that meet their goals," the letter stated.

And, with Capital Bikeshare set to roll out in Montgomery County this year, Patch reported, planning for bicyclists' safety will become more important than ever.

Buehler is assistant professor of urban affairs and planning and a faculty fellow with the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech in Alexandria, VA. Originally from Germany, Buehler focuses his research on comparing transportation and land-use policies in Western Europe and North America, and on how policies affect travel behavior.

Buehler's lecture is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, in the auditorium of the Park and Planning Headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring). The lecture is free of charge. Continuing education credits (1.5 hours) may be earned by planning professionals attending the lecture. 

Learn more about the planning department's speaker series at the department's website.

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