A brief reflection on a month to remember

I knew it would pass quickly, but I had no idea just how fast the time would “speed” by. Perhaps it was the intense schedule, or the few hours of daylight, or the effect of moving from one country to the next, or the constant feeling that I was behind on my blog posts. But, as I remember the many faces of people I had the privilege to meet in Munich, Rotterdam, Copenhagen and Malmo, I realize just how much I’ve learned in such a short period of time. When you have the right guide(s), it is incredible how intimately you can get to know four cities in just four weeks.

Sure, it will take some time to process all the observations and thoughts swimming about in my mind. But even now, I realize this experience has impacted me. It has opened my mind to four totally different worlds. I didn’t discover any utopian dream lands where cars, trucks, bikes, buses, people and places coexist in perfect harmony. No, I found something better – real places where lessons learned (both good and bad) have shaped the urban streetscape. Places where people have spent decades testing solutions to move people in a way that not only gets them around efficiently but also gets them to stay.

Thank you to everyone I met during my travels, all those who followed this blog (especially those who shared their comments), the German Marshall Fund, and most of all my supportive family. All good things come to an end…but I hope this will prove to be just the start.

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About Denver Igarta

This blog was established to document my search for streets that my 5-year old can play near without my constant supervision. Where kids can live active lives and learn independence. My quest began when I was selected as an Urban and Regional Policy Fellow by the German Marshall Fund, for info: gmfus.org/cdp/fellowships. I am a multi-modal transportation planner for the City of Portland (OR), America's sustainable transportation capital. SHORT BIO/PROJECT DESCRIPTION Denver Igarta (October-November 2011), Urban Planner, City of Portland Bureau of Transportation Project: Livable Streets Where People Live: Fostering People-Friendly Streets by De-emphasizing Automobile Traffic in Residential Areas Cities: Munich, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Malmö Denver Igarta is an urban planner with the Transportation Bureau of the City of Portland. He works on a broad range of transportation policy, street design initiatives and pedestrian, bicycle and freight planning efforts. He recently served as one of the principal authors of Portland's new bicycle plan. He is currently staffing two “active transportation” projects: a rails-with-trails project along the Banfield Freeway and a local street system plan for one of the state's most diverse neighborhoods. He performed his graduate studies at the University of Dortmund, Germany and the University of the Philippines and holds a Master of Science in Regional Development Planning. Portland is struggling to reverse generations of auto-oriented development patterns and make neighborhood streets more “livable” (people-friendly) by restoring their multimodal and placemaking functions. Mr. Igarta's research will evaluate how cities in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden have enacted policies to restore the multiple functions of public streets through traffic management, green infrastructure and giving priority to sustainable travel modes. He will meet with local practitioners, policymakers and civic leaders involved in transportation planning, traffic safety and neighborhood livability projects, street design, and implementation of multi-modal traffic policies. The ultimate aim of the study is to compile a set of best practices and policies implemented in European cities that have broadened the role of residential streets beyond automobile mobility. Additional focus will be given to understanding how acceptable policy tradeoffs are determined within city agencies and the level of public support for measures that restrict car movements, such as reduced speed zones, bicycle streets, shared spaces, residents-only streets and residential parking restrictions.
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One Response to A brief reflection on a month to remember

  1. Marie Johnson says:

    thanks for sharing your adventure and your observations. it’s been inspiring, informative and fun!

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