The podcast this week is a conversation with Amy Brendmoen and Jessica Treat about their recent visit to Copenhagen Denmark. Amy Brendmoen is a City Coucilmember for Saint Paul’s Fifth Ward, which is made up of the Lake Como, North End and Railroad Island neighborhoods. Jessica Treat is the executive director for Saint Paul Smart Trips, which is a nonprofit that runs a bunch of different programs aimed at boosting walking, biking, and transit in Saint Paul.
They were both part of recent delegation from Saint Paul to visit Copenhagen to learn about urban design based around walking and biking, and we sat down in Amy’s office at City Hall to talk about their trip. As you probably know, Copenhagen is the world’s leading city for bicycle mode share, and Amy and Jessica had a lot of things to say about what they learned from meetings with the city’s planners and from their experiences traveling through Denmark and Sweden.
The link to the audio is here.
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I wrote to her to encourage her to look over the Streets Design Manual and see where it can be improved. I was surprised it wasn’t discussed in the interview.
It didn’t come up. Could have, though!
Great podcast. I was listening while doing something else so probably missed some of the best but there were several things that really stuck out like noting how law abiding Danes are, no right-on-red, how efficient bicycling is and how easy it was to just stop at the Botanical Gardens and not have to hunt for a parking space.
I think a big reason the Danes (and Dutch, Swiss, Austrians, …) are so much more law abiding is that their laws make sense. Their laws intersect with their beliefs. They don’t have a lot of nanny or vice laws like we do (and that most of us break) and their road designs and rules are more practical so you’re not tempted to constantly disobey them.
Hopefully they will sometime also get to experience Dutch bicycling infrastructure. There are a lot of similarities between Dutch and Copenhagen, but I think the big difference is how junctions/intersections are handled. Dutch design largely continues bicycle segregation through the junctions which feels (and is?) much safer than the way cycletracks kind of dump in to the middle of traffic in Copenhagen. This may also explain a big part of why Copenhagen has so much lower bicycle mode share than Amsterdam and other cities.
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