State Bike summit coming to Cleveland

By KAITLIN GEBBY
Posted 8/30/19

Cleveland was recently announced as the location of the 2020 Bike Walk Tennessee Summit, which will bring more than 100 engineers, planners and elected officials to town in the spring. Bike Walk …

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State Bike summit coming to Cleveland

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Cleveland was recently announced as the location of the 2020 Bike Walk Tennessee Summit, which will bring more than 100 engineers, planners and elected officials to town in the spring. 

Bike Walk Tennessee is a statewide organization focused on teaching bicycle safety for all ages. The nonprofit also promotes walking and biking as a means of transportation.

At the Cleveland chapter, chairman Gina Simpson visits local schools to teach bicycle safety and maintenance to students. She is also working with the City of Cleveland to establish a bike share program downtown as well as bicycle racks. 

Traditionally, the summit is hosted in “big cities,” like Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis and Nashville, Simpson said. 

By hosting the event in Cleveland, Simpson said it will break the status quo for the summit and allow officials to observe the feasibility of alternate transportation in a mid-size city. 

“Cleveland hosting the Summit will give us exposure on the state level to planners, engineers, elected officials, and TDOT representatives.  We will be able to showcase the Greenway, our downtown, the historic neighborhoods, Lee University, Blythe Bower neighborhood and other areas of town where great work is going on to improve walking and biking,” she said. 

Simpson said she expects the two-day summit to start on a Thursday in April with a group bike ride on Thursday and a main conference on Friday.

An official date and venue for the summit remains undecided, but “several local venues are being evaluated,” she said. 

In the meantime, Simpson welcomes local comment from Cleveland and Bradley County residents so officials have a clear picture of what their focus will be going into the summit next year. 

“Bike Walk Cleveland wants to hear from all citizens of Bradley county and citizens of Cleveland about the issues they encounter when trying to walk and bike around their neighborhood and places of employment,” she said.

“Our goal is that everyone will have a one mile radius around where they live and work that they feel comfortable walking and riding inside. We hope that more people will choose to use active transportation inside that mile radius to get to goods and services and to just connect to their community.” 

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