September 22nd, 2014

How Copenhagen helped Pittsburgh's Mayor Peduto understand the 'wedding cake of transportation'

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Man truing wheel in a bike shop

For years, we’ve been leading politicians, city staffers and other community leaders from U.S. cities on curated study tours of the world’s best biking cities. But until Bill Peduto joined us in Denmark and Sweden this summer, we’d never had the chance to host a big-city mayor.

In a profile of Pittsburgh’s Mayor Peduto out today from Streetfilms, you can see why we were so excited to do so.

Fleshing out some ideas he touched on in an interview with us (“You get out of the weeds … you’re able to rise above it and think big thoughts”) Peduto describes here how seeing walking, biking, driving, and public transit layered on a city’s streets into a “sort of wedding cake of transportation” gave him an intuitive sense of the city he’s working hard to help build.

“I basically thought that I would live in a city that the best I could do is manage decline,” said Peduto, who has watched his hometown’s population shrink for all 49 years of his life so far. “Now we’re seeing that turn around. We’ll have 20,000 new residents over these next 10 years.”

As Pittsburgh’s rebound continues, Peduto seems invigorated by the support of people who applaud his vision for it.

“To have those same people who have that same thought — that they’d never thought they’d see the city become the city they knew it could be — makes it even more worthwhile,” he said.

By opening our study tours next summer for applications from any city in the country, we’re looking for America’s next Mayor Peduto. Maybe that mayor is yours.

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