Quickly: Mia Birk responds to allegations of “tainted” bike sharing process


Mia Birk speaks to guests at the Active Transportation Alliance gala and fundraiser on October 13, 2011. Photo by Kelley Ryan. 

From BikePortland.org:

Alta Bicycle Share is a subsidiary of Alta Planning + Design, an engineering consultancy whose president, Mia Birk, is the former bike program manager for the City of Portland. Birk, who’s also a principal of Alta Bicycle Share, responded to Squire’s allegations over the weekend. She says there’s no substance behind Squire’s allegations whatsoever.

In a statement to BikePortland, Birk wrote that her company won the bid “fair and square”:

“Alta Bicycle Share, Inc. competed fair and square in a highly competitive process. We are honored to have been selected based on our qualifications and experience launching and operating bike share systems in Melbourne, Arlington VA, Washington, DC, and Boston. At this time, we are focused on contract negotiations and launch preparation to bring Chicago a world-class bike share system in support of the City’s goals.”

Read the full article or our coverage of bike sharing in Chicago.

Portland’s Mia Birk gives Chicago a pep talk on handling the bike lane backlash


Mia Birk – photo by Serge Lubomudrov

Last week Steven and I attended Active Transportation Alliance’s 25th anniversary celebration, where we heard legendary transportation guru Mia Birk deliver an inspiring speech to the crowd of city officials, transportation planners and advocates. Birk helped turn Portland, Oregon, into a cycling Mecca when she served as bike coordinator there in the 1990s and now heads Alta Planning + Design, specializing in biking, walking and trails projects.

Birk gave a warning about the media backlash that is likely to result as Chicago implements Mayor Emanuel’s plan to construct 100 miles of protected bike lanes (and launch a large-scale bike share system and build the Bloomingdale Trail and Navy Pier Flyover). She also offered some words of encouragement about how to deal with this criticism.

Continue reading Portland’s Mia Birk gives Chicago a pep talk on handling the bike lane backlash

Moving words at Active Transportation Alliance’s 25th anniversary gala


Steven, Bike and Roll Chicago’s Josh Squire and John (note that the signs were compulsory, so our journalistic credibility should be intact). Photo by Serge Lubomudrov.

Last week dozens of key players in Chicago’s sustainable transportation scene gathered under one roof at the Illinois Institute of Technology (3241 S Federal St) to help Active Transportation Alliance (formerly Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) celebrate 25 years of advocacy.

Joining them was U.S. Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary Polly Trottenberg, there to accept Active Trans’ Extra Mile Award to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for his leadership in providing safety initiatives and sustainable transportation to local communities. Also in attendance were two legendary transportation gurus: Mia Birk from Alta Planning + Design in Portland, Oregon, and “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz from Sam Schwartz Engineering in NYC.

It was an inspiring celebration and a terrific opportunity for Steven and me to network and learn more about local initiatives. While the $150-a-plate price tag was understandable for an upscale fundraising dinner for Active Trans, it was a bit steep for a couple of humble bloggers. Fortunately, Ben H. and Suzanne C. generously offered us seats at their tables so we could report on the event for you.

Continue reading Moving words at Active Transportation Alliance’s 25th anniversary gala