As another weekend comes to an end, for about 30 people it’s also the end of another rewarding “CAN Do” National Cycling Summit here in Christchurch. Based at the new Whareora building at CPIT, the delegates were treated to a wide variety of speakers and ideas presented.
The programme for the weekend kicked off with a welcome from City Councillor Phil Clearwater followed by an entertaining and informative keynote presentation from Prof Simon Kingham (Uni of Canterbury) that reminded us all of the sense of investing in cycling. A broader discussion then followed with a panel (including Phil and Simon) looking at how to apply some of those lessons to cities around NZ.
The CAN Do is not all about talk however; there’s always a chance to also explore the local neighbourhood as well. A guided ride on Saturday took everyone from town out to Ilam and back, showing off some cycleways past, present and future.
Saturday afternoon also saw a public open session at CPIT where people could try out putting their bike on a bus bike-rack, get their bikes checked over by the RAD Bikes team, or even try out a few interesting cargo bikes and electric e-bikes.
The summit continued with some interesting discussions over how to deal with the perennial problem of removing car-parking when building cycleways. A common theme seemed to be to re-frame the conversation so that it was about optimising parking across the whole city, and even making it easier to find a car-park. San Francisco was cited as a good example of how they have turned around the parking debate – and been able to fit in cycleways too.
Other topics also dealt with how local communities can take advantage of the $100 million Urban Cycleways Fund currently being contested. NZTA national Cycling Manager Dougal List was on hand to explain the beauty of the Urban Cycleways Fund – invest $1 locally in cycling and get a further $2 from central Govt. There were also reports on recent meetings between CAN and the new Transport Ministers. It sounds like there is a lot more enthusiasm from the current political masters to see cycling play a greater role in transport (and to provide some money for it).
Green MP Kevin Hague joined the summit on Sunday and discussed how the NZ Cycle Trail programme could also tie in with urban cycleways. There’s been a huge level of public support for the cycle trails around the country, and now those same people are wanting to also ride their bikes around town. That public support has filtered through to the politicians; hence we’re seeing the current level of investment in cycling. Kevin also provided his thoughts and experiences on using social media to get your message out there – very useful insights.
Overall this year’s CAN Do covered a lot of ground and provided plenty of inspiration for the attendees. It was also another great opportunity to catch up on old friends from around the country and to make a few new ones. Missed this year’s Summit? Next year’s event will be held in Hamilton.
Did you attend the CAN Do? What did you think?