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New Report: Making Bicycles Part of the Conversation

It’s a common frustration among cyclists: Elected officials and agency staff often give short shrift to cyclists and more priority to motorists when making decisions about transportation.

In many communities, funding choices are made without public input or scrutiny; streets are repaved without a thought of adding bicycle lanes; and school properties are purchased miles and miles away from the neighborhood children they serve.

What can we do to make cyclists and pedestrians an integral, normal part of the transportation conversation? A new report from Advocacy Advance — a partnership of the League and Alliance for Biking & Walking — highlights the benefits of establishing a Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) to make sure active transportation has a dedicated seat at the decision-making table.

Click here to download Making Bicycling and Walking a Norm in Transportation Agencies: Best Practices in Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committees.

Written by Matt Wempe, the League’s State and Local Advocacy Coordinator, the report includes:

  • The definition and structure of a BPAC
  • Benefits and challenges of a BPAC
  • Making the case for a BPAC
  • Establishing a BPAC
  • Recommendations for an effective BPAC
  • And more…

Just one example showcased in the report comes from Nashville, Tenn. In 2008, the city invited 23 individuals — including bike/ped advocates, public works staff, police, and private citizens — to assist the Metropolitan Planning Organization with a regional bike/ped study. That “working group” quickly evolved into a strong, standing BPAC and has gone on to boost bicycling across the region.

For instance, the BPAC helped develop scoring criteria that boosted the number of funded road projects that include bicycle and pedestrian elements by an impressive 70 percent. The BPAC also advocated for policies to establish a 15 percent set aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects in the MPO’s transportation improvement program. Talk about changing the conversation!

Learn more about establishing and improving your local BPAC; read the entire report at


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