Walkability: The Politics and Payoff of Putting Walkability into Action
Former Mayors John Norquist of Milwaukee and RT Rybak of Minneapolis discussed the challenges and benefits of making cities more walkable and bike-able in a talk on May 4 at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates as part of The Tomorrow Plan 2016 Speaker Series. Norquist’s presentation is published below; Rybak spoke without a presentation.
The talk, titled “Walkability: The Politics and Payoff of Putting Walkability into Action,” was the second annual walkability event hosted by the Urban Land Institute Iowa, continuing the conversation started last year with speakers Jeff Speck and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. This year’s event coincided with several initiatives to improve walkability, notably the downtown Des Moines walkability study kicking off this spring.
John Norquist served as mayor of Milwaukee from 1988-2004. Under his leadership, Milwaukee experienced a decline in poverty, a boom in new downtown housing, became a leading center of education and welfare reform, and developed a 3.1-mile riverwalk. He also led the conversion of Milwaukee’s downtown street network from one-way to two-way streets.
RT Rybak started his work in journalism and business prior to be elected the mayor of Minneapolis. During his time as a mayor he was a critical champion of improving the biking culture in Minneapolis and put $25 million of federal funding into bike and pedestrian infrastructure. The city of Minneapolis now holds the coveted gold status from the League of American Bicyclists.