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Atlanta’s Big Bicycling Ambitions
Keep your eye on Atlanta.
When your community draws 100 people to a community bike forum (pictured below) to listen to presentations about transportation policy – on a Saturday night – you have some real bike culture developing.
When the staff and board of your city’s bicycling advocacy organization lock themselves in a room for two days to develop an ambition campaign to access public funding for bicycling investment, you have savvy grassroots leadership.
When your city’s assistant director for transportation planning announces a goal of becoming a top ten bicycle commuter city in the next few years – and hopes to skip Bronze and go right to Silver Bicycle Friendly Community status – you have political buy-in. And it doesn’t hurt when Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is giving your mayor a shout out for improving urban livability.
When your city council is about to vote on allocating $2.5 million from a bond to fund 15 miles of bike facilities and Complete Streets, your community may be about to put its money where its mouth is.
All of these things are true of Atlanta, Ga., where the Advocacy Advance team supported a customized Winning Campaigns Training, based on the Alliance for Biking and Walking’s signature training, and the afore-mentioned community forum.
“Last year marked a turning point for bike advocacy in Atlanta,” said Rebecca Serna, Executive Director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. “Our mayor hopped on a bike and said he wanted Atlanta to be a beacon of bike-friendliness, not for the Southeast, not for the South, but for the nation. That’s a lofty goal but he’s done nothing but meet goals in his first term, so we anticipate great things to come in our city.”
The Winning Campaign Training brought together a large portion of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s board and the staff to walk step by step through a campaign to respond to a recent unsuccessful transportation sales tax measure, T-SPLOST. “The Winning Campaigns Training really helped our leadership team focus, providing the structure we needed to accelerate group genius,” ABC Board Member Jenn Graham said.
Advocacy Advance has given the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition a Model Grant to ensure that the city increases its investment in bicycling and walking infrastructure and it is paying off. Over the past several years, the city’s leaders have started to recognize the need to make Atlanta a biking- and walking-friendly community. We’ll keep you posted on their progress.
“Georgia Bikes is thrilled with the leadership and commitment to better bicycling on display in Atlanta,” said Brent Bruice, executive director of Georgia’s statewide advocacy organization. “Our state capital is leading by example and showing the way to being bike friendly for cities throughout Georgia.”
And if you are ever bicycling in Atlanta, you can use this app to track your route and send data directly to the city’s transportation planners.