Pathfinder Papandreou back in town

first_imgAt the heart of Tim Papandreou’s vision as an urban transport planner is the belief that dogmas, such as ‘car versus bike’ need to be consigned to the blind alley where they belong, and that only a fully integrated transport system allows a city to truly flourish. “It’s all about the transport menu being offered,” says Tim, who is currently Deputy Director Sustainable Streets-Planning Division in San Francisco and responsible for managing the city’s surface modes of transportation. “You make taxis work better, car-sharing work better, and make a city more bikeable. It’s about giving people real choices.” As a child, Tim used to ride his bike around the Melbourne suburb of Surrey Hills. Last week he was back in town to give a keynote presentation at Bike Futures 2011 – the annual conference in Melbourne that explores the transforming potential of urban bicycling infrastructure. As a keynote speaker at Bike Futures, Tim was asked to present the pioneering holistic approach being taken by San Francisco to its transport systems. Tim says his passion for designing transport solutions comes directly from his Melburnian background. “I used to ride my bike everywhere, in the days when bike-riding wasn’t cool,” says Tim, who believes Melbourne’s urban evolution talks volumes about what a city can become. Tim traces his own family’s path back to the Pelopponese. Is there a family connection to the current Greek Prime Minister, I have to ask. “My parents say there is,” says Tim, “though they usually mention this only when the PM’s popular!” “Growing up in Melbourne, you’re kind of spoilt and I wanted to pass on those skills that I learned here to other cities where it would make a difference. Melbourne’s always been my role model. I’ve travelled to over 250 cities and Melbourne’s still in my top five, along with Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, and New York.” Tim’s excited about the latest developments being proposed for the city he grew up in, but there’s still much that can and needs to be done says Tim: “They need more striping on the street for bike lanes. When you have painted infrastructure on the ground it makes a big difference. The best thing to do is to slow everything down. Where you can’t physically put in a space for bikes, then you have to slow down the street completely.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img