Nominate Your Favorite Advocate(s) for a 2014 Advocacy Award

By Mary Lauran Hall on January 01, 2014


As you contemplate your New Year’s resolutions, take some time to ponder this question: who made your community a better place to bike and walk last year? Chances are, the advocates who have been working hard to make biking and walking better on your streets deserve some time in the spotlight.

Sure, safe streets advocacy comes with its some of its own intrinsic rewards. A bicycle educator gets the satisfaction of seeing brand new riders careening around a parking lot after a successful lesson. A walking advocate gets to see happy families traveling to and from school on the crosswalk that their advocacy enabled. And a volunteer coordinator sees their careful prep work pay off when thousands of people pass through Bike to Work Day pit stops.

But most of the time, biking and walking advocacy is thankless work. Being an effective advocate means spending lots of time on absolutely essential but totally unglamorous stuff. Making our transportation networks functional for everybody entails yawn-inducing work like attending seven public subcommittee meetings on the visioning process for planning the prospectus for a transportation blueprint for the year 2030. It means constantly checking in with Local Transportation Official X to remind them that yes, they should make sure that bicycle and pedestrian access is a priority on the new repaving project by the public library.

For all their tireless work, advocates deserve some outside recognition. Why not celebrate their work by nominating them for a 2014 Advocacy Award?

Since 2009, the Alliance for Biking & Walking has held the Advocacy Awards to recognize excellence in the bicycle and pedestrian movement. I love the Awards because we get to shine a big ol’ spotlight on the often invisible, behind-the-scenes work that stellar advocates across North America do every day. The 2014 Awards ceremony will take place on the first night of the National Bike Summit, and will be presented by Bicycling Magazine. This year, we’re awarding Advocacy Awards in six categories:

  • Advocate of the Year - This award goes to an individual leader of a bicycling and/or walking advocacy organization who has shown tireless commitment to promoting bicycling and walking in his/her state/community. This person goes above and beyond the call of duty to transform his/her state/community into a great place for biking and walking. His or her time, knowledge, creativity, and commitment are the highest standard of excellence exemplifying a role model for peers.
  • Bicycling Magazine People’s Choice Award - This award is given to a state or local bike advocacy organization in recognition of exemplary work, executed within the past year, that significantly improved bicycling in their community. The People’s Choice winner has made a notable positive impact on bicycling and bicyclists in their community, whether through breaking ground on infrastructure or instituting programs to make bicycling accessible to all. Nominations will be received through the Alliance for Biking & Walking, and the winner will be decided by popular vote on Bicycling.com.
  • Susie Stephens Joyful Enthusiasm Award - This award commemorates Susie Stephens, one of the Alliance’s founders and an enduring inspiration for many members of the bicycle and pedestrian movement. The honor goes to an individual who carries on Susie’s passion for advocating for bicycling as a fun and economical means of transportation, as well as creating a safe biking and walking environment for all.
  • Advocacy Organization of the Year - This award goes to a bicycling and/or walking advocacy organization who, in the past year, made significant progress. Their leaders have worked tirelessly together to grow and strengthen their organization and fulfill their mission. The proof of their efforts is in the growth of their capacity and programs and the victories they have achieved for biking and walking in their state/community.
  • Winning Campaign of the Year - This award goes to an organization for a winning campaign, in the last year, which has had the biggest impact for bicycling and walking. Their victory will dramatically increase biking and walking in their state/community or will dramatically shift the way that biking and walking are considered.
  • Business Advocate of the Year - This award goes to a business, corporation or corporate employee who have constantly championed the cause of bicycling and walking advocacy. The time, money, and energy they have invested are evidence of their commitment to promoting bicycling and walking for healthier communities and sustainable transportation choices.

Know an advocate or two (or three!) who deserve the above awards? Nominate them for an Advocacy Award today. The public nomination process is open through January 16.

Of course, biking and walking advocates bear the public meetings and the government gridlock and the uphill battles because it really pays off. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. The neverending subcommittee meeting will have a huge impact on a transportation funding plans for the coming decades. Local Transportation Official X will end up nudging her boss to make sure that the bike lane does get constructed.

But let’s not make then wait to see the fruits of their labors—let’s raise a glass to celebrate their work. Submit your nominations today.

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This Week in Biking & Walking

By Mary Lauran Hall on December 20, 2013


Alliance Member News

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MassBike‘s highly graphic and numbers-based appeal hits a sweet spot. 

Advocates: how do you recap all your hard work at year’s end?

Parking enforcement officers in Philadelphia turn to Twitter for reports on cars blocking bike lanes, says the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia

Local Motion welcomes new Executive Director Emily Boedecker. 

Washington Bikes will open a retail store. Staff will offer advice on biking in the state, sell biking guidebooks and stock locally made bike-centric gifts. 

Here’s an issue that urban dwellers don’t encounter very often: conflicts between rural bicyclists and farm dogs

San Diego passed a bike master plan that calls for 595 additional miles of bicycle facilities, says BikeSD

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition asks the Mayor to address street safety in a neighborhood where four people lost their lives this year. 

Biking & Walking in the News

10 bikes fit in a single car space. 

A trail in Washington, DC that was started 20 years ago still isn’t done

Wearing a high-visibility vest won’t necessarily make drivers pass with greater distance. 

Cycling can save dollars and boost the economy.

Tags: roundup

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This Week in Biking & Walking

By Mary Lauran Hall on December 13, 2013


Alliance Member News

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Where do bike crashes happen Philly? The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has a map for that.

Biking in San Francisco has increased by 96% since 2006. Well done, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. 

Bike Pittsburgh reports that five people have been struck by cars while walking in Pittsburgh in the last week. Sheesh. 

New streetcar tracks have been installed in Kansas City, says BikeWalkKC.

Speed cameras in Chicago have reduced speed by 65% in their first 2 months, says the Active Transportation Alliance

A member of Canadian Parliament proposes making truck sideguards mandatory, per the Capital Bike and Walk Society. 

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association held a women’s workshop on street harassment and bicycling

Bike Austin and the Austin Cycling Association will merge

Bike Houston has been paying close attention to a recent death that has galvanized the biking community

Biking & Walking in the News

Driving rates keep falling, and bicycling is the new golf.

A new guide explains why some bike sharing systems succeed while others fail.  

Cheap parking in Seattle is super expensive

Tags: roundup

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Webinar Recording and Recap: Tracking State Legislation

By Christy Kwan on December 06, 2013


Tracking legislation at the state level isn’t always a piece of cake. With multiple bills moving at any given time and many relevant policy issues, it can be tricky to stay on top of what’s happening.

Fortunately, the Sunlight Foundation has created two powerful tracking tools to simplify the task. On a recent training webinar with the Sunlight Foundation and Advocacy Advance, we showcased two tools that bicycling and walking advocates can use to track transportation legislation. The tools, Open States and Scout, increase legislative transparency and provide advocates an easy way to stay on top of their states’ legislative activity. Advocates can research the laws that promote bicycling and walking, as well as discover laws in other states to use as model legislation.

 

Open States compiles legislative information from representatives, bills and votes in all 50 states, as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. This tool can help advocates research their state’s bills and legislators and gain a better understanding of a legislator’s committee membership, sponsored bills and recent votes. Open States can be a helpful resource for advocates to discover and cultivate their legislative champions who support bicycling and walking.

 

Scout is a rapid notification tool that can track specific terms within the full-text of a legislative bill, Congressional speeches and Federal regulations. Scout can also automatically alert advocates of any related updates or actions. Advocacy Advance has already created Scout alert for national bicycle laws, but users can also create customized alerts for their own states.

Open States and Scout are great tools for advocates to not only stay informed, but also to better positioned to galvanize support when needed the most. Click here to view the webinar recording and to learn more about these tools.

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Dates Announced for 2014 Winning Campaigns Trainings

By Mary Lauran Hall on December 03, 2013


Last month, we announced that advocates in Oakland, Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Santa Barbara will host Alliance Winning Campaigns Trainings in their cities next year. These hands-on trainings have helped Alliance member organizations launch and win dozens of campaigns for better, safer biking and walking across North America.

And now, we’re pleased to announce the dates for these 2014 trainings!

Oakland, CA: March 21-23, 2014
Hosted by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition and Walk Oakland Bike Oakland

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Baltimore, MD: April 11-13, 2014
Hosted by Bikemore

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Indianapolis, IN: July 25-27, 2014
Hosted by Bicycle Indiana

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October 17-19: Santa Barbara
Hosted by Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition and COAST

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One Step at a Time, Boston Advocates Boost Walking at the Local, State, National Levels

By Mary Lauran Hall on December 02, 2013


Despite their name, WalkBoston is not limited to Massachusetts’ biggest metropolis. The organization’s work extends to communities throughout the state, permeates state policy, and influences the national walking movement.

At the community level, WalkBoston advocates work with public officials across Massachusetts to evaluate the walking environment, improve walking conditions, and engage local residents in walking. Their work is far-reaching — from consulting with planners and commenting on proposed designs for schools and casinos to holding walking audits and creating maps to market walking, WalkBoston advocates will go the extra mile to make sure that public spaces are designed with people in mind.

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WalkBoston staff wave for the camera in the video for their Kickstarter campaign to create a walking map for Revere, MA.

“I think of our work as being a bridge between neighborhood groups and municipal or state agencies,” said Executive Director Wendy Landman. “We speak both languages.”

The organization has focused particularly on former industrial cities, where incomes are lower and people of color and new immigrants make up much of the population. In one such community, the design plans for a new school prioritized parking lot access over walkability even though over 85% of students walked to school. Advocates intervened by making recommendations to the design teams about how to better protect students walking to school.

At the state level, WalkBoston is deeply involved in helping the state implement pro-walking policies. “Massachusetts has been putting in place some terrific policies around modes of travel other than driving,” Landman explained. “We’ve been working with the state and with lots of other organizations to set the stage for change in the coming years.”

In 2012, MassDOT set a goal to triple the number of walking, biking, and transit trips by 2030. WalkBoston and other organizations, are helping the agency translate that directive into action. And in 2013, the Secretary of Transportation issued the Healthy Design Directive, stipulating that state transportation projects must take walking and transit into account. Advocates at WalkBoston want to make sure that the Directive is put in place with every new project.

“We’re hopeful that the 10,000 foot big-picture policies, like the modeshift goal and the healthy transportation compact, will be pulled down into the department and will change the way the department works, and then be further extended to municipal public works and engineering departments,” said Landman. 

But WalkBoston’s focus doesn’t stop at the statewide level. Nationally, Wendy Landman works with the coordinating committee for the Every Body Walk Collaborative, a national effort to build the walking movement.

“We’re starting to see the beginnings of a real national walking movement and strategy at the national level,” Landman said. “It’s exciting.”

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Call Summary & Recording: Messaging for Walking Advocacy

By Mary Lauran Hall on December 02, 2013


Walking advocacy carries its own set of needs around communications and marketing. What works for messaging bike-friendliness may not work for messaging walkability. From touting vibrant main streets to elevating the health benefits of regular exercise, a unique set of messages can be best for effective walking advocacy.

 

On a recent Alliance Mutual Aid Call, leading walking advocates discussed their hardest-learned lessons about effective messages to communicate the urgent need to boost walkability. Check out the below notes for an overview of all we discussed.

Alliance members can also listen to a call recording and see additional resources from the panelists in the Resources Library.

 

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Call Summary & Recording: Sales for Community Bike Shops

By Mary Lauran Hall on December 01, 2013


Selling new and reclaimed bike components and accessories is an important part of many community bike shops’ models. Everybody benefits when a shop can sustain its own operations by successfully intaking discarded bikes, upcycling them, and selling affordable bikes in the community.

On at recent call Alliance Mutual Aid Call, leaders from community bike shop discussed their shops’ practices for sales, including point of sale software, permissions, and price policies. Check out the below notes for an overview of all we discussed.

Alliance members can also listen to a call recording and see additional resources from the panelists in the Resources Library.

 

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Survey: What Do You Think of the Alliance Website?

By Mary Lauran Hall on November 25, 2013


At Alliance HQ, we can’t stop talking about it: we’re getting a new web site!

Yep, that’s right — the Alliance for Biking & Walking’s new online abode will debut in the spring of 2014. But before then, there’s a TON of work to be done — including figuring out how to make sure that our online resources are as useful as possible for people who care about making neighborhoods safer for biking and walking.

To help us decide on the best course of action, dear blog reader, I’d like to get your feedback. Will you take two minutes to fill out this survey about the Alliance for Biking & Walking website?

It only takes a moment, and will be really helpful as we revamp. The survey asks simple questions like how often you visit the site, what you know about our organization, and whether or not you’re a member. Easy-peasy.

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We’re deep in thought about how to make our new website great for biking and walking advocates.

Click here to fill it out.

Thank you!

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Biking and Walking Win Over $90M in November Election

By Brighid O'Keane on November 22, 2013


Cross-posted from the Advocacy Advance blog

This month, citizens went to the polls and voted on transportation ballot measures.  Seventy-three percent of transit measures passed, showing - yet again - that voters want to see their tax dollars spent on smart transportation investments.

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Graph: Center for Transportation Excellence

As described in Advocacy Advance’s recent report, “Success at the Ballot Box: Winning Bicycle-Pedestrian Ballot Measures” more and more bicycle and pedestrian advocates are pairing up with transit to achieve success at the ballot box. As states, regions and cities are looking for local sources of critical transportation dollars, this is a great funding opportunity for multi-modal projects.

How were biking and walking incorporated in 2013 transportation ballot measures? Here’s how, in 5 communities:

Tulsa, OK

Tulsa voters approved the $919M “Improve our Tulsa” capital improvement package, which will extend an existing 1.1% sales tax and a $355M bond. There’s a total of $23.4 million for “Bicycle/Pedestrian Infrastructure,” most of which is for ADA and sidewalks that will get built in areas where streets are being reconstructed. According to local advocates, the portion that has the most potential to make dramatic changes to our streets is the $4.2 million allocated to the implementation of projects from the forthcoming Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan. 

The Advocacy Advance team facilitated a Navigating MAP-21 Workshop in Tulsa in February, which included a campaign training for local advocates focused on directing dedicated funding from this package towards multi-modal projects. “This is a huge victory,” said Stephen Lassiter from Bike Walk Tulsa. “We can do a lot with $4.2 million. I think we could expect to see some significant changes to our streets in the next three years and beyond.”

Missoula, MT

The bicycle advocacy community was very involved in the “Friends of the Mountain Line” race in Missoula. The transit agency (Mountain Line) recently opened a new bike station at the system’s major transfer center and funds will support access to the station as well as racks on buses. Advocates involved a former Olympic cyclists to help with campaign outreach.

Mesa, AZ

The bond measure in Mesa, AZ included funding for “pedestrian improvements, multi-use path and trail improvements, and multi-modal transportation improvements” in its ballot language The city is now authorized to issue and sell over $79M in General Obligation Bonds of the City for its package of transportation planning and improvements.

Boulder, CO

Voters supported Measure 2B to fund transit, bicycle and pedestrian operations and maintenance through 2019. They also approved Measure 2D, which will start when 2B expires and last through 2039 to fund Boulder’s long-term commitment to a progressive transportation system. Additionally, voters supported Measures 2C to renew funding for open space. Together, these three measures total $67.2 million over 16 years for biking and walking improvements and maintenance in Boulder. The project list includes road diets, wider bike lanes and sidewalks, bike corrals, protected bike lanes and completion of our multi-use trail network.

Community Cycles received a Rapid Response Grant to support their advocacy efforts as the leader in a coalition that included environmental groups, open space supporters, former city council members and county commissioners and the Boulder Chamber of Commerce. “The Advocacy Advance grant allowed (us) to focus attention on running this campaign and doing all the organizing required to win these ballot measures,” said Sue Prant, Advocacy Director at Community Cycles. “The major electoral victory we won is a tribute to our staff’s organizing abilities, and to Advocacy Advance’s very timely funding that allowed us to dedicate the resources we needed in order to win this major victory!”

Rome and Floyd Counties, GA

In April, TRED Rome/Floyd, a trails advocacy group in Georgia, attended a Winning Campaigns Training to flesh out a campaign plan to include a more robust trail network on the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) ballot. Over the summer, they partnered with the city and a citizens committee to include 3.3 extra miles of trails on the project list, at a pricetag of $1.8 million. With the help of a great citizens group advocating for the entire SPLOST projects, lots of community marketing, and tireless speaking, the SPLOST won in Rome and Floyd County by a mere 84 votes last Tuesday. Therefore, once built, trails will connect varying points in Rome and Floyd County.


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Graph: Center for Transportation Excellence

Planning a ballot measure in 2014? Join the Center for Transportation Excellence’s Six Stops to Success webinar series and review the Advocacy Advance report for tips for success. CFTE and Advocacy Advance are pairing up on April 15 for the “Going Multimodal at the Ballot Box” webinar.

 

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This Week in Biking & Walking

By Mary Lauran Hall on November 21, 2013


Alliance Member News

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How do you advocate for bike infrastructure in a bike shop desert? San Francisco Bicycle Coalition advocates organize mobile bike clinics. 

The Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition reports that the city’s BPAC is requesting a fund for protected bike lanes. One step towards being a Green Lane Project city?  

You might have seen the “Is it OK to Kill Cyclists?” article in the New York Times. It sparked a lot of responses, and prompted Dave Cieslewicz at Wisconsin Bike Fed to reflect on good cycling citizenship.  

To help people pedal through the cold months, Bike Calgary works to make sure the city adequately clears snow and ice from bike routes. And SPOKES Bike Walk Connect shares 5 tips for winter bicycling.  

Chicago is redesigning their lakefront, and the Active Transportation Alliance wants to make sure it’s done right. To drum up awareness, they’ve highlighted how waterfront projects in New York, Portland, and San Francisco could serve as examples. 

Hooray for PA! Pennsylvania passed a state transportation bill with dedicated funding for biking and walking. Congratulations to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and  Lebanon Valley Bicycle Coalition

Bike Delaware eloquently explains the seven-word bill in Congress right now that could improve biking and walking safety. 

Women Bike PHL, an initiative of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, has a new report on the program’s successes thus far. 

A new mini-documentary highlights the need for better bike infrastructure in Georgia — and features advocates from Bike Athens and Georgia Bikes.  

Bike Texas has released their strategic plan. 

Washington Bikes mobilizes for a better state transportation bill. 

Biking & Walking in the News

Check out these tiled instant bike lanes. (Atlantic Cities)

BTA expands their reach with Advocacy 101 classes. (Bike Portland)

Transportation for America reemerges with a focus on local control. (Streetsblog)

Earl Blumenauer is all about “bike-partisanship.” (Politico)

Tags: roundup

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In Google’s Back Yard, Advocates Work to End Fatal Bicycle Crashes

By Mary Lauran Hall on November 13, 2013


The counties south of San Francisco Bay that make up Silicon Valley aren’t just home to some of the world’s most booming tech companies — they’re also fertile ground for bicycling. And the region’s growing populations of riders are lucky that they have a strong advocacy group working across the region to institute more bike-friendly policies and improvements.

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is pioneering a highly collaborative Vision Zero campaign to find solutions to some of the tough problems the area faces. While several organizations around the country have taken on strong Vision Zero campaigns — initiatives that aim to eliminate fatal bicycle crashes — SVBC’s initiative stands out for the unique ways in which in involves stakeholders from across disciplines and jurisdictions.

The idea emerged when the Coalition hosted a summit on traffic safety with Stanford University Hospital’s trauma clinic. Staff at the clinic were concerned about the number of people who were involved in fatal or life-altering crashes while bicycling. In response, SVBC worked with the Hospital to convene a diverse cross-section of stakeholders to discuss the issues around serious crashes. Conversation at the summit was so rich that the event’s key stakeholders agreed to continue convening as a lasting group to stop deadly crashes.

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Corrinne Winter and members of the Roadway Safety Solutions Team during the release of the Vision Zero strategic plan. Source: SVBC

The stakeholders organized as the Vision Zero Roadway Safety Solutions Team (RSST). Team members are diverse in both discipline and local origin: the RSST includes city councilmembers, DMV staff, AAA representatives, staff from California’s state department of transportation, first responders, law enforcement officials, and public health department staff from throughout Silicon Valley. The RSST is working to encourage safer infrastructure, develop behavior-changing public messaging, and institute better bicycle and motorist education.

“We’ve really built, over the last two years, a collaborative,” said Corinne Winter, executive director of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. “It’s just been phenomenal to watch.”

The Vision Zero initiative is already having a positive effect on how public officials approach safe street design. Small towns within Silicon Valley’s counties that previously had contradictory active transportation policies have begun to coordinate their bicycle and pedestrian design standards to ensure a smooth ride from point A to B. Transportation planners, armed with knowledge about locations of bike crashes in recent years, have held numerous site visits and targeted the most dangerous areas for safety treatments. And the Department of Motor Vehicles has already incorporated materials about safely operating a car around bicycle riders into its driver education handbook.

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Thanks to their participation in the Vision Zero team, the California DMV’s new driver handbook with instructions on bicyclist rights. Source: SVBC / CA DMV

Involving stakeholders from many different professions related to biking has been essential, said Winter. “The law enforcement guys have a very different perspective on what happens on the roadways than the public works folks do.”

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Announcing the 2014 Winning Campaigns Training Sites

By Mary Lauran Hall on November 05, 2013


The Alliance for Biking & Walking is pleased to announce the locations of its 2014 Winning Campaigns Trainings.

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2013 Winning Campaigns Trainings in (L to R) Cleveland, Athens, and Minneapolis

The Winning Campaigns Training curriculum, one of the Alliance’s signature training programs, adapts proven community organizing techniques to the everyday realities of bicycle and pedestrian advocates. Thanks to coaching at these trainings, Alliance member organizations have launched and won dozens of campaigns for dedicated active transportation funding, Safe Routes to School programs, Complete Streets policies, and other improvements to their communities.

Each year, the Alliance selects a number of cities for trainings following an open application process for biking and walking advocates associated with Alliance member organizations. Thank you to eveyone who applied to host trainings in 2014!

We are pleased to announce that 2014 Winning Campaigns Trainings will be held in the following locations:

Stay tuned for an announcement of the dates for these sessions in the coming weeks.

Here’s what past participants have said about Winning Campaigns Trainings in 2013:

    “This training empowered me to frame our issue into an achievable goal. The process truly leads you through steps to building a solid campaign.” - Taylor Lonsdale, board president of Bike Walk Montana

    “The training focused, inspired and energized our group.  It changed the way I think about our work.” - John Bennett, executive director of the Savannah Bicycle Campaign

    “WCT gives your organizations the tools and knowledge you need to win for biking and walking.” - Josh Wilson, executive director of the New York Bicycling Coalition

Interested in attending one of these power-packed coaching sessions? You can apply to a training near you! Plus, advocates associated with an Alliance member organization can use the Alliance member discount for a reduced entry fee. Stay tuned for details on 2014 training dates and applications.

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Call Summary & Recording: Forming Complete Streets Coalition

By Mary Lauran Hall on November 05, 2013


Cross-sector coalitions are powerful tools when working to pass and implement a state or local Complete Streets policy. By building partnerships with transit advocates, health stakeholders, economic development groups, environmental organizations and more, biking and walking advocates can multiply impact and ensure a great policy to build safe, accessible streets for all.

On a recent Alliance Mutual Aid Call, national and local advocates discussed their hands-on experience building winning coalitions for Complete Streets. Check out the below notes for an overview of all we discussed.

Alliance members can also listen to a call recording and see additional resources from the panelists in the Resources Library.

 

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Call Summary & Recording: Working with Police for Smarter Enforcement

By Mary Lauran Hall on November 04, 2013


Biking- and walking-friendly laws are important, but legal protections for bikers and walkers are only as effective as the enforcement of those laws. How can biking and walking advocates work with police departments to ensure that all people receive fair, lawful, and safe protection on community streets?

On a recent Alliance Mutual Aid Call, advocates discussed how they have implemented innovative ways to work with police departments for smart law enforcement for active transportation. Check out the below notes for an overview of all we discussed.

Alliance members can also listen to a call recording and see additional resources from the panelists in the Resources Library.

 

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