Cover art for podcast Active Towns

Active Towns

75 EpisodesProduced by John SimmermanWebsite

Conversations about Creating a Culture of Activity: Profiling the people, places, programs, and policies that help to promote a culture of activity within our communities.

75 Episodes | 2020 - 2021

Rolling into Resilience w/ Professor Billy Fields

May 14th, 2021

Show Notes:

This episode with Billy Fields, Ph.D. has reinforced our appreciation for just how interconnected everything is in our world, from active …

Ride Every Street w/ David Nuttall

May 7th, 2021

Show Notes:

David Nuttall was motivated to get in a little exercise and lose a little weight by exploring his adopted hometown of Huntsville, Alabama …

Engaging the Community w/ Ghisallo's Briana Cohen

April 30th, 2021

Show Notes:

The Ghisallo Cycling Initiative based in Austin, Texas provides education, engagement, and activation programs and services which help to get more people, of all ages and abilities, riding more often.

Briana …

Accelerating Austin Active Mobility w/ Council Member Paige Ellis

April 23rd, 2021

Show Notes:

In the past three episodes in a row now we've explored the theme that transforming our cities into safer, more inviting places that …

KC: A City of Opportunity w/ Laura Steele & Michael Kelley from BikeWalkKC

April 16th, 2021

Show Notes:

What makes Kansas City so relevant when it comes to the movement to create and promote a Culture of Activity is that it is so unremarkable …

A Big Jump for Bikes in the Big Easy w/ Dan Favre & Jennifer Ruley

April 9th, 2021

Show Notes:

The city of New Orleans was one of ten cities chosen to participate in the Big Jump Project by the PeopleForBikes Foundation's Local …

Inspired by Cities w/ Zach Vanderkooy

April 2nd, 2021

Show Notes:

In this episode, John shares his recent conversation with Zach Vanderkooy a veteran study tour organizer and principal of the firm Inspired by Cities. Zach is an urban planner by training and has a deep …

A Bicycle Policy Briefing w/ Ken McLeod

March 26th, 2021

Show Notes:

The League of American Bicyclists based in Washington, DC is a membership-based organization that has been fighting for the rights and needs of cyclists specifically and active mobility in general since 1880.

Cycling in Paris: Past & Present w/ Mark Cramer

March 24th, 2021

Show Notes:

To say that Mark Cramer is an accidental bike advocate would be quite an understatement. He describes how many years ago he happened upon …

Active Mobility Momentum is Building in Memphis w/ Nicholas Oyler

March 19th, 2021

Show Notes:

The city of Memphis, Tennessee is most certainly not on the top of mind for most of us when it comes to a safe and inviting environment for walking and biking, but it has been on our radar here at Active …

Ignite Your Life w/ Fireman Rob

March 17th, 2021

Show Notes:

In this rare mid-week episode, John and Rob talk through a wide range of topics, including how the Ironman triathlon helped him to find his passion, his take on safer streets for active living as a working …

Promoting Biking & Walking in Provo w/ Austin Taylor

March 12th, 2021

Show Notes:

Austin Taylor is one very busy guy. He works as a Transportation Planner focussing on Active Transportation and Transportation Demand Management, also known as TDM for the Park City Municipal Corporate in …

Magic Hand of the Bike in Dutch Transit Success w/ Roland Kager

March 5th, 2021

Show Notes:

One of the very first things I noticed upon my initial visit to The Netherlands in 2015 was the seamless connection and synergistic coordination between the national transit system and the bicycle network, …

Fight for Our Lives w/ Doug Gordon

February 26th, 2021

Show Notes:

You can pretty much count on it - anytime there's a proposal to install a bike lane or pedestrian crossing that might inconvenience or slow down motor vehicle traffic in any amount, no matter how small, …

Deep Freeze in the Heart of Texas

February 20th, 2021

Show Notes:

While cold weather and even snow are not completely unheard of in Texas, clearly the state, especially the power grid, is not prepared for …

Shifting Lanes to Support Activity w/ Ryan Hale

February 12th, 2021

Show Notes:

The amazing culture of activity transformation that has been underway in the Northwest Arkansas region over the past couple of decades is …

Safer Streets Research w/ Wes Marshall

February 5th, 2021

Show Notes:

Wes Marshall, Ph.D. is a Professor of Civil Engineering and an affiliate faculty member in Planning and Design at the University of …

A Plain Bike Revolution w/ Erin Riediger

January 29th, 2021

Show Notes:

Erin Riediger is in the final stages of officially becoming an architect. You’ll quickly learn that she’s passionate about creating equitable cities which partly explains how she got interested in advocating …

Restorative Natural Areas w/ Katherine Howard & Jo Fitzgibbons

January 22nd, 2021

Show Notes:

Joanne "Jo" Fitzgibbons is a Ph.D. doctoral candidate at the University of British Columbia and a Sustainability Scholar with the Urban …

Becoming Streetsmart w/ Kelly Rodgers

January 15th, 2021

Show Notes:

Streetsmart is an amazing non-profit platform and resource clearinghouse for integrating climate change, public health, and equity concerns into transportation. Specifically the platform is evidence-based and …

Electric Assist Cycles w/ Darnel Harris & Jamie Stuckless

January 8th, 2021

Show Notes:

Jamie Stuckless is a Hamilton-based advocate and policy wonk who has become increasingly interested in and working on the needed …

Season One Wrap-Up, Good Bye 2020!

December 31st, 2020

Show Notes:

In addition to John's very brief reflections, he goes on to provide some surprise bonus material at the end of the main recording; a brief overview countdown of each of the 52 episodes.

See below for links to …

Taking Action w/ Jonathan Fertig (video)

December 16th, 2020

Show Notes:

Flowers in pots, a flower in a traffic cone, red cups, 6-foot tall cardboard comic character cutouts... just some of the safer street activism materials Jonathan Fertig has employed and deployed during his …

How We Get Around w/ Andy Boenau

December 10th, 2020

Show Notes:

Andy Boenau has a formal background as a transportation engineer, but his career has gradually evolved over the years and now he focuses …

America Walks w/ Mike McGinn

December 3rd, 2020

Show Notes:

Y'all are in for quite the treat with this one.

Michael McGinn served as the 52nd mayor of Seattle, WA and was recently selected as the …

Talking Fietsstraats or Bicycle Streets w/ Matt Pinder & Justin Jones

November 26th, 2020

Show Notes:

When it comes to "All Ages & Abilities" cycle network facilities the protected bike lane or separated cycle-track typically gets most of the attention, however a little known fact about the Dutch approach …

Rolling Down Santa Barbara's Car-Free Main Street w/ Frank Peters

November 13th, 2020

Show Notes:

Cities around the world have been dramatically reshaping and reimagining their public spaces, especially their downtown streets in response to the negative economic and health impacts from the novel …

Human-Scaled Accessibility w/ Meredith Glaser

October 28th, 2020

Show Notes:

Meredith Glaser had originally planned to only study and work abroad for a year or so, well that has turned into a decade of living in Amsterdam, raising a family, and developing a passion for a better …

Up For Anything w/ Pam LeBlanc (video)

October 20th, 2020

Show Notes:

Having a spirit of adventure and being pretty much "Up for Anything" has served Pam LeBlanc well over the decades as an accomplished journalist, photographer, and author.

We were fortunate enough to catch Pam …

Reclaiming the Right of Way w/ Angie Schmitt

October 7th, 2020

Show Notes:

Angie Schmitt is the author of the new book Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America published by Island Press. John and Angie discuss the many complicated and …

Bikepacking w/ Ryan Van Duzer (also available in video)

September 24th, 2020

Show Notes:

We're delighted to welcome back a good friend to the Active Towns, Mr. Ryan Van Duzer, to talk about his recent bikepacking adventures and help us launch our video podcast. That's right! We will now feature a …

Parking Reforms w/ Donald Shoup

September 11th, 2020

Show Notes:

In 2005, Donald Shoup published a nearly 800-page book called The High Cost of Free Parking which quickly became a "cult-classic" in …

The Joy of Riding Again w/ Lennard Zinn

September 4th, 2020

Show Notes:

Lennard Zinn of Boulder, CO is probably best known for his frequent technical journalistic contributions on VeloNews and his incredibly …

A Wish For Wheels w/ Brad Appel

August 29th, 2020

Show Notes:

What are your earliest memories and emotions associated with riding a bike? For many of us the words fun, freedom, friends, excitement, and exhilaration come forward, however, for far too many kids a bike is …

Lovable Places & People Habitats w/ Kaid Benfield

August 26th, 2020

Show Notes: 

From Kaid's professional bio:

Kaid Benfield is one of the country’s most steadfast voices for making cities, towns, and neighborhoods work better for both people and the environment.  Based in Washington, DC, …

Seville's "Overnight" Bike Network Success w/ Manuel Calvo

August 21st, 2020

Show Notes:

While it's true, they don't garner the attention of a Copenhagen or Amsterdam, the historic city of Seville, Spain was poised to react, when the economic downturn of 2007 hit, so they mobilized and built a …

Rolling Down the Road w/ Commissioner Ellis & Fernando Martinez

August 14th, 2020

Show Notes:

When thinking of Houston, TX, the phrase bicycle-friendly environment rarely comes to mind, but if these two distinguished leaders have …

A Bike Friendly Episode w/ Bill Nesper

August 11th, 2020

Show Notes:

Since 1880 the League of American Bicyclists has been advocating for better, safer places to ride. 

THE LEAGUE represents bicyclists in the movement to create safer roads, stronger communities, and a Bicycle …

Make a Difference w/ Charles Brown

August 1st, 2020

Show Notes:

Systemic racism permeates through so many facets of our daily lives that we often are blinded to its very presence as well as its historical relevance in how our cities have been shaped. The transportation …

All Aboard w/ Mike Christensen

July 29th, 2020

Show Notes:

Once upon a time, traveling from one city to the next was primarily done by rail, if Mike Christensen, Founder and Executive Director of the Utah Rail Passengers Association, has his way, this might become …

Local Innovations w/ Kyle Wagenschutz & Sara Studdard

July 23rd, 2020

Show Notes:

The PeopleForBikes Foundation strives to get more people on bikes more often and through the Local Innovations Program, the organization inspires, empowers, and supports cities as they attempt to make big …

Discussing Our Transport Future w/ Todd Litman

July 21st, 2020

Show Notes:

In this, our 33rd episode of the Active Towns Podcast, we are delighted to feature an in-depth discussion with Todd Litman of the

Live Your Gold Medal Life w/ Susanne Menge

July 15th, 2020

Show Notes:

Susanne Menge helps people discover their passions and learn how to achieve their goals and a sense of joy or as she likes to say "Live …

Exploring Every Street w/ Janelle Naess

July 13th, 2020

Show Notes:

Janelle Naess of Laguna Beach, CA had a wonderful idea for the new year, walk, and document every street in her hometown. She was already …

A Session w/ Transportation Psychologist Bryan Jones

July 9th, 2020

Show Notes:

Eastvale, CA is the second-youngest city in the state of California and as you'll learn from this conversation with its City Manager, …

Induced Demand Innovations w/ Curtis Rogers

July 4th, 2020

Show Notes:

In this conversation, Curtis shares a bit about his background in shared mobility and how his epiphany about the high cost of free parking came about while working at Lyft in San Francisco. He also takes us …

Run This World w/ Nicole DeBoom

June 26th, 2020

Show Notes:

Nicole DeBoom is truly a force of nature and she is clearly passionate about empowering people, especially women live the best lives …

Shared Paths Boulder w/ Graham Hill

June 23rd, 2020

Show Notes:

Shared Paths Boulder central focus is the creation of shared community on the paths.

Founded in 2016, this program provides stewardship …

Rebuild Restore Renew w/ Roshun Austin

June 19th, 2020

Show Notes:

In this episode, John reconnects with Roshun Austin, Executive Director of The Works, Inc., a nonprofit community development corporation serving South Memphis, TN.

As you'll quickly learn from this …

Streets for Everyone w/ Jill Locantore

June 16th, 2020

Show Notes:

Previously with Walk Denver, Jill Locantore recently became Denver Streets Partnership's first Executive Director.

City of Denver Shared …

Startup CEO Reflections w/ Jennifer Baird

June 9th, 2020

Show Notes

Jennifer Baird is the Founder & CEO of FifthEye of Ann Arbor, MI and as a serial entrepreneur with nearly two decades of experience founding and leading high potential startups she provides us with a …

Cultivating Community w/ Kevin Shepherd

June 4th, 2020

Show Notes:

In this episode, we're delighted to welcome Kevin Shepherd, Founder and CEO of Verdunity a firm dedicated to fiscally-informed planning, engineering, and community engagement services that help city leaders …

Active Explorations w/ Holly Bennett

May 28th, 2020

Show Notes

Holly Bennett is a world traveler, endurance athlete, and remote worker extraordinaire. She shares her story of personal transformation, …

Following Footprints w/ Dom Nozzi & Maggie Waddoups

May 21st, 2020

Show Notes:

For our 21st episode, John is delighted to share his recent conversation with Dom Nozzi and Maggie Waddoups of Boulder, Colorado. Dom and …

A Walker In LA w/ Alissa Walker

May 16th, 2020

Show Notes

Alissa Walker is the Urbanism editor at Curbed and she authors the column Word on the Street, highlighting the pioneering transit, clever …

Why The Overhead Wire w/ Jeff Wood

May 9th, 2020

Show Notes:

In this episode, we have a fascinating conversation with Jeff Wood, founder of The Overhead Wire, a sustainable transportation and …

Inspiring Vibrancy w/ Amanda Popken

May 4th, 2020

Show Notes:

In this episode, John welcomes Amanda Popken, principal owner of Amanda Popken Development to the Active Towns Podcast. Her firm specializing in placemaking & community engagement, with an emphasis on …

Places People Love w/ Lynn Richards

May 1st, 2020

Show Notes:

New urbanists are a diverse, multidisciplinary, action-oriented group working to build places people love.

Lynn Richards is President and …

Fighting Traffic w/ Peter Norton

April 28th, 2020

We are in the midst of truly extraordinary times, there's no doubt about it, but with the current push to reclaim our streets from the motor vehicle …

Composing a Compelling Narrative w/ Kea Wilson

April 21st, 2020

Show Notes:

As a writer of novels and a journalist, Kea is constantly constructing compelling narratives that move people. We caught up with her last week as she was sheltering in place at her home in St. Louis, MO.

In …

It's All City Building w/ Mark Nickita

April 16th, 2020

We cover a lot of ground in this episode as we catch up with Mark Nickita, mainly because he is one very busy guy. He's a city commissioner and former mayor of Birmingham, MI, an architect and founder of the firm,

Building Strong Towns w/ Chuck Marohn

April 13th, 2020

Up until about 80 years ago, humans have been building cities and towns for thousands of years using a traditional development pattern of incrementalism, which helped to create strength and to become in a sense

Tactical Urbanism in a Pandemic w/ Mike Lydon

April 10th, 2020

In this episode, we check-in with Mike Lydon of Street Plans in Brooklyn, NY and discuss the on-the-ground impacts of the pandemic he's seeing in NYC and monitoring worldwide.

We cover and mention a lot of issues …

Going Dutch w/ Chris Bruntlett

April 7th, 2020

A little over one year ago Chris and Melissa Bruntlett made a big decision. They moved their family of four from Vancouver, BC to the city of Delft in The Netherlands. Their journey has its roots in the fantastic book …

Main Street Transformation w/ Victor Dover & Raphael Clemente

April 1st, 2020

In this episode, Active Towns podcast host, John Simmerman has a discussion Victor Dover with Dover, Kohl, & Partner Town Planning of South Miami and Raphael Clemente with West Palm Beach Downtown Development …

Updates from Bike Austin & Walk Austin

March 27th, 2020

In the city of Austin, TX, a city that has been experiencing, prior to our current COVID-19 pandemic, dramatic increases in economic and population …

Rolling Forward with MoveATX w/ Jim Wick

March 20th, 2020

Show Notes for MOVEATX podcast with Jim Wick
From the MOVEATX website:
“We all know that Austin has a mobility crisis, but by implementing some of the least costly and easiest to engineer infrastructure improvements, we …

Getting Out There w/ Ryan Van Duzer

March 10th, 2020

In this episode, Active Towns Podcast host John Simmerman catches up with Ryan Van Duzer of DuzerTV and YouTube fame and no big surprise, it's a wild ride, in a very good way.

The conversation kicks off with a quick …

Ready to Ride w/ Mathias Ihlenfeld

March 7th, 2020

Over the past decade or so teaching children how to ride a bike has fundamentally changed. No longer are training wheels considered best practice, instead, the balance bike is now considered to be the preferred, most …

Dream it, Plan it, GO FOR IT! w/ Katie Deolloz

March 5th, 2020

For this episode, John welcomed Katie Deolloz with Walking as Practice into the Active Towns Podcast Studio.
Katie is a certified walking coach, a mom …

It Could Be Me w/ Triny Willerton

March 1st, 2020

For this episode, we are delighted to welcome Triny Willerton of Boulder, Colorado and the It Could Be Me initiative.
Triny is a mom, a wife, an

Reconnecting to Your Community w/ Darcy Kitching

February 27th, 2020

In this episode, we welcome Darcy Kitching of Boulder, Colorado. Darcy is an experienced program director, talented storyteller, and truly a force of …

Growing Old(er) w/ Preston Tyree

February 26th, 2020

In this episode we welcome in Preston Tyree of the Mueller neighborhood in Austin, TX to chat about his podcast Growing Old(er)!, what it's like to live in a community that is quickly transforming into an "All Ages …

Wading into Walkability w/ Heyden Black Walker

February 25th, 2020

In this episode, John has a delightful conversation with Heyden Black Walker, Director of Planning with Black + Vernooy Architecture and Urban Design

Active Towns Podcast Intro

February 25th, 2020

Welcome to the Active Towns Podcast a semi-frequent conversation about the people, places, programs, and policies that help to promote a culture of …
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