Regional Economic Development Councils should embrace cycling

NY’s Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) are increasingly embracing the economic and tourism benefits of bicycling-related projects. According to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council included Cycle Adirondacks, a week long cycling touring through Northern New York, as one of the “priority projects” in its 2013 Progress Report, released Tuesday….

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Boot Camp for Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trail Advocates

Last week New York Bicycling Coalition and the Bike Walk Alliance of Westchester & Putnam hosted the Alliance for Biking and Walking’s Winning Campaigns Training in White Plains, a three-day boot camp designed for leaders of local and state advocacy organizations. Nineteen participants from 5 different states gained valuable insight from veteran advocate Jeff Miller, President and…

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Women’s Forum Recap: Adonia Lugo on Bike Justice and “Human Infrastructure”

As a bicycle commuter, Adonia Lugo noticed a clear shift in cycling when she moved from Portland to Los Angeles in 2007. For the innovative scholar, that distinction led to a whole new approach to bicycle advocacy. “I was struck by the impact the transportation culture had on my experience of biking,” she says. “And [...]

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Advocacy Day 2013: Bringing Bicycle and Pedestrian Issues to Albany

On Wednesday March 13th, the New Yorkers for Active Transportation (NY4AT) coalition sponsored an Advocacy Day at the State’s capitol. The day started with a legislative breakfast at the Fort Orange Club in downtown Albany, which was attended by about thirteen legislators and staff. Featuring presentations by Nick Donohue, Policy Director at Transportation for America…

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How to Bring Fire Up Your Feet to Your State or Region

Biking and walking advocates who want to strengthen their involvement with local schools have a shiny new tool in their toolbox: the new Fire Up Your Feet program.

Fire Up Your Feet — a partnership between the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Kaiser Permanente and the National PTA — is designed to encourage families, students and schools to work together and create active lifestyles which inspire our children to be healthy and physically active.

On Tuesday, March 12, Beth Richards, Development Director at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, joined advocates for a webinar with the Alliance for Biking & Walking to explain how advocacy organizations can bring the initiative to their state or region.

New Resources for Schools Across the Country

The Fire Up Your Feet site offers free resources on how to initiate healthy activities around the school day, like bike trains, walking school buses, fun runs and local walkability checklists.

A new healthy fundraising option is available to any school or PTA/school group in the country. Centered around collecting pledges for physical activity or a healthy event at your school, the Fire Up Your Feet fundraising tools enables students, teachers and parents to create personal fundraising pages to track physical activity, then collect pledges and sponsorships from family and community members. Schools receive 75% of the funds they raise — far more than a school would raise in a typical wrapping paper fundraiser.

Plus, Fire Up Your Feet helps groups invest these dollars back into school wellness efforts such as bike racks, pedestrian and bicycle safety programs, and other activities to promote healthy, active schools.

Activity Challenges and Challenge Awards

In certain sponsored regions and states, Activity Challenges further encourage physical activity before, during and after school.

Currently, schools California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Southwest Washington state, the Metro Atlanta region, North East Ohio, the Greater Baltimore region, and the Greater Washington DC area are eligible to join Activity Challenges. Parents in participating areas can register for the program and track their activities (such as walking or biking to school) to earn awards for their school or parent-teacher organization.

Schools that win Challenge Awards, up to $1,000 in most regions, will be able to use the funding as they see fit — such as for building bike racks or supporting Safe Routes to School education courses.

Advocates and organizations located outside of these states and regions can bring customized Fire Up Your Feet programs and Activity Challenges to their areas, too.

On the webinar, Beth discussed how advocates outside of Kaiser regions can work with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to bring full programming to their areas. Beth outlined the following steps:

  1. Identify partners already working in the Safe Routes to School movement in your area, such as advocates, local health groups, and parent-teacher associations.
  2. Work with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to determine the size of the local school market in your area. The structure and format of Challenge Grants will differ depending on a region’s size, student population, population density, etc.
  3. Work with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and local sponsors to find funders to underwrite Challenge Awards in your area.
  4. Form a memorandum of understanding with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership regarding brand standards, local charitable registration, and fundraising processing fees.
  5. Work with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to determine local staff allocation.
  6. Roll out a customized web site, reporting system, webinar series, and award program for your area. As part of the partnership, advocates will receive marketing and communication templates as well as training and support from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

Learn more

To learn more about bringing Fire Up Your Feet to your state or region, register online for one of two upcoming webinars offered by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.

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Overheard at the Youth Bike Summit

Two weeks ago, Alliance members Recycle-A-Bicycle held their third annual Youth Bike Summit an inter-generational exchange between youth, advocates and educators from around the country who are working to promote bicycling and bicycle education in their communities. The Alliance for Biking & Walking was proud to sponsor the 2013 Youth Bike Summit as part of our efforts to support community bike shops.

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The weekend was jam-packed with inspiring stories and lessons from youth and adults who are working to make bicycling more accessible in communities. Here are some of our favorite overheard comments from the event.

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“On a bike, I was able to experience so many firsts. … I rode over my first bridge. I caught my first fish with my dad. I built my first bike. I went to the high line for the first time, I’m giving my first speech. And for the first time, I’m going to the National Bike Summit in DC. Everything is scary the first time, but if you can do it more than once, it can be a blast.”

-Devlynn Chen, pictured above, a senior at Brox High School of Science in New York City. As an advocate with Local Spokes in New York City, Devlynn works to boost biking in the Lower East Side and Chinatown. She will be attending Dickinson College in the fall.

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“At first it sounded like a crazy idea that would never happen — to get youth from all over the country together to talk about bicycles.”

-Kimberly White, pictured above, former intern at Recycle-A-Bicycle and a founder of the Youth Bike Summit

“Due to the clear and present danger of bicycling to school, bicycling is discouraged.”

-Old transportation policy at a New Jersey public school. By working with the school, Sean Meehan, Program Director of NJ Safe Routes to Schools at the Voorhees Transportation Center, helped to replace the language with a more encouraging policy.

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“Quality sidewalks and protected bike paths are not cute architectural features. They are a right.”

-Dr. Enrique Peñalosa, above, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia. Dr. Peñalosa gave a keynote address at the summit.

“I’m thrilled to see so many young people participating in an event focused on environmental sustainability and social empowerment.”

-Councilmember Diana Reyna, New York City Council

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“There are often three main obstacles to biking in low-income communities: where to get a bike, where to get a bike fixed, and people to ride with.”

-Keith Holt, above, Executive Director of Milwaukee Bicycle Works. Keith has been advocating for trail development and bicycling in large urban communities for almost a decade. He especially works to encourage ridership that best reflects the racial demographics of the communities that advocacy organizations serve.

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“We want to highlight why people are biking, why people feel empowered by biking, why they love biking, and all the diverse neighborhoods that people are biking in.”

-Shelma Jun, above, Co-Founder of the Biking Public Project

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“It started as wanting to cycle more, and it’s really turned into a movement.”

-Liz Jose, pictured above at far-left with the WE Bike crew, member and co-founder of WE Bike (Women’s Empowerment in Biking)

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“We are a for-profit company, but we’re doing it because it’s something we believe in. We believe in the power of the bicycle to improve the world.”

-Jay Ferm, above, Advocacy Director at Planet Bike

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