Congratulations and THANKS to Paul Harden of the EDC, Brad Read of Sail Newport and the entire America's Cup World Series Host Committee and subcommittees for the amazing success of the ACWS event in Newport. Dozens of people and businesses worked together to pull off this event that demonstrates what Newport can do. Brilliant! And we were proud to be part of the team.
Our hope from the start was to incorporate bicycling into the traffic and parking management plan and to promote bicycling as an enjoyable transportation option to Fort Adams. We built and launched a new web site and mobile phone app specifically to support cycling visitors, including maps, recommended routes and bike shops/support (check it out from your phone or computer at www.NewportBikeKiosk.com.) We planned and marked bicycle routes from satellite parking to Fort Adams. And we built enough bike racks to accommodate over 300 bicycles. We built it and THEY CAME.
I took a count on Saturday and estimated nearly 600 bicycles on site: 360 in the racks, more than 100 tied to the chains leading to the event entrance and room for another 40 that were not tied up at the time. That's an amazing number. And a wonderful indication of what is possible - how many people will choose a bike over a car given the opportunity and how bicycling can help reduce the summer traffic congestion in Newport.
We heard many comments, all positive, about having the bike racks on site. Thank yous upon thank yous. And a fair number of Copenhagen comparisons (!) And then the clincher: "Thanks to the water shuttles and bike racks, there was very little congestion on the roads to Fort Adams." That was our goal - and we did it.
Thanks to Brad Read and the America's Cup Host Committee, City Manager Jane Howington and her stellar team, Sergeant Chris Hayes and the officers of the Newport Police Department, Steve Heath and the sensational students of the East Bay Met School, our social media guru and superhero summer intern Andrew Carson, and most of all, all the cyclists who took us up on our invitation and rode to the America's Cup.
We'd love to post your story about bicycling to America's Cup. Please share your story here!
We look forward to working with the City to continue to improve the conditions for cycling in Newport and to encourage and support more cycling to all of our wonderful summer events. We hope you'll join us. If you don't feel quite ready to two-wheel it in traffic, we're there for you! Come to our first free community safe cycling class on Wed July 18 - open to all residents of Aquidneck Island. No charge - we're all in this together. More information and registration at www.bikenewportri.org. Cycle smart, cycle safe. (and cycle often!)