||Suzanne Zweizig, Embassy of Switzerland at (202) 745-7920|
||Karyn Le Blanc, DDOT at (202) 671-2004|
||Erica Stanley, EOM at (202) 727-1751|
(Washington, DC) On behalf of the residents of the District of Columbia, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty received 10 new artistic bike racks as part of the Bike to Work Day celebrations taking place today throughout the District and the nation. The Ambassador of Switzerland, Urs Ziswiler, and the Mayor of Zurich, Elmar Ledergerber, presented the city with 10 artistic bike racks as a gift from the people of Switzerland.
“On behalf of the residents and visitors to the District of Columbia we thank the Embassy and the people of Switzerland for their kindness, said Mayor Fenty. “We look forward to working with them as we continue in our efforts to further reduce carbon footprints and to make our communities more livable.”
The bike racks are inverted U-racks painted in whimsical Swiss-themed patterns (cow, Swiss cheese, alps, edelweiss and Swiss flags) by Swiss-American artist Annina Luck.
“They are meant to symbolize the cooperation between our communities in finding solutions to the environmental challenges that face us," said Swiss Ambassador Urs Ziswiler.
The embassy worked with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Councilmember Tommy Wells’ office to place the bicycle racks in useful locations throughout the city including the John A. Wilson building on 13 1/2 Street and the National Building Museum, as well as locations throughout the city including Dupont Circle North (Connecticut Ave NW), Eastern Market Metro Station, SE and Gallery Place/Chinatown (on 7th Street NW).
The gift is part of a series of events being held during Bike-to-Work week to share ideas about making bicycling a viable form of transportation.
Mayor Elmar Ledergerber, is known as Zurich’s "bicycling mayor." Ledergerber served as head of Switzerland’s largest city from 2002 until April 2009, during which time it was consistently voted worlds # 1 most livable city. While visiting the United States Mayor Ledergerber attended conferences and met with city transportation officials.
The outreach is part of Switzerland’s US-wise program, ThinkSwiss-Brainstrom the Future. Switzerland is working with its American counterparts to address key global topics like public transportation to better understand trends and arrive at solutions. The ThinkSwiss program is produced under the auspices of the Swiss Confederation. In order to make biking a feasible form of transportation it requires specific infrastructure, financing, and a commitment of political and public will.
DDOT is working hard to make the District a more bicycle-friendly city. DDOT continues to build trails, add bike lanes and bike racks, and teach bicycle safety in the schools. Last year, DDOT launched SmartbikeDC, an automated bike sharing program that was the first of its kind in North America, and a bicycle transit center is now under construction at Union Station. For more information on DDOT’s bike initiatives visit www.ddot.dc.gov.