This Week in Biking & Walking: April Foolin’ Edition

By Mary Lauran Hall on April 04, 2014


Welcome to the Alliance’s weekly roundup of state & local biking & walking advocacy news. Every week, we crawl the blogs of our member organizations and bring you the most interesting tidbits.  

MARK THOSE BENCHES!

The 2014 Alliance Benchmarking Report will be released on April 16. Get a sneak peek at this webinar

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APRIL FOOLIN’

An Austrian study found that wearing costumes vastly improves bicyclist safety. Chicken suits are especially effective. 

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The Active Transportation Alliance will launch Skivvy, a bike sharing system for riding in your underpants

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Seattle doctors reported the first known instance of bi-pochondria, a condition wherein sufferers become fixated by imaginary hardships on their bicycles. 

Mayor Byron Brown will make Buffalo, NY the most bicycle friendly city on Planet Earth

INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

SF’s Portrero Avenue will get wider sidewalks, buffered bike lanes, and improved transit by 2015.  

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There might be good news on the horizon in Hennepin County, MN, judging by their new bicycle and pedestrian coordinator

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association reports that the DC Department of Transportation has not made any significant infrastructure progress under its current leadership. 

Arlington, VA will install the first real-time bicycle counter on the east coast

New York City’s Atlantic Avenue will be among the first priority corridors for Vision Zero infrastructure improvements

PROGRAMMING

Bike Pittsburgh hosted a sold-out Women and Biking Forum

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Silicon Valley advocates will host a Bike to Shop Day

THE BIG PICTURE

Bike Easy welcomes new Executive Director Naomi Doerner

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On the 20th anniversary of Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area, the SF Bicycle Coalition interviews its first member

A report on transit in Chicago demonstrates a severe lack of funding and expansion

Roadway fatalities are down in Georgia, except for people on bikes

ADVOCACY AVENUE

Four-time Olympic speedskating medalist Denny Morrison supports protected bike lanes in Calgary

Local Motion held the first-ever Vermont Walk/Bike Summit

The inaugural Southern States Caucus Regional Retreat and the Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference were great

Bikes need access on Shenandoah National Park administrative roads

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Greenville, SC advocates posted answers to a candidate survey for a county council seat. 

LEGISLATION LANE

Wisconsin passed a vulnerable user law, but without more severe penalties for drivers who kill or seriously injure someone.  

Meanwhile in Connecticut, a vulnerable users law passed in the Transportation Committee. 

California advocates are pushing for a vulnerable road users bill, too.

In Missouri, advocates are fighting an amendment to remove biking & walking from the state transportation bill.  

IN THE NEWS

The Shenandoah valley is gaining national recognition as a biking destination. (Virginia Business)

Pittsburgh may build protected bike lanes downtown (Trib; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Competitive walking was serious business in the 1870’s and 1880’s. (NPR)  

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Middletown, CT has adopted a Complete Streets policy. This Wesleyan alumna is pleased! (Hartford Courant)

TRAILER 

The Bicycle Lady of Bidwell is a colorful character in Buffalo, NY. 

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Webinar Recap: Winning Bicycling and Walking Projects in TIGER 6 Applications

By Mary Lauran Hall on April 02, 2014


The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced its call for applications for the TIGER Discretionary Grant program. Applications for $600 million total in funding are due April 28th.

To prepare advocates and agency staff for the application process, Advocacy Advance - the Alliance’s partnership with the League of American Bicyclists - held a webinar about the new round of grants and showcasing tips from successful past applicants. We heard lessons from successful projects from Sahar Shirazi from the USDOT’s Office of the Secretary, Darla Latourneau from Bike Walk Lee, and Erik Frisch from the City of Rochester, NY.

Missed the webinar? No worries - watch the video recording and see the presentation slides below.

 

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Call Summary & Recording: Collaborating with Health Stakeholders

By Mary Lauran Hall on April 01, 2014


There’s no doubt that bicycling, walking, and public health all go together. But how can biking and walking advocates better engage with the health community to bring robust biking and walking networks to our communities?

On a recent Mutual Aid Call, stakeholders from the public health community shared how advocates and agency staff can communicate, collaborate, and partner with health stakeholders to increase physical activity and wellness.

Missed the call? Check out the notes below! Alliance members can also listen to a call recording in the Resources Library.

 

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California Advocates Launch 24 Impressive Winning Campaigns

By Christy Kwan on April 01, 2014


Over a picturesque sunny weekend, nearly 50 advocates gathered together for the Alliance’s Winning Campaigns Training in Oakland, California hosted by Bike East Bay.

Bike East Bay – winner of Bicycling Magazine People’s Choice Award – is no stranger to winning campaigns. Just last year, Bike East Bay and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and Bikes on Board received a major win and convinced the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System to allow bicycle access on trains. Bike East Bay also undertook a major campaign during the November 2012 election to win a local ballot measure – which required two-thirds of the vote to pass – to institute a penny sales tax to win $7.8 billion for transportation in Alameda County. That local ballot measure, unfortunately, fell 700 votes short from winning.

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The entire group is pumped and ready to develop winning campaign plans. The training was facilitated by the Alliance’s Brighid O’Keane, Jackie Douglas from LivableStreets Alliance in Boston, MA; and Bike East Bay’s very own Renee Rivera.

The Winning Campaigns Training brought together a diverse group of attendees. Some were staff or board members from bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations, while others were volunteers or active community members learning about campaigns for the very first time. Despite the varying levels of experience, the entire group participated in lively discussion and laid the groundwork to develop a winning campaign.

Throughout the weekend, participants learned key campaign elements – everything from campaign issue definition to power mapping to how to build relationships with your elected officials to fundraising.  At the end of the weekend, participants had put together a 24 impressive campaign plans that they could use on Monday morning.

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Scenes from the Winning Campaigns Training in Oakland, Califronia. Top row: Participants work together to provide feedback. Bottom left: Participants eagerly wait for the Saturday afternoon bike ride to start. Bottom right: Champ from the Original Scraper Bikes and Natalie Burdick from Walk San Francisco practice their fundraising pitches.

Some of the campaign plans included winning a local ballot measure next November to include sustained funding for bicycling and walking; winning protected bike lanes along major corridors in Alameda County; providing safe and accessible bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure for senior citizens; removing pedestrian crash zones in a major downtown area.; and ensuring winter snow removal on bike paths in South Lake Tahoe.

Together, these plans and the others developed during the training will provide advocates the organization and head start to successfully win their campaigns and make the East Bay a more walkable and bikeable community for all.

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Get an Insider’s First Look at the 2014 Alliance Benchmarking Report

By Mary Lauran Hall on March 31, 2014


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The United States’ biggest bundle of data and stats on biking and walking is about to debut — and you can have a front row seat.

Every two years, the Alliance releases Bicyling and Walking in the United States: Benchmarking Report in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control. This massive report is a comprehensive, all-questions-answered resource on all things active transportation in the U.S. From ranking all the states and major cities on bicycle and walking friendliness to showing the connections between public health and transportation, this report answers nearly every question you could have about bicycling and walking in the United States.

The 2014 Benchmarking Report will be officially released on Wednesday, April 16 — but you can get a sneak peek at the most interesting parts of the report on our First Look webinar on Wednesday, April 9. Sign up online here.

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We’ll cover the answers to important questions like:

  • Where do the most people bike and walk to work?
  • What is the single biggest predictor of how many people bike and walk to work?
  • Where do the most women bike to work, and where is the gender split of bicycle commuters most pronounced?
  • How do biking and walking affect public health indicators, like high blood pressure and diabetes?
  • What are states and cities doing to encourage more biking and walking?
  • Where are pedestrian and bicyclist fatality rates highest?

Don’t miss this exclusive look at the state of biking and walking in the U.S. Sign up for First Look at the 2014 Alliance Benchmarking Report today!

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Advocacy Advance Brings Navigating MAP-21 Workshop to Orlando, FL and Concord, NH

By Christy Kwan on March 31, 2014


Cross-posted from the Advocacy Advance blog

February and March has been a busy month with Advocacy Advance. In addition to all of the great energy at the National Bike Summit and fun at the Alliance’s Advocacy Awards, Advocacy Advance has been on the road. We recently held our first two Navigating MAP-21 Workshops in 2014: the first in Orlando, FL; and most recently in Concord, NH.

Orlando, FL

Advocacy Advance facilitated its 20th workshop in Orlando, FL, with Florida Bicycle Association and MetroPlan Orlando. Harold Barley, Executive Director of MetroPlan Orlando, welcomed the crowd of nearly 50 attendees and emphasized the importance of transportation investments in the Orlando region. Attendees included a diverse audience—representing planners, engineers, advocates, business owners, and local elected officials from cities in the region.


Top: Harold Barley, Executive Director of MetroPlan Orlando, gives the welcome address. Bottom: Attendees walk and roll during the morning’s walking break, observing street conditions and applying knowledge about funding programs to improve safety.

Common themes emerged throughout the day. Attendees were concerned about bicycle and pedestrian safety, trail and commuter connections (including to transit), and the nuts and bolts of how to fund and implement a bicycle master plan. The diverse backgrounds of the attendees allowed for spirited group discussions and forming new connections and partnerships among attendees.

Concord, NH

The next Navigating MAP-21 Workshop was held at the end of March, hosted by the Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire (BWANH), the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and HEAL NH. Despite the snow from the night before the workshop, over 80 advocates and local agency staff gathered at DHHS to learn about public funds for bicycling and walking in New Hampshire.

The Concord workshop featured great support from elected officials, including a welcome letter from Governor Margaret Hassan, a recorded welcome address from Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and a keynote from Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. Congresswoman Shea-Porter spoke about her family’s experiences riding a bicycle and walking in their neighborhood and along New Hampshire’s beautiful trails, and the important need for safe infrastructure. Together, the Governor, Senator, and Congresswoman echoed the message for the need for safe and accessible infrastructure for people who bike and walk.

“Expanding opportunities for biking and walking as both transportation and recreation options requires a broad coalition,” said Tim Blagden, Executive Director of BWANH. “By working with partners we will increase awareness of the strong economic and health benefits of these types of projects. BWANH will continue to reach out across the state to involve more businesses, towns, organizations and individuals as we build a state that makes multimodal transportation safe and convenient.”

Where Next?

Advocacy Advance is hitting the road over the next few months, so stay tuned for more recaps and observations from our Navigating MAP-21 Workshops around the country. We hope to catch you at one of our upcoming workshops:

  • Honolulu, Hawaii: April 8-9
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: May 29-30
  • Carrboro, North Carolina: June 12
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee: July 10
  • Rio Grande Valley, Texas: August 1
  • Austin, Texas: August 4

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This Week in Biking & Walking

By Mary Lauran Hall on March 28, 2014


Welcome to the Alliance’s weekly roundup of state & local biking & walking advocacy news. Every week, we crawl the blogs of our member organizations and bring you the most interesting tidbits.  

SAVE THE DATE for the 2014 Alliance Leadership Retreat, September 5-8 in Laurel Highlands, PA (outside Pittsburgh)

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BIKE SHARE BLUES

Bike news was buzzing this week with news that Citi Bike will need substantial outside funding. Wisconsin advocates wonder: why should a bike share program pay for itself if no other transportation system is self-sufficient

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An expansion of San Francisco’s bike share system is on hold

INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

Minneapolis advocates are disappointed with the proposal for street improvements outside the Walker Arts Center. 

Kansas City’s streetcar proposal is short on biking and walking improvements. That will need to change if city leaders want to see fewer red roads on this homemade map of biking barriers

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Initial opposition has evaporated for a protected bike lane on Figoera Avenue in LA; all neighborhood councils are now supporting.

Polk Street continues to be the most challenging protected bike lane project in San Francisco, despite strong community support.

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And in case anyone needs proof that SFBC is no shrinking violet: an online counter to show how many walkers and bikers have been injured on Polk Street on Supervisor David Chiu’s and SFMTA’s watch

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Atlanta advocates propose a protected bike lane on DeKalb Avenue

PROGRAMMING

Jessica Binder of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, a nominee for the 2014 Susie Stephens Award, lists a full calendar of women-specific events

A women-only mountain bike clinic in Philadelphia! 

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THE BIG PICTURE

Omaha, like the rest of the country, is experiencing a decline in VMT

ADVOCACY AVENUE

Hawai’i advocates are getting ready for an Advocacy Advance Navigating MAP-21 workshop. In other news, Advocacy Advance staff are excited to be in Hawai’i. 

A complete streets coalition is forming in Milkwaukee

Boston’s parks department had a productive meeting with advocates after a controversial reluctance to clear snow from bike routes.

A Washington, DC councilmember backtracked after calling for a moratorium on bike lanes. Echoes of San Francisco circa 2006? 

Slow down there, sugar! Atlanta advocates will bring an etiquitte campaign to a popular trail

Local and regional summits are happening! Massachusetts’ south coast bikeway summit is next week; Maryland’s Montgomery County is hosting a summit next weekend. 

The Georgia Trail Summit agenda has been announced. 

LEGISLATION LANE

Ohio legislators nixed a three-foot passing provision. Advocates are fighting to get it back. 

The Hartford Courant supports the Connecticut vulnerable users bill

Here’s a baffling one: a “no cellphone while driving” law is under attack in Hawaii. Really? That’s controversial? 

IN THE NEWS

News report finds that drivers operate their cars in the bike lanes in DC. Zero bicyclists express surprise. (WTOP

Houston handles this problem with undercover bicyclists. (KHOU, h/t @ Alex Baca)

The WE Bike NYC crew that biked to the National Bike Summit from New York made the Washington Post

A nice profile of Advocate of the Year Nelle Pierson. (The Bicycle Story)

TRAILER 

From the Farmers’ Anti-Automobile Society of Pennsylvania, 1911: 

  1. Automobiles traveling on country roads at night must send up a rocket every mile, then wait ten minutes for the road to clear. The driver may then proceed, with caution, blowing his horn and shooting off Roman candles, as before.
  2. If the driver of an automobile sees a team of horses approaching, he is to stop, pulling over to one side of the road, and cover his machine with a blanket or dust cover which is painted or colored to blend into the scenery, and thus render the machine less noticeable.
  3. In case a horse is unwilling to pass an automobile on the road, the driver of the car must take the machine apart as rapidly as possible and conceal the parts in the bushes. 

Via Transportation Alternatives.

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This Week in Biking & Walking

By Mary Lauran Hall on March 21, 2014


Welcome to the Alliance’s weekly roundup of state & local biking & walking advocacy news. Every week, we crawl the blogs of our member organizations and bring you the most interesting tidbits.  

OPEN STREETS ARE IN THE AIR

The next CicLAvía is right around the corner - as is the National Open Streets Training in LA. 

This upcoming CicLAvía will be the most walkable yet

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Bike riders in Dallas got a highway bridge all to themselves for a whole day. 

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Advocates in the San Gabriel Valley are vying for public funding for CicloSGVía, an offshoot CicLAvía. 

INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

Bike lanes will be striped in Alexandria, VA. 

15 ways to protect bike lanes, IN ONE CHART

Activists are working hard to close the biggest gap in the East Coat Greenway: the Susquehanna river crossing

A Delaware MPO approved a plan that includes funding for a “bicycle highway” between downtown Wilmington and New Castle.  

Those dollars aren’t in Kansas any more: This Kansas city returned a federal grant that was supposed to be used to extend a local trail. And your little dog, too!  

San Francisco has committed to improving Market Street for walking, biking, and transit. 

PROGRAMMING

Check out the schedule for Pittsburgh’s first Women and Biking Forum

Wisconsin advocates held a Pi(e) Day ride

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THE BIG PICTURE

The movement for safer, better walking and biking has seen major growth since the late 90’s.


Wowie zowie: Walking rates in California have doubled since 2000

Washington Bikes has opened their retail store

Welcome, Crenshaw WALKS!

ADVOCACY AVENUE

Georgia’s 9th annual Ride to the Capitol drew hundreds of riders and several high-profile speakers, including Governor Deal.    

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Bike Delaware will fill this prescription at the upcoming May 1 Delaware Bike Summit

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Speeding is down more than 90% on streets where Chicago has installed speed cameras. 

A new study from Victoria, BC shows that about half of people shopping downtown arrived on foot or by bike. People who biked or walked to shops spent about as much as people who drove or took transit - findings that are consistent with similar past studies.   

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LEGISLATION LANE

Virginia’s new three foot passing bill is the state’s first pro-bike legislation in recent history

Oakland advocates have introduced a vulnerable road users ordinance

IN THE NEWS

Car-free households fall into two economic categories: unusually rich and unusually poor. (New Republic)

The fact that young people are switching away from driving shows that transportation preferences are malleable. (Grist)

With fewer bike police in South Pittsburgh, it will be harder for the city to address quality of life issues. (South Pittsburgh Reporter)

This ball is still rolling: 1 mile of protected bike lane is 100x cheaper than 1 mile of roadway. (Treehugger)

TRAILER 

Bicycle riders in Brooklyn circa 1896.


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TA is calling them “proto hipsters” - they’re all riding fixies and every day is a Tweed ride. 

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The Biking & Walking Boom, In Two Maps and One Dinosaur Comic

By Mary Lauran Hall on March 21, 2014


It’s hard to shake the feeling that North America is going through a walking and bicycling revival.

Prolific bicycle researcher John Pucher and colleagues declared a “bicycling renaissance” back in 2011, but it wasn’t until recently that biking for transportation really gained momentum in the public consciousness. Citi Bike’s bright blue presence in New York is perhaps the most notable example: the new bike sharing system has caught and held the attention of mainstream media, the fashion industry, and television writers.

Walking and street safety have seen similar boosts. Real Simple Magazine called walking “America’s untrendiest growing trend.” Vision Zero campaigns are gaining momentum all over the country. Even Los Angeles, that (in)famous bastion of traffic jams and car culture, is reinventing itself as a walkable, bikeable city.

And it trickles down from there. Popular podcasts discuss bygone times when streets were for people. Even Dinosaur Comics is in on the action:

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As a coalition of state and local organizations working to make walking and biking safer and more accessible for everybody, we find these trends pretty exciting. Especially because, in all of specific cases I mentioned above, local advocates played a big role in pushing elected officials and public agencies to make changes to make walking and biking better.

Transportation Alternatives worked behind the scenes for years to make Citi Bike a reality (and won an Advocacy Award for their efforts). Walk San Francisco, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition have been laser-focused on securing Vision Zero commitments in Google’s back yard. Los Angeles Walks valiantly defends pedestrian rights on LA streets. Even tiny towns in Idaho are desperate for more funds to build safe routes for walking and biking.

So walking and biking are booming in part because advocates are working hard to make it happen. But has active transportation advocacy really grown that significantly in recent history?

We pulled together a couple of maps to find out.

First, we went back in our records to find a list of all of the state and local bike advocacy groups in our membership way back in 1998, just a year after our founding. At that point, the bike advocacy world was really small – just a handful of groups were working on these issues at the state or local level across the U.S., and most became members of the Alliance when this national network formed. The Alliance was still called the Thunderhead Alliance, after a set of foundational retreats at the Thunderhead Ranch, and we hadn’t yet enlarged our mission to encompass walking organizations. That would come later, in 2004.

Here’s a map showing all of the Alliance’s members in 1998. Light green shaded states indicate a statewide organization; darker green pins indicate a city or regional organization.

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Pretty sparse. The American South and states between the Mississippi and California are looking especially underserved.

Contrast that with a map showing all of the Alliance’s members in 2014. Again, light green means a statewide or provincial group and dark green points mean a city or regional org. This time, the map includes both biking and walking advocacy organizations, since we’ve broadened our mission since we founded:

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The movement for better biking and walking has grown a LOT. Almost every U.S. state boasts at least one active transportation advocacy group (North Dakota, where y’at? Call us - we can help you get something started) and some regions are positively packed with advocates (I see you, Northeast Corridor and Bay Area). There are more citizens than ever before working to make communities safer and more accessible for getting around on foot and by bicycle. (Did we miss your organization on the map? By gosh, email me!)

We can ensure even more growth and progress in the coming years by growing and strengthening the organizations that do exist as we organize new efforts in communities where advocacy hasn’t yet taken root. Need help? The Alliance can help you create, grow, and mature your active transportation advocacy organization.

Let’s get out there and rouse some rabble for safer, better streets!

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Webinar Recap: Twitter for Media Relations

By Mary Lauran Hall on March 20, 2014


Twitter is useful for fueling engagement with your supporters and getting the word out about your issues. But it can also be a helpful tool in another communications arena: media relations.

On a recent webinar with the League of American Bicyclists, we shared tips on how biking and walking advocates can use Twitter to connect with reporters and get active transportation issue in the news. This was the fourth session in a series of social media webinars we’re doing together. For background, check out Twitter 101; Facebook 101; and Vine, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr 101.

Check out the recording below, and keep reading for some key takeaways and insights.

 

A blasphemous idea is taking hold in media relations work: press releases are terrible. See Chris Cassidy’s excellent Prezi for more on this, but the gist is that reporters get so many press releases that may or may not be relevant to their work that the mechanism has become all but useless.

So what’s a communications person to do?

Forget the properly formatted press release blasted out to a thousand media contacts. Instead, focus on relationships. Twitter can help.

Before you even need to blast something out, get to know the reporters who cover the issues you work on. This involves good old-fashioned press tracking, good ol’ email, and Twitter.

I use Talkwalker to track press mentions of the Alliance and Advocacy Advance, then compile them in a spreadsheet that looks like this:

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Note that I keep track not only of the article, but also of the author, their email, and their Twitter handle. When a reporter writes a story about our issues, I add their Twitter handle to the Alliance’s private media list – a list I maintain within the Alliance Twitter account. This list is close to the front of my Tweetdeck and I look at it often to see what reporters are talking about and connect when stuff in our wheelhouse comes up.

When you’re pitching something, it’s ideal to have an existing relationship with the person you’re approaching. Be a known quantity to the reporters who cover issues your organization cares about. Introduce yourself – maybe on Twitter! Make plans to grab coffee and ask more about what they’re interested in. Liz had a great suggestion, gleaned from a reporter for an alt-weekly in DC: offer to take a journalist out for a bike ride or walk in a particularly problematic area.

It can help, too, to make it clear to a reporter that you’re sharing their articles. When a story comes up about your organization or your issues, tweet it to your followers and include their handle in the message. This shows the journalist that you’re paying attention and that their work is resonating.

Chris also suggests having a separate press list where you track contact with individual reporters:

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Creating press lists is something I end up doing last minute when we have something to release, but it’s certainly smarter to track systematically.

Then, when you do need to release something, consider writing a blog post instead of a press release. Use real-person-speak to write it, not stuffy press release language and odd formatting. Write about the issue the way you would explain it to a friend.

Share the blog post with reporters in your network on Twitter. And do use email – just not a giant, faceless blast. Use language from your blog post to assemble a short email explaining the issue, then customize that message for each of the reporters you want to reach out to. Include a reference or two to their latest work so that they know you’re listening.

This isn’t to say that press releases don’t have a place. Sometimes you need to send out a big, un-personalized email to a lot of press contacts. But those moments should be few and far between. Unless you have a huge report, individualized outreach will probably serve you much better. And even when you do send a big release, breaking out of the press release format is never a bad thing.

What are your tips for using Twitter in media relations? Share them in the comments.

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This Week in Biking and Walking

By Mary Lauran Hall on March 14, 2014


Welcome to the Alliance’s weekly roundup of state & local biking & walking advocacy news. Every week, we crawl the blogs of our member organizations and bring you the most interesting tidbits.  

GREEN LANE GLEE

A new round of Green Lane Project cities has been announced! MassBike, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, Boston Cyclists Union, Bike Pittsburgh, Cascade, and Bike Denver are excited. 

INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

Here’s the SF Bicycle Coalition’s wishlist for new bike projects. Note: SF advocates asked for and incorporated feedback from members on what projects to push for—a good way to engage supporters in infrastructure advocacy. 

A proposal to reduce car travel lanes and add a bike lane on Washington Avenue in Philly

TRICKLE-DOWN FROM THE FEDS

Walking has been left out of the Federal Highway Administration’s proposed safety rulemaking. California Walks isn’t amused.

This week’s Supreme Court ruling on rail trails was a downer. Philly and Massachusetts advocates breath sighs of relief that the ruling won’t apply to trails in their areas. 

PROGRAMMING

Liz Jose answers questions about riding from New York to DC in the freezing cold with WE Bike NYC. 

ADVOCACY AVENUE

Bike Pittsburgh launched an Indiegogo campaign to get their popular Drive With Care campaign onto billboards again. 

The Youth Bike Summit prompted a Maine teenager to pledge to get more people riding. 

LeeAnne from BTA Oregon was at the Youth Bike Summit, too - and left feeling pretty jazzed about working with youth. 

The San Francisco MTA might be spending more money on post-it notes than on bike projects

California’s State Smart Transportation Initiative issues a scathing review of CalTrans, the state’s department of transportation. Among the findings, according to Dave Snyder: “The report reveals with undisguised disdain a number of senior managers who think that ‘bicycle and pedestrian facilities are not part of Caltrans’ mission.’”

Suburban Winfield, IL now has a bike plan

A new APTA report shows that transit ridership is the highest it’s been in 57 years. Active Trans asks why Chicago isn’t sharing in the boom.  

LEGISLATION LANE

The Massachusetts Senate approved $377 million over five years for bike and pedestrian paths. 

Wisconsin’s vulnerable road user bill may be dead

New York state senators are calling for dedicated Complete Streets funding

Florida’s governor has declared that March is Florida Bicycle Month

IN THE NEWS

A new economic impact study shows that DC’s Capital Bikeshare is good news for area businesses. (InTheCapital)

Apps and gadgets to boost bike safety for individual riders proliferate. (New York Times) Some among us may suggest that the best technology to boost bike safety is engineering our streets to be comfortable and safe for bicycling.  

The mayor of New Havent, CT has promised more protected bike lanes. (New Haven Independent)

Op-ed: Houston needs to better accomodate people biking and walking. (Houston Chronicle)

TRAILER 

Bill Murray on a bicycle

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Campaign Spotlight: The Little Trail that Could

By Megan Odett on March 12, 2014


For a small, all-volunteer organization, TRED Rome/Floyd County has big dreams.

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After successfully raising funds to build a trail to connect outlying and downtown areas of Rome, GA, Executive Director Julie Smith was approached by her local city government to partner on a local sales tax initiative to complete the trail and span the divide between city-county jurisdictions.

Julie attended a Winning Campaigns Training in Athens, Georgia in spring 2012. There she learned about the importance of strategically focusing on campaigns and mapping out the power balance among all the stakeholders who could influence the campaign. To Julie’s delight, she realized that her Power Map was filled with people who were already allies of her cause.

Armed with her power map and a new, laser-like focus on a targeted goal, Julie then began a campaign to add the trail project to a local sales tax ballot. TRED partnered with the city to get the trail project included as one of 27 local projects to be funded by the proposed $60 million earmark.

Decision time came just this past November, when citizens of Rome and Floyd County voted on the sales tax earmark. The measure was passed with a margin of just 84 votes. Julie credits the inclusion of the trails as a deciding factor in the narrow win, citing instances of citizens coming to her bike shop to tell her that they participated in the vote just to get the trail funded.

Three months later, not only does Julie have her trail funding, but TRED’s reputation and status have increased exponentially as a result of their campaign victory. TRED’s campaign victory has translated to unprecedented partnership opportunities with local foundations and corporations. Plus, the effort snagged TRED a nomination for Winning Campaign of the Year.

Julie cites the Training as a key factor in TRED’s win “The Winning Campaigns Training that we attended in Athens, GA forced our organization to truly put the micro lens on the one campaign that had the best chance of success,” she said.

Congratulations to Julie and TRED Rome-Floyd County on their victory. We can’t wait to bike with her on the new trail connection!

Are you interested in learning how to get wins like Julie’s on the campaigns that matter to you and your community? Check out a Winning Campaigns Training near you:

  • March 21 – 23, 2014: Oakland, CA
  • April 11 – 13, 2014: Baltimore, MD
  • July 25 – 27, 2014: Indianapolis, IN
  • October 17 – 19: Santa Barbara, CA

E-mail Megan Odett, Member Services Coordinator, to learn more about the trainings and opportunities for scholarships.

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In Citi Bike’s Success, Advocates and Nonprofits Played a Key Role

By Mary Lauran Hall on March 10, 2014


Guest post by Dani Simons

Last year we launched Citi Bike, the largest bike share system in North America, in New York City. Weeks before the system opened to the public, thousands of members had already signed-up, and eagerly awaited the chance to be among the first to take a spin on one of the big blue bikes. Less than a year since Citi Bike opened, our system has seen over 6.7 million trips; during the summer and fall we saw an average of 31,000 trips every day.

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Citi Bike has proved a big success in New York City. Photo courtesy NYC Bike Share

There’s no one single thing that guarantees a successful bike share program. Many factors play a role: political leadership, decent bike infrastructure or the commitment to building it, sponsors or charitable foundation support, and an experienced operating company that can be nimble and adaptive are all important.

But having a strong local non-profit organization that is invested in making bike share a success is a crucial piece.

In New York we are lucky to have two such organizations, Transportation Alternatives and Bike New York.

Transportation Alternatives, which recently won a 2014 Advocacy Award for helping to bring Citi Bike to New York, began advocating for bike share years before the City government was ready to consider it. Their staff researched best practices from other cities and started building excitement among their membership and the media about the idea of bringing bike share to New York.

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Transportation Alternatives organizers drummed up excitement for the system by having members pose in front of empty docks with “I can’t wait!” signs. Photo courtesty Transportation Alternatives

This excitement proved extremely valuable. T.A.’s members quickly signed up for Citi Bike, helping us sell out of 5000 “founding memberships” in less than 30 hours when the program first opened for sign-ups. And these members spread the word, inspiring more and more to join, making a Citi Bike key a must-have accessory.

Strong membership sales helped us financially, but also politically. Even when some in the press questioned whether New York City was ready for a bike share program, our numbers showed that clearly there was a strong interest in the program and people were indeed ready to ride.

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A woman holds up a sign during an outreach event with Transportation Alternatives. Photo courtesy Transportation Alternatives

Bike New York, in addition to running the hugely popular Five Boro Bike Tour, also provides free bike education classes. They’ve reached over 17,500 New Yorkers since 2011 alone. Since our launch they’ve also partnered with us to provide Citi Bike Street Skills, free, in-classroom sessions meant to give Citi Bike members and those considering membership the skills they need to ride confidently on city streets. During the warmer months, Bike New York helps us hold these classes at least twice a month. This program is an important part of our safety efforts, which also include giving new members a $10 helmet discount coupon redeemable at any bike shop citywide.

More informal organizations like NYC Biketrain are also partnering with us to host “member-meet-up” rides in which an experienced NYC bike commuter leads a group on Citi Bikes. These rides are meant to show off some of New York’s best bike infrastructure and help our members think about comfortable routes for commuting or just making quick trips around their neighborhoods.

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Member meet-ups along the Hudson River Greenway in New York City. Photos courtesy Citi Bike

Working with local bike groups allows us to offer more education, programming and excitement to our members. In return, we try to support the efforts of these groups in our communications, with donations of memberships, and collaboration on events. We see it as a virtuous cycle and couldn’t imagine having the country’s most successful bike share system without them.

Dani Simons is the Director of Marketing and External Affairs for NYC Bike Share, the Operators of Citi Bike. She also joined the board of the Alliance for Walking and Bicycling in 2014.   

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This Week in Biking & Walking

By Mary Lauran Hall on March 07, 2014


Welcome to the Alliance’s weekly roundup of state & local biking & walking advocacy news. Every week, we crawl the blogs of our member organizations and bring you the most interesting tidbits.  

WE’VE REACHED THE SUMMIT

WE Bike NYC riders made it to the Capitol after a long, cold ride from New York. 

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Advocates from Bike San Diego, Transportation Alternatives, Bike East Bay, WABA, and WE Bike NYC added 8 pounds to their luggage by winning Alliance Advocacy Awards on Monday night. 

On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto publicly nominated Bike Pittsburgh’s Scott Bricker to the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission. 

Advocates stormed Captol Hill on Wednesday. Several groups called on supporters to chime in from home. Bike Delaware wrote a nice listing of their delegation. WABA advocates secured support from DC’s representative for fixing the Rock Creek Park trail. 

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INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS

Bostonians showed up in force to support protected bike lanes.  

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THE BIG PICTURE

Bike San Diego, the 2014 Advocacy Organization of the Year, outlines goals for their second year and zeroes in on outreach

BikeDFW of Dallas/Fort Worth has a new logo

ADVOCACY AVENUE

California Bicycle Coalition advocates look to a recent New York City study for infrastructure and bikeshare inspiration. 

The City of Los Angeles has declared a Complete Streets day

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The SF Bicycle Coalition posts a public-facing visual breakdown of all the steps to building a bike lane. A great answer to “why is this taking so long?” 

Bike Cleveland pushes for an easment to connect the Maple Highlands Trail

The third annual Portland Employers Bike Summit, an event to encourage biking to work, will take place on May 16. 

Move over, New Belgium: proceeds from a new Oregon wine will support bike advocacy. This gluten-free communications director would like to request DC distribution, please. 

LEGISLATION LANE

The Virginia legislature passed a three-foot passing bill

The city council of Evanston, IL passed a Complete Streets resolution.  

A vulnerable road user bill is up for consideration in the Connecticut legislature - for the fifth time. 

The Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico is pushing for a ban on texting while driving

IN THE NEWS

Suit-and-tie bicycle commuting is growing in the greater Washington, DC area. (Washington Post)

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition has a plan for better safety on our roads. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Bike East Bay won the Bicycling Magazine People’s Choice Award. (Bicycling Magazine)

TRAILER 

Look at this bicycle pizza cutter. Just look at it. 

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Consider Biking Wins Biking & Walking Vacation

By Megan Odett on March 04, 2014


In December, we offered our members a simple deal: Renew by the end of the year, and you’ll be entered to win a trip from the fabulous folks at VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.

We put the name of every organization that renewed before December 1 into a vase, and Mary Lauran did the honors of selecting a winner.

We are delighted to announce that the winner of a $2,300 bicycling or walking vacation from VBT is…

(Drumroll please)

Consider Biking of Columbus, Ohio!

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Consider Biking, a longtime member of the Alliance for Biking & Walking, was founded in 1991 to help promote bicycling in the city of Columbus. A small but mighty advocacy powerhouse, Consider Biking was instrumental in helping Columbus become the first Bicycle Friendly Community in Ohio.

Awarding this vacation is the Alliance’s way of saying “Thank you” to Consider Biking and all our member organizations for their hard work in their communities and ongoing involvement with the Alliance network. Member dues important support for the Alliance’s work to boost state and local advocates in growing the biking & walking movement across North America.

Our thanks go to VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations for providing this wonderful gift and for their longtime support of the Alliance. VBT offers deluxe, small group bicycling and walking tours worldwide, including destinations throughout Europe, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru, Argentina, and the United States. Every VBT trip includes accommodations, meals, expert trip leaders, vehicle support and unique sightseeing and activities. VBT also includes roundtrip international airfare from over 30 U.S. cities and select Canadian cities for all overseas vacations. In 2013, VBT was rated by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine among the “World’s Best Tour Operators” for the fourth consecutive year.

As always, our biggest thanks go to our member organizations for their hard work and dedication to bicycle and pedestrian advocacy their own communities. If you haven’t yet renewed your membership for 2014 or are considering joining for the first time, click here!

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