Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Capitol Hill visits: 2014 National Bike Summit

Last week CAZBike prez Bob Beane, along with Global Bikes co-owner Brandee Lepak, and PortaPedal's Al Capello attended LAB's 2014 National Bike Summit in Washington D.C...

AZ meetings on The Hill
Visited all 9 Representative offices and Senator Flake’s. We could not get an appointment in McCain’s office, but we will try to do that here in Phoenix within the next 7-14 days.

Of the 10 office visits, we had 5 actual meeting to discuss the bills. Nobody flat out turned us down, but nobody committed to either sponsor or vote for them, and all committed to presenting key points to their Senator/Representative.
Interestingly, we found out that Kyrsten Sinema is a triathlete and was actually at Brandee Lepak’s Global Bikes shop back here in AZ the week before our visit to kick-off an event. Here are the people we met and with whom we discussed the bills and bicyclist concerns anywhere from 5-20 minutes:
  1. Senator Jeff Flake’s Office – Michael Nelson, Legislative Correspondent. 
  2. Representative Matt Salmon’s Office –Lliam Norrison, Legislative Assistant
  3. Representative Kyrsten Sinema’s Office - Michael Brownlie, Legislative Director
  4. Representative David Schweikert’s Office – Beau Brunson, Legislative Director
  5. Representative Paul Gosar’s Office – Trevor Pearson, Legislative Aide
I believe that the consensus of the three of us who made these visits is that we have a lot of work to do in AZ aligning support from tourism, business and healthcare in order to make political gains. We believe that this, combined with more frequent visits to Congressional offices and, better yet, asking these folks to attend bicycling events (as honored guests) is how we will make progress toward more support for more favorable treatment in federal legislation and budgets.
We believe that the cities in Arizona are on board (we have 9 BFCs and two honorable mentions, which represent most of the largest communities in the state). It is the state legislature, federal representatives and ADOT that need more impetus to change. The Summit was helpful in prioritizing opportunities for our limited resources.

Monday, March 3 Sessions
Keynote Speakers – Phillip Darnton, Executive Director, Bicycle Association of Great Britain, and Andy Clarke, President, League of American Bicyclists

How to be successful in bicycling advocacy…
  • Focus programs
  • Work with the willing (rather than wasting energy on those who are not)
  • Talk to people who want to listen
Keys to success
  • Get a mayor (and city council or county supervisor) on board (most successes come from local leaders of change)
  • Continuity of effort and communication
  • Work on building resources: People, organizations, sources of funding, etc.
  • Emphasize route networks and connectivity (broken and incomplete routes/networks don’t encourage people to ride)
  • Have a long term strategy/plan/goal to provide a framework for shorter term projects and “asks” and to help maintain priority perspective
  • Train children to ride at ages 8-12. This is the critical time when persons incorporate bicycling into their lives…or not
  • Women need to feel safe bicycling…they determine whether children ride, or not, which affects the next generation’s view of bicycling
Tuesday, March 4 Sessions
Opening Plenary Mayor’s Perceptions on Bicycling: Benefits, Challenges and Opportunities

Panelists included Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ), Texas Senator Rodney Ellis and Pittsburgh Mayor, Bill Peduto

  • Mayors can be a major ally as they are highly motivated to have vibrant, economically successful communities
  • Developers are also interested…car parking lowers return on investment of real estate projects. Bike-in and walk-in retail is economically attractive
  • Advocate for “multi-modal” and “quality of life”…the “one less car” approach is a losing argument and doesn’t win supporters
  • We are facing a likely 30% cut in transportation funding over the next 10 years…it’s more important than ever to build alliances (other modes, health care organizations, retailers, community planners, developers, etc.)
  • The country needs a national bike strategy/policy framework…be a part of developing and supporting that
March 4, 9:30 am breakout sessions Rural State Success Stories
Improving bicycling in “Rural” states often requires different strategies and tactics than in more urban areas…
 Panelists: Dick Norford, Executive Director, Bicycle South Central Pennsylvania Shane Marshall, Deputy Director, Utah DOT Melinda Barnes, Executive Director, Bike Walk Montana Martin Shukert, RDG Planning and Design

  • Solicit community priorities and opinions, first, to see where support might come from. Then, look for projects that can tap into that support.
  • In smaller communities, identify key destinations first (library, community/retail center, schools) then explore connecting route options (e.g Hay Kansas Bicycle Master Plan)
  • Pick a project that is grant-eligible and pursue a specific goal (e.g. a trail-building grant from the Alliance for Biking and Walking for a Montana trail project to a local lake)
  • Engage local businesses and tourism officials in support for projects that will draw visitors and economic benefit (e.g. In Utah, this developed broad support for a DOT shift to an “active transportation” policy that supports bicycling infrastructure INCLUDING off-road paths in some areas)
  • Emphasize “quality of life” benefits that support tourism and property values
  • Work through others (e.g. engaged with a mountain bike group to connect with an effort to provide MTB access for inner city kids…this created support for bicycling and related infrastructure funding)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Brandee Lepak attends 2014 National Bike Summit

Below is Brandee Lepak's reports from the 2014 National Bike Summit. Brandee is owner of Global Bikes, she attended along with Coalition president Bob Beane, and PortaPedal's Al Capello...

Thank you for allowing me to be one of the representatives for Arizona. The trip was amazing and I was very proud to be one of three attendees from our state. At the summit I attended two of the break out sessions and spoke at a third.

The first session was called Bike Advocacy as a Political Platform. The panel consisted of local level elected officials who used their bicycle advocacy to get elected and used their positions to change the conversation about transportation. By attending this session, I learned how important it is to involve our political leaders in our cycling community. A guy asked the question of Dave Cieslewicz, the former Mayor of Madison, WI, “How can we influence politicians to be on our side?” He answered frankly, “Get me money, get me votes and get me in front of people/potential voters.” I host several cycling related events throughout the year and could easily involve politicians in my events. This was an "Ah-Ha" moment for me and I realized how much easier it would be to encourage them to vote on the side of the cycling community if they were involved in the process the entire time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Report from 2014 National Bike Summit

Last week CAZBike prez Bob Beane, along with Global Bikes co-owner Brandee Lepak, and PortaPedal's Al Capello attended LAB's 2014 National Bike Summit in Washington D.C...

Report #1, Monday, March 3
Keynote Speakers – Phillip Darnton, Executive Director, Bicycle Association of Great Britain, and Andy Clarke, President, League of American Bicyclists

East-Valley Map Volunteers needed

Many of you may not know it, but volunteers from the Coalition, led by Peter Mather, endeavor to deliver and keep stocked all Maricopa County bike shops with MAG (Maricopa Association of Gov'ts) Bikeways Maps. This is a huge task.

Peter needs your help -- in particularly he is seeking 2 to 3 new volunteers to deliver maps to shops in the the east valley – Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, and Queen Creek area; you would be assigned 8-10 shops closeby your residence; or perhaps by your work.  It’s best if the volunteer can go to the MAG ( office in the Valley Metro building in downtown Phoenix to pick up the boxes of maps, but if not I can maybe figure out how to get the maps to that person.  The volunteer with then  vist  the shops about once every two months to restock them.
It's a great opportunity to help you your fellow cyclits (and would-be cyclists!) and get to know and interact with the bike-shop community as well.

Please contact Peter if you can help at peterm@cazbike.org

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bike Master Plan Aims To Boost Ridership, Increase Safety

City of Phx Bike Coord Joe Perez
in front of the new green bike
 lane on Grand Avenue.

(Photo by Nick Blumberg-KJZZ)
The city of Phoenix is in the last stages of putting together a huge document, outlining its plans to make getting around on a bicycle easier and safer. It will address infrastructure for bikers and the relationship between bikes and cars....
"Admittedly, I'm a bit biased, but there aren't a lot of things I can see that are really negative about bicycling," said Bob Beane, president of the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists, "and I think Arizona is just kind of lagging."
Still, Beane sees opportunities. He said several of Arizona's cities have been ranked by a national group as being bike-friendly and that Phoenix and Glendale got honorable mentions. Beane said if those two cities improve, Arizona would become the state with the highest percentage of the population living in a bicycle-friendly community.  read the rest of the storty on 91.5