bike lanes“Building the Mid-Sized Cycling City” will draw on the Dutch experience with active transportation Tuesday, April 26.

Cycling experts to wheel in lessons from Dutch experience

Much has been written about the multi-modal successes of Dutch cities and towns, where walking, cycling, and public transit — often in combination with each other — have been the dominant modes of transport for nearly 50 years.

Now Windsor can draw on lessons from the Netherlands, hearing urban mobility advocates Melissa and Chris Bruntlett discuss the benefits of sustainable transport to inspire happier, healthier, human-scale cities, and how the Dutch developed this culture and infrastructure.

Canadians now based in the Netherlands, the Bruntletts have written two books, Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality and Curbing Traffic: the Human Case for Fewer Cars in our Lives. They have worked with municipalities of all sizes around the world, including the Ontario cities of Guelph, Hamilton, Sarnia, and Waterloo.

They will present their online lecture “Building the Mid-Sized Cycling City” at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 26, on the Zoom videoconferencing platform. The webinar is free and open to the public; find more information and register here.

Two events will follow: a group bike ride at 6 p.m. from the Bike Kitchen to Sandwich Brewing Company for a reception to start at 6:30 p.m.

The conversation will continue Tuesday, May 17, with a three-hour workshop for employees of the City of Windsor and County of Essex.

Engaging municipal staff is important to advancing this cause says Anneke Smit, director of the Centre for Cities, which organized the sessions in collaboration with the Windsor Essex County Environment Committee and with the support of Bike Windsor Essex, the Dutch Cycling Embassy, WE-Spark Health Institute, and the City of Windsor.

“We’re really trying to avoid just bringing in experts for the one-and-done approach, but rather to make it a proper engagement that allows for proper knowledge sharing,” she says. “The preparation and inclusion of Dutch cycling infrastructure experts in this part of the engagement is really important to me and to how we work in the community.”