New National Plan to Transform Bicycling
on February 22, 2012
The leadership of the Alliance for Biking & Walking, Bikes Belong, and the League of American Bicyclists has agreed that uniting the three organizations would dramatically improve their effectiveness in increasing bicycle use in U.S. communities. Leaders of the three groups issued a joint statement summarizing the outcome of their recent meeting in San Diego, February 13-14:
“Our enthusiasm to take this momentous step for the movement is matched by a commitment to do this right,” said Noah Budnick, Board Chair of the Alliance for Biking & Walking. The boards of all three organizations must ratify the agreement. Once (and if) that occurs, the transition team will work with a variety of board, staff, partners and advisors to determine the initial programs, membership structure, and staff needs of the new organization. “Changes will be implemented carefully and respectfully over time,” continued Budnick, “and it is important to say that all existing contractual agreements will be honored and the continuity of existing memberships is assured.”
“We can transform communities across the United States and accelerate the creation of a more bicycle-friendly America by combining the programs, resources, and members of these three leading organizations,” said Chris Fortune, Chairman of the Bikes Belong board and member of the transition team empowered to facilitate unification of the three groups. The transition team comprises representatives of each organization and will be working with the boards, staff, and members of each group to implement the process.
“There is a lot of work ahead,” acknowledged Hans van Naerssen, Chair of the League’s board and a member of the transition team. “We must determine how to combine the diverse strengths of a powerful alliance of state and local organizations, a storied national user group, and a vibrant industry association in a way that preserves their unique attributes and realizes the game-changing potential of a single entity.”
See the official statement here.
Read the announcement on the Bikes Belong or League of American Bicyclists’ blog.
For more information contact:
Tim Blumenthal, President, Bikes Belong
Andy Clarke, President, League of American Bicyclists
Jeffrey Miller, President/CEO, Alliance for Biking & Walking
Is the Alliance going to disappear?
If the boards of the Alliance, League, and Bikes Belong all move forward toward unification, we will be creating a new organization that will carry on many of the great programs and services our three separate organizations currently provide. The Alliance leadership is excited by the opportunity to work with our closest partners as one team and further leverage our strengths together. The new unified organization will have a significant focus on integrating state and local organizations and their needs into programs and decisions.
What will happen with the Alliance’s capacity building programs?
The Alliance’s trainings, retreats, coaching, and strategic planning are key components to building the capacity of organizations and leaders. Their worth is clear and valued by our partner organizations and, while details and changes have yet to be determined, these core programs will continue to be available in the new unified organization.
What is happening with the Alliance’s commitment to walking organizations?
The Alliance’s capacity building program, Benchmarking Project, Open Streets Project and core services are all available to walking and bicycling organizations alike. While the new organization will have a bicycling focus, the key programs of the Alliance will continue to be available to walking organizations. Furthermore, we will partner even more closely with America Walks.
Will Canadian and Mexican organizations be left out?
The new unified organization will be focused on the U.S. but as with walking organizations, our members in Canada and Mexico will have access to the capacity building programs that continue in the new organization.
Does our organization still need to renew?
Yes. For the year 2012, the Alliance will still be offering the wide range of services for state and local organizations. No final decision to change anything has been made; this is the kind of important detail we have to resolve in the coming months. Moving forward, we are seeking to create a vertically integrated membership structure that will benefit state and local organizations.
Which Alliance programs survive and which ones go?
The three groups are joining forces to maximize our impact at a time when our programs are working well. The goal is not to cut programs or staff, or to reduce costs. We remain committed to building the capacity of state and local organizations, benchmarking progress in biking and walking, promoting open streets, and offering our trainings and retreats. We are going to do these things with greater financial resources, stronger participation from our partners, and fully integrating the national, state and local advocacy programs of each group. We believe this represents a huge boost to all of our programs and for state and local organizations.
Should I continue to support the Alliance or wait to see what happens?
We encourage you to absolutely continue your support. The Alliance’s work is more important now than ever. The unification of these three organizations will magnify the impact we can have, while simplifying the structure and network of organizations that are working together.
What is the timeline and what is next?
Each of the boards of all three organizations will need to ratify this proposal, and there are still quite a number of important details to be worked out. We expect to work through most of this during the spring and summer with a decision to proceed (or not) by September 2012. If all goes well, we hope to launch the new organization by January 2013. We invite all our members to think of key elements you wish to see in this new organization. We will be doing our best to invite member input in the months ahead.