“Observing that few people bike in a place without a good bike network is like saying that you don’t need a bridge because nobody is swimming the river.”

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Get ready Billings! Welcome Jeff Speck, author of “Walkable City,” on Thursday, April 16 at 6 pm. This renowned city planner and urban designer advocates internationally for more walkable cities, and he will be speaking at a free public presentation at Babcock Theater next month.

In addition to the book, “Walkable City,” Jeff has also written “Walkable City Rules,” an intelligent way to look at components of city infrastructure that make it walkable and bikeable. The title of this article is a quote from “Rule #53: Understand that Cycling Follows Investment,” on page 126 of the book.

You won’t want to miss this powerful speaker! and to prepare for his talk, we invite you to a book club to discuss the points he makes in “Walkable City Rules,” every Thursday at 5:15 during the month of March, at Craft Local.

We thank one of our most active members of Billings TrailNet, Ed Gulick, for making the effort of bringing Mr. Speck to Billings. Ed, who is an architect and also president of the City/County Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, says, “Jeff makes a good case of why making walkable districts in your community is important economically. One, for your tax base: not spending a lot of money on auto-oriented infrastructure. More importantly on demographics: if you want your kids or grandkids to live in Billings we need to focus on ensuring our downtown is walkable and bikeable.”

When Ed first learned of Jeff Speck, he wanted to bring him to Billings to speak to the Billings Architectural Association, where he is the current president. The enthusiasm he received at the prospect of the author coming to town prompted him to reach out to other groups in the community who stepped up to sponsor the speaker for a public presentation.

“The amount of energy and excitement within our community is surprising. Downtown Billings Alliance, Big Sky Economic Development staff, Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council, Rocky Mountain College, Billings Architectural Association, and city council members are all enthusiastic about this opportunity,” says Ed.

“There are things we can do in this community and it may be a reprioritization of where we spend money now so we  can make our city more attractive to generations,” he adds.