Local and State Advocacy
Imagine you’re a safe-streets advocate living in a dreamscape of an expanding bike-lane network, widespread installation of public plazas and innovative government-sponsored programs aimed at improving street life, from summertime street closures to bike share to virtually on-demand public benches. Progress has been swift under the committed leadership of a mayor who understands the economic necessity of these programs and amenities to ensure that his city stays competitive — and his Commissioner of Transportation is unapologetically on the cutting edge of contemporary urban design.
As August approaches, Washington, D.C., starts to clear out. On August 1, Congress shuts down for a month and members escape the city to return to their districts and meet with constituents to learn what matters to people in their district. This is a great time to invite your member of Congress to visit a new bike project or program, or to join a local club on a bike ride.
A terrible string of fatal bike crashes in the Tampa area in late 2011 and early 2012 left the local bike community reeling. As they shared each awful tragedy with us, we too felt frustrated and powerless. We also realized how little we really knew about the circumstances of serious crashes between bikes and cars, and how woefully inadequate (and late) the available data was at the national level.
This blog is cross-posted from the Advocacy Advance website and is authored by Christy Kwan. Aloha! We just wrapped up our latest Navigating MAP-21 Workshop in Honolulu, Hawaii – co-hosted by the Hawaii Bicycling League and the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) – last Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Nearly 80 attendees representing bicycling and walking advocates, state and local agency staff, bicycle retailers, neighborhood board members, and elected officials and their staff attended the workshop held at the Hawaii State Capitol.
Each year, $37 billion is allocated to states for transportation projects. How much does your state plan to spend on bicycle and pedestrian facilities? The new Advocacy Advance report, Lifting the Veil on Bicycle and Pedestrian Spending, takes a look at a complex federal process – the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). STIPs, at their most basic, are budget documents that express how states plan to spend federal transportation funds for the next four years.
I have long admired the work of the East Coast Greenway Association. The vision of a 2,500-mile greenway from Maine to Florida is an inspiration in itself, of course. But the tenacity, effectiveness and collaborative spirit of the volunteers they have managed to engage over the years is truly second-to-none. So when they call and ask for help, we are happy to oblige.
Hopefully by now you’ve heard about the 2014 National Bike Summit in March. (Register here.) Every year hundreds of advocates come to Washington, DC, to lobby Congress and it’s a great event. What you may not know is that each year at least 27 states hold statewide bike and/or walking summits or conferences.
For presidential candidates, winning Iowa is a game-changer. For the Women Bike movement, understanding the successes and barriers for female riders outside the big cities is just as important. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of both presenting and hearing from women who ride in the Hawkeye State.
Right now, there is an important opportunity to speak up for safe bicycle access in Grand Teton National Park. The Park Service is accepting public comments on the Moose-Wilson Road project, a precedent-setting project that has the potential to improve safe access throughout the park system.
Every time I head to the Golden State, I leave with new energy and inspiration. And I’m still buzzing with all the amazing connections and conversations I had last weekend at the California by Bike Summit 2013. Here are just a few of the highlights…