It give me great pleasure to announce this year’s spring event:
I could hardly be more excited.
This spring, Professor Lee Hardy of Calvin College (my alma mater) will take us on a fascinating ride through the streets of Amsterdam and Copenhagen, two of the world’s leading cities for bicycling.
Professor Hardy’s inspiring multimedia presentation demonstrates how these cities make way for people on bikes and help them get around in a way that’s fun, easy, and affordable – for everyone!
After he answers your questions, we’ll turn our attention to our own community here in Holland, Michigan. Elisa Hoekwater, author of the greater Holland region’s new non-motorized plan, will offer a brief update on where things stand around here. Your input is welcome!
Delicious cookies and coffee from Simpatico Coffee will be available for you to enjoy.
The event will be held in Fourteenth Street Christian Reformed Church’s brand-spanking-new fellowship room. It’s cozy in the best kind of way, and you’re going to love it.
Join us on Saturday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m. to celebrate Bikes in Holland!
Tickets are $10 and are available online now!
Few things are ever accomplished by one person working alone.
I need YOUR help! Here’s what you can do:
E-mail a friend today. Take just a second right now to copy this link – http://wp.me/p2MikN-BQ – and send it to a friend. It will bring them to this page, so they can read about this great event for themselves.
Join the Event Team. There’s still plenty to do, from publicity to event set-up to considering ways to help these ideas gain traction in our community.
Put us in contact with potential sponsors. I would still like to have a few more sponsors to help underwrite this event. Our primary sponsorship levels range from $50 to $250, and we also have a low-cost ticket sponsorship option.
And of course, buy your own tickets right away! Here’s the link again:
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or for more information. This is going to be so much fun – I hope to see you there!
The first Saturday afternoon of Tulip Time, I went for a walk downtown along with about 14,000 of my closest friends.
Here’s what 8th Street looked like from the crosswalk:
(These pictures all need to be cropped, but I don’t know how to do that from my phone yet. So scroll through that sky…at least it’s finally blue!)
And in the other direction:
And the sidewalks looked like this:
I just ran across this article that describes a Dutch “woonerf” (pronounced VONE-erf) again today. A woonerf is a very small shared street that is intended for people, bicycles, and occasionally cars traveling at walking speed only. It looks like this:
8th Street is a little bit like a woonerf during busy times, with speeds for all practical purposes limited to walking speed. (The same thing happened during the ice-sculpting competition this winter.) Of course, that begs the question: If it’s too busy for people in cars to be able to move faster than walking speed, then why are we choosing an option that has one or two people (in a car) taking the space of twenty people (on foot)? It’s polluting, it doesn’t allow emergency vehicles to get through, AND it’s inefficient.
There’s no great conspiracy afoot, I’m sure, but the problem is that in spite of our Dutch roots… well, we’re still pretty American. And it doesn’t really occur to us Americans to just up and close roads to cars. Most of the time that doesn’t even make sense; there are plenty of failed pedestrian malls dotting our nation that attest to that (and in the case of Muskegon, an almost completely razed downtown). But I think it’s fair to say that Tulip Time traffic is Too Much of a Good Thing. And we haven’t even talked about what it’s like after the parades, or the woman in a wheelchair I saw attempting to traverse four-lane River Street by the library, or any of the pedestrian near-misses I’m sure many of us witnessed. WHY are we requiring our guests to play Frogger with traffic?
So… what if we could turn that around? What if Tulip Time didn’t have to be traffic hell?
What if we prioritized travel by bike and on foot during the festival? What if we encouraged people to bring their bikes and park their cars well out of town? What if we created even temporary bike lanes for them? What if 8th Street were only open to non-motorized traffic and a shuttle… And what if we expanded that to include a network of downtown streets that would easily and safely let people get to their destinations sans automobile? What if we funded a shuttle that would run between all the major Tulip Time venues and would come every five minutes? What if we sat down on May 12 (the day after Tulip Time ends this year) and made a 20-year plan to cut Tulip Time traffic in half by 2033? It would be a 180-degree shift from where we are now – but that’s okay! The world is changing, and this is a completely do-able endeavor.
Crazy talk, I know, but let’s talk crazy for a while. What do you think? Since I’ve yet to meet the neighbor whose favorite part of Tulip Time is the traffic, let’s assume that traffic reduction is a worthy goal. What would you suggest to make that happen? Feel free to either comment below or over on our Facebook page. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say!
Try something new for Green Commute Week – bike, bus, or feet – and win a prize! More details HERE!