In May, the Cycling Embassy of Denmark hosted a masterclass in Copenhagen for urban planners of the organisation EMBARQ from Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, its headquarters in Washington, and their partners from Turkish municipalities.
By Lotte Bech, Urban Cycle Planning
The aim was to inspire and qualify EMBARQ’s planners and partners to incorporate cycling into their urban projects. EMBARQ assists public authorities in sustainable urban planning and mobility in projects for new urban areas and urban renewal, where the challenges are to develop and strengthen a cycle culture based on the existing infrastructure. The goal of the masterclass was to take inspiration from the Danish cycle culture and turn that into useful solutions in the cities where EMBARQ is working.
Cycle Lanes alone are not enough
Cüneyt Cetintas from the Transportation Department of Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality in Turkey described how the masterclass provided insight into municipal cycle planning in his specific situation:
“We had constructed about 32 km of cycle lanes of good quality but only a few cyclists were using them. The masterclass helped me to understand the nature of the bicycle world. I understood that constructing a very good cycle network is not enough to make people cycle. Cycling has to be incorporated into daily life as a culture. As Gehl Architects said: “It is not just hardware or software. Cycle culture is both of them.” Besides making master plans we have to think about what is going on in the city. How does the city move? How are people living their lives and what do they actually need to get a livable city?”
A political agenda
The program was tailored to EMBARQ’s wishes and needs with particular emphasis on road safety, design of cycle infrastructure and political processes and commitment. Participants were especially interested in the politics of cycling and met with Morten Kabell, Mayor of the Technical and Environmental Administration in the City of Copenhagen, who spoke about the political agenda for the city.
The masterclass was organised by the Danish Cyclists’ Federation with Lotte Bech from their International Committee as course leader. A number of experts carried out the teaching through lectures, discussions, hands-on workshops with practical exercises, and site visits. They also created a knowledge base with tools on cycle planning available for all masterclass participants to support future planning. Experts included members of the Cycling Embassy of Denmark: City of Copenhagen, Gehl Architects, consulting group COWI, and the Danish Cyclists’ Federation as well as other partners: Aalborg University Copenhagen, Copenhagen Traffic Police, and Consia Consultants.
Road Safety: a key issue
Participants were delighted with the thorough review of road safety and design of a cycling infrastructure. As Nicolae Dudutas from EMBARQ, Washington, said: “What I appreciated the most about the masterclass was the opportunity to meet and work with experts in cycle infrastructure design. We were able to address very important issues in great detail: how to handle conflicts involving left turning cyclists at intersections for example, or how to negotiate conflicts between buses, cyclists and passengers at bus stops.”
The participants also got to experience Copenhagen as urban cyclists as they, of course, cycled to class every day – about 4 km. Thus, they joined the many commuters who cycle to work or their place of education in Copenhagen (41% of the commuters in fact!). As one of the participants put it: “First of all, it was fun riding the bike, but also witnessing the well-designed network of bicycle infrastructure and actually see and learn from a world class integration of cycling in urban transport was an invaluable experience.”
Positive evaluations might mean more masterclasses
Evaluations show that both participants and teachers were very satisfied. The participants demonstrated commitment and enthusiasm and evaluated their benefits from the masterclass as very relevant for their work. It is safe to assume that future participants will also find this course relevant to their specific work.
For more information about the masterclass, please visit www.cycling-embassy/bikeable-city-masterclass or contact the secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.