Entries tagged: National Bike Summit

Community Bike Shop Gathering at National Bike Summit

imageThe Alliance is hosting a meeting of leaders from community bike shops from across the country during the 2012 National Bike Summit. We invite leaders of community bike shops from across the continent to attend this gathering so your voice can be heard.

Register for the meeting here.

While community bike shops play a critical role in getting more people on bikes, and engaging people and communities whose needs are often not addressed by traditional advocacy groups, there has not been a clear avenue for community bike shops to engage with national advocacy groups. This forum will be an interactive conversation among leaders of community bike shops and Alliance staff to examine how the Alliance can better serve community bike shops across the country.

Space is limited due to the size of our venue, so please register now to ensure you are able to participate. The meeting will be held at Teaism, 400 8th Street NW Washington, DC 20004, just a few blocks from the National Bike Summit hotel.

If you have any questions, please contact Mike Samuelson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Posted by mlhall on March 08, 2012
Tags: national bike summit, community bike shops, advocacy
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The Power of the Bike Pin

imageA couple weeks ago, my colleague at the League of American Bicyclists, Meghan Cahill, tried to convey the power of the pin. They may be plastic and, yep, they’re neon, but people go crazy for those little bike pins, she told me.

Yesterday, as I lobbied with the Missouri delegation on Capitol Hill, I saw that love affair first hand.

Everybody wanted a bike pin: receptionists, lobbyists, even random people in the elevator. We gave one to the staffer in Sen. Claire McCaskill’s office, who told us he rides to work everyday on Capital Bikeshare. We gave a handful to an assistant in Rep. Jo Ann Emerson’s office, who told us she owned a Trek and needed a couple extra for brothers who ride centuries. We dug in our bags and raided our own lapels to make sure the entire staff in Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s office had a way to showcase their boss’ incredible and continued support.

In the halls of the Senate and House office buildings, I saw bicycles pinned to countless suit jackets — and not just those of fellow National Bike Summit attendees. Those cheap plastic pins revealed something priceless: the near-universal appeal and affection for the simple act of bicycling.

That’s not to say our members of Congress were willing to commit to supporting continued dedicated funding for biking and walking programs. Many of the staffers told us they were with us on the benefits of active transportation but, facing a crushing deficit, they couldn’t commit to protecting any program no matter how valuable. So, while I was on cloud nine seeing all those bike pins, I know we need to get grounded for some serious work in the coming weeks and months.

We know we have an impact. Last month, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when our programs weren’t attacked in the hundreds of amendments to the 2011 House budget. That wasn’t dumb luck; that was the result of local and state advocates engaging their members of Congress in dozens of in-district meetings, highlighting the benefits of bicycling and, perhaps more importantly, showcasing the strong, influential constituency of our growing, bi-partisan movement. Alliance member organizations certainly led the way.

Late last year, America Bikes organized a national push to educate members of Congress in 182 key districts. Alliance leaders stepped up, committing to organize meetings in 86 key Congressional districts in 20 different states. So far, 25 have held meetings, 14 have scheduled meetings and 32 have meeting requests into their members’ offices. Those opportunities for education and relationship building are still more critical than ever. Though we dodged one ax in the House, we’re not out of the woodshed yet — not by a long shot.

So, as we all go back to our home districts, let’s remember the halls of Congress lit up with those neon bike pins. More importantly, when our members of Congress start making tough decision in the 2012 budget and the next transportation bill, let’s make sure they remember the critical programs and unified movement those popular pins represent.

Photo: League of American Bicyclists

Posted by Carolyn S on March 11, 2011
Tags: national bike summit, lobbying, league of american bicyclists, bike pin, america bikes
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Transportation Icons Call Bike Advocates “Unstoppable”

imageWearing his signature bow tie and Velcro strap around his pant leg, Congressman Earl Blumenauer arced his arms over his head and brought his palms together as if beginning a yoga workshop, not a plenary address. Looking out at the more than 700 bicycle advocates gathered at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC, the Democrat from Oregon barely cracked a smile as he asked the crowd to repeat after him.

“How many people are stuck in traffic right now to ride a stationary bike in a health club?”

To the general public that might sounds like a daily annoyance. To the attendees of the National Bike Summit, it sounded sadly ridiculous.

Each year, the League of American Bicyclists orchestrates a convergence of hundreds of bike advocates from across the country. For three days we network with other grassroots leaders, learn about federal transportation issues and deliver our bike-partisan message directly to our members of Congress. Each year the circumstances and politics are different but the aim is the same: Pushing for a nation where riding a bicycle outside is so safe and so conducive to daily transportation that the notion of spinning aimlessly inside is nothing more than the punchline of an ironic joke.

To fire us up yesterday, the League went to their go-to guy. Second only to former Congressman Jim Oberstar, Blumenauer is the foremost voice for bicycling on Capital Hill. He set the tone for our Congressional visits by noting the historic moment. Never before has Congress been so hotly divided, Blumenauer said. Never before could you visit two adjacent offices, occupied by equally sincere and intelligent people, and encounter such wildly different worldviews. Luckily, he said, bicycling bridging the deep and wide philosophical divide.

“It’s something that speaks to every single item on the front page of our newspapers: Oil instability in the Middle East, health problems, congestion,” he said. “Everybody on a bike is somebody who is not in front of you in a car, competing for a parking space.”

Making the shift from an expensive transportation system built around the automobile to a more efficient network that accommodates all users may be good logic, but it’s also a leap of thought. “The pivot point is not easy,” Blumenauer acknowledged. “We have habits and politics and mindsets that are entrenched.”

But bicyclists aren’t asking for much. We know times are tough. We know difficult decisions will have to be made in cutting projects and programs from the overstretched budget. But biking and walking make up nearly 12 percent of trips and get a mere 1.5 percent of federal spending on transportation. All we ask in these tough economic times is that our members of Congress have the foresight to retain popular and successful programs, like Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails.

“On Capitol Hill, you’re asking them to keep in place a framework that has transformed cycling across the country in past 20 years — all they have to do is not screw it up,” Blumenauer said. “You’re not asking for anything extra. You’re asking for near parity. You’re asking for attention and engagement. You’re asking them to listen, and, if you find someone who’s a little hesitant, suggest that they don’t cut what they haven’t visited.”

The second speaker, another rock star of the transportation movement, kept those wheels spinning. Janette Sadik-Khan, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, has plenty to brag about. She’s been the catalyst for a massive increase in dedicated infrastructure (a 250-mile bump in bike lanes) and, not surprising, a rapid rise in bicycling mode share (a 28 percent increase in 2009 alone) as folks of all ages now have safe, comfortable alternatives to the automobile gridlock in the Big Apple. But Sadik-Khan took the opportunity to boast about the efforts of advocates in other communities, flipping through a slideshow of smiling cyclists cruising down green painted bike lanes in cities across the country.

“It’s important to recognize how far we’ve come in such a short period of time,” she said. “You can see the kinds of progress all of you are making on some of the most famous streets in the country. You see this on Pennsylvania Avenue, an incredibly historic symbol. You see this on Broadway in my town, on Market Street in San Francisco, on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, on Spruce Street in Philadelphia, on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago and pretty much every street in Portland… The movement is there, the projects are there, and none of this was there just five years ago. All across the country we’ve seen tremendous breakthroughs thanks to everybody here in this room. It’s hard painstaking work, and I have a little feeling what that pain is all about. There are setbacks and disappointments, but that’s to be expected when you’re in the business of change.”

Thanks to Sadik-Khan’s vision, that change is measurable in New York City. Separated bike lanes — even the controversial project in Prospect Park West — have been shown to reduce travel speeds and cut traffic fatalities. “When we put down a painted bike lane, there’s a 50-percent reduction in fatalities for all users of that street: cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists,” she pointed out. “So when you put these bike lanes down, you are improving the safety of everyone that uses that street.”

Because of those impacts, Sadik-Khan has become an inspiration for many. But she turned that appreciation and awe right back on the Bike Summit audience. “To see what you’ve done in the past five years gives me so much hope for what we’ll do in the next five years,” she said. “I think it’s unstoppable.”

Blumenauer agreed. “This wave is cresting and I think we’ll be astounded about what happens over the next two to three years,” he said. “What’s driven at the local level, to me, is the tide that cannot be stopped… That tide is coming in in a way that will be transformational and, five years from now, this Bike Summit will barely be able to recognize how much progress we’ve made.”

So I guess it’s fitting that, as I’m leaving for my congressional meetings on Capitol Hill this morning, it’s pouring rain. Despite the dreary weather, I’m excited to meet up with friends and colleague from my adopted home state of Missouri. I’m proud and eager to be another drop in that unstoppable tide.

Photo: Commissioner Sadik-Khan and Congressman Blumenauer. (League of American Bicyclists, credit Chris Eichler)

Posted by Carolyn S on March 10, 2011
Tags: national bike summit
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Join us at the National Bike Summit

imageAre you attending the National Bike Summit?

The Alliance is excited to be a Steel sponsor of the Summit, a key annual event hosted by our partners at the League of American Bicyclists. If you’re coming to DC, be sure to stop by our table to say hello.

Pick up new Alliance materials that will be hot off the presses, like our 2010 Annual Report, 2011 Calendar Cards and Safe Routes to School Activity Books. Swing by to meet our new Advocacy Advance Program Manager, Brighid O’Keane, and chat with the rest of the Alliance crew about campaigns, programs and initiatives you’re working on in your community.

Plus, we’ll have a guest star joining us. Mia Birk, principle at Alta Planning + Design , will be hanging out with us Wednesday morning and the first 100 folks who stop by will get a free copy of her book “Joyride.” If you’re not familiar with Birk or her book, click here or here to read a review and interview I recently wrote for Momentum magazine.

For more information about the Summit, click here.

Posted by Carolyn S on March 07, 2011
Tags: national bike summit, mia birk, league of american bicyclists, joyride
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Don’t Miss our Advocacy Awards Reception March 8

imageWith nearly 100 nominations coming in from across the continent, we know you’re on the edge of your seat wondering who will take home the Alliance’s 2011 Advocacy Awards.

Well, the wait is almost over. Kick off the National Bike Summit in style by joining us at the Advocacy Awards Reception the evening of March 8. Meet us at Harriet’s (432 11th St NW, Washington, DC) where we’ll be announcing the winners and celebrating their successes from 8:30 p.m to 10:30 p.m. (The event will start immediately following the conclusion of the Opening Plenary of the Summit.)

We’ll be handing out one-of-a-kind plaques to individuals and organizations in the following categories:

  • Advocate of the Year
  • Advocacy Organization of the Year
  • Business Advocate of the Year
  • Susie Stephens Joyful Enthusiasm Award
  • Best Practices Award
  • Innovation Award
  • Winning Campaign of the Year

This is your chance to mingle with 200 bike-ped advocates and industry leaders. Plus, we’ll have an open bar, so swing by to raise a glass to top-notch advocates from across North America.

Date: March 8, 2011
Time: 8:30-10:30 p.m.
Location: Harriet’s (432 11th St NW, Washington, DC)

See you there!

Alliance Federal Policy Call Recap

Notes compiled and blog contributed by Alliance intern, Camie Rodan

Yesterday, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief to learn that the first rounds of budget cuts in the U.S. House of Representatives did not affect biking and walking programs. But things are changing by the minute. Though we dodged this bullet, we all need to stay on our toes, ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice.

To keep you informed with updates on federal funding and the happenings on Capitol Hill, we hosted our latest Federal Policy Call yesterday with our partners from America Bikes. Here are the highlights from that call. 2012 Budget

President Obama released a preliminary version of the 2012 budget this past Monday. At this point, it is very topline. America Bikes will be meeting with members of the Department of Transportation to learn more details. We hope to have more information for you by the National Bike Summit.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill

There’s been a lot happening on Capitol Hill. Nearly 600 amendments have been proposed to HR1. While none of these amendments attacked biking and walking programs, there have been brutal hits to transit, health and trails, including funding for the Centers Disease Control and Prevention. (UPDATE: The amendment we told you about yesterday, which would have zeroed out the Land and Water Conservation Fund, was defeated!)

We also could see amendments on the floor of the Senate in a few weeks. We will come back to you once the budget heads to the Senate, and will make sure you’re ready for any amendments that may come then.

On the transportation side, Transportation for America is still processing the budget information, but there are huge cuts in the budget for transportation itself.  The initial language includes cuts in New Starts, high-speed rail, and the TIGER program. If you’re not already part of Transportation for America, head over to their website to sign up and learn more.

March Forth Campaign status

Thank you all for scheduling in-district meetings. Not having an attack on the table comes from what you are telling your elected officials in your home district. We have a number of meetings scheduled and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes back as a result. These meetings are important in building relationships, as well as education. The Bike Summit is a great second step, and then we can follow up beyond that.

For instance: We heard from members in Wisconsin and New Hampshire, who both received positive feedback in their meetings. Strong support in Wisconsin is largely the result educating officials on the economic impact of biking, as well as the influence on tourism, both of which resonated with the elected officials there. Our members in New Hampshire also met with freshman Representative Frank Guinta’s in-district staffer, who was very receptive to biking and walking concerns. The staffer reported a good experience with the mayor of Manchester and bike paths, so hopefully he will channel that enthusiasm and support in his votes.

It is not too late to have in-district meetings with Members of Congress. Whether you are meeting with the member or a staffer, it’s a good idea to bring allies — a local bike shop owner or local elected official, for instance — to deliver a unified message. You may also want to think about upcoming events in March, April or May, during which you can introduce the elected official in a ribbon cutting ceremony, at the unveiling of bike lanes or opening of a new facility.

At this point, it’s imperative that we focus on general education and talking about the benefits of biking and walking. There are a lot of freshmen in the House and we need to educate them about how biking and walking is a vital part of transportation.

Feedback on Coordinated National Campaign and Importance of Unified Messaging

We’ve received feedback from our America Bikes partners that the biking and walking movement has been, by far, the most organized campaign in preparing for the vote in the House. We’ve found that economic and job analyses are very helpful and effective in getting our message across. America Bikes recently contracted with the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts on a new job-creation study focused on Baltimore, Maryland, which found that nearly twice as many jobs are created from biking and walking projects than regular road construction. America Bikes hopes to work with other cities and towns to get similar data. If you’re interested in helping facilitate such a study in your area, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Chairman Mica’s Listening Sessions

Chairman Mica, the new Transportation and Infrastructure chair, is doing a series of listening sessions across the country that started earlier this week. Nearly every single listening session coordinates with a new Republican that serves on the transportation committee, so this is an excellent opportunity to introduce them to and educate them about various transportation elements.

Unfortunately, we’ve heard that speakers at these listening sessions are by invitation only. Local congressional offices are coordinating the speakers list, so if you have a great person to speak, call your local office and see if they can tell you how to get on the speakers’ list. You can also scan the speaker list and reach out to the speakers directly.

The sessions are open to the public, and, while speakers are only by-invitation only, some written testimony will also be accepted. Be sure to check out where you can submit written testimony to ensure that your thoughts are recorded.

We need to keep in mind that the listening sessions are essentially a place for new members of Congress on the transportation committee to hear from constituents on transportation issues. It is important that we get biking and walking representatives, because this will be first voices they’ve heard on biking and walking. The main point we want to get across in these listening sessions is that biking and walking is important in their district and communities.

At this time, we do not know the format of these events. We’ve heard through the grapevine that different events will have different formats, so if anyone does get to an event, please let us know. If you are planning on attending one of these events, please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at the Alliance for talking points that were designed for in-district meetings. The most fundamental point we want to be reiterating: Biking and walking programs are beneficial for jobs, tourism, and our health, solving multiple problems simultaneously.

Don’t hesitate to contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)at the Alliance for additional information and resources.

Show Your Thanks — Nominations for 2011 Advocacy Awards Now Open

imageWhether you ate tofu or turkey, spent the holiday with friends or family, Thanksgiving begs a simple and significant question: What are you grateful for this holiday season?

As 2010 draws to a close, many of us are reflecting on the progress we’ve made this year. That progress is driven by individual leaders, advocacy organizations and business supporters working to transform their communities into better places to bike and walk. Now is the time to show your thanks for those who work tirelessly to make our streets safer and more accessible for all.

The Alliance is now accepting nominations for our annual, national Advocacy Awards. Established in 2009, our awards program honors those who show exceptional leadership in advancing the bicycle and pedestrian movement, including an Advocate of the Year, Winning Campaign of the Year and Innovation Award. Anyone can make a nomination — you don’t have to be part of an Alliance member organization — and the online submission form makes it quick and easy.

Do you know someone who deserves national recognition for his or her efforts? Did your local advocacy organization start or win an innovative or high-impact campaign this year? What corporate or business champions have invested in better biking and walking in your community? If you’re like me, a dozen people and a handful of groups just popped into your head. Show your appreciation by taking just a few moments to nominate them for an Advocacy Award.

Nominations are evaluated by Alliance staff, board and advocacy organization representatives, and the winners get some high-profile recognition. Each year, we host our Advocacy Awards reception on the first night of the National Bike Summit — and a couple hundred advocacy and industry leaders turn out for the big announcement.

Kate McCarthy, the recipient of an advocacy award in 2010, said: “Being honored with the Susie Stephens Joyful Enthusiasm award was a truly proud moment for me, like winning an Oscar for bicycle and pedestrian advocacy! It’s particularly special to me to be recognized for my work on membership at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, because I am not a typical policy advocate, and yet membership programs provide us the resources we need as advocates to propel our cause — ambassadors, volunteers, and revenue.  It was a true privilege to receive this acknowledgment from the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy community.”

Nominations close on December 20. To submit your nomination, click here.

Posted by Carolyn S on November 28, 2010
Tags: national bike summit, giving thanks, advocacy awards
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10th National Bike Summit Paramount Event

imageAccording to the League of American Bicyclists, “The 10th National Bike Summit ended last Thursday, March 11th, with a momentous Congressional Reception, inspiring bike advocates from around the country – and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood – to bring the American bicycle movement to the next level! The 2010 Bike Summit was a paramount event for countless reasons but there are 10 clear highlights. Drum roll please…

10. Rewards for A Decade of Service – The Summit really wouldn’t be what it is today without the ongoing support of three people we recognized for their decade of commitment to the event: Congressmen Jim Oberstar (D-MN) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have spoken at all ten Summits, offering words of wisdom and inspiration; always challenging us to aim higher. The third award was to Bikes Belong, the title sponsor of all ten – a serious financial commitment which they exceed every year by also drumming up attendees. Thank You! Just before the Summit kicked off, at the League’s annual meeting, we also recognized more than a decade of service by outgoing Chair of the League Board, Amanda Eichstaedt. She received the Paul Dudley White award for her contribution to bicycling over the years, including service on the League board and as Chair of the board for the past three years.

9. The League’s six asks for the Congressional Lobby Day were well received by our nation’s Senators and Congressmen.  H.R. 4722, the Active Community Transportation of Act of 2010, had nine additional bill co-sponsors as a result of our meetings on Capitol Hill.

8. Bike/Ped Eligibility for Transit Funds Increased – Speaking at the opening plenary of the Summit, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff confirmed that the eligibility of FTA funds for bicycling and walking projects has been extended. Following a Federal Register notice last year, FTA has agreed that bicycling projects that increase access and service to transit facilities are eligible for FTA funding provided they are within a three-mile radius of a transit station (one mile for walking). Eligibility doesn’t guarantee any more funding for bike/transit projects, but certainly removes a major hurdle that has prevented it in the past.

7. The Bikes Belong Coalition Political Action Committee (Bike PAC) – the bicycle industry’s bipartisan political action committee – had 10 members of Congress join the meeting!

6. Bikes Belong rolled out their new campaign People for Bikes – a brand-new initiative to put more people on bikes more often.

5. We had two members from Capitol Hill join us for the 10th Annual Congressional Bike Ride – Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) and Senator Merkley (D-OR)!

4. Representative Tom Petri (R-WI) pedaled a pedicab at the League’s National Bike Summit the afternoon of the Lobbying Day.

3. Google announced at the Opening Plenary Session at the National Bike Summit an addition to their suite of online directions -  Google Maps biking directions! “This new tool will open people’s eyes to the possibility and practicality of hopping on a bike and riding,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists.

2. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood energized and thanked the crowd at the League of American Bicyclists National Bike Summit on March 11, 2010 declaring, “You have a full partner in Ray LaHood.” On March 15, LaHood issued his new Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations. LaHood then made the most substantial statement the DOT has ever made about bicycling and announced, a “sea change. People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”

And finally, the number one reason the 10th Annual Bike Summit Rocked…
1. More than 725 bicycle advocates, educators, enthusiasts, and industry leaders attended the 10th Annual National Bike Summit and had more than 425 scheduled meetings on Capitol Hill! That is approximately 600 more Bike Summit attendees than we had 10 years ago!

To recap, the National Bike Summit was a great success, and the League is confident in the progress we will make in the year to come in conjunction with the Bike Summit! The League thanks all of our sponsors, advocates, supporters and industry leaders who turned out in record numbers to support the cause we all know will make America a healthier, better place to live – bicycling”.

For more summit news and information visit http://www.bikeleague.org/conferences/summit10/index.php

ACT Act Introduced, Alliance Announces Virtual Lobby Day!

imageRepresentative Earl Blumenauer(OR) just introduced the Active Community Transportation Act, H.R.4722, on March 2nd 2010. This groundbreaking bill creates a competitive grant program with $2 Billion to help communities build bicycling and walking networks. For the first time, communities would be able to compete for multi-year funding to build active transportation systems, just as they do for transit and road infrastructure.

“Too often we take for granted the value of being able to bike and walk to work,” said Blumenauer. “It’s unfortunate that many communities don’t have the infrastructure in place to make active and healthy forms of transportation more accessible. The ACT transportation grants will make it easier for people to get out of their vehicles and onto sidewalks or bikes, boosting both heart rates and community vitality.”

In conjunction with the National Bike Summit the Alliance is asking that you call your representative next Thursday, March 11th at the same time that over 700 Summit participants will have in-person meetings in congressional offices for a Virtual Lobby Day. For all the details, visit the Alliance action center.

Posted by nadegedubuisson on March 03, 2010
Tags: virtual lobby day, national bike summit, h.r.4722, funding, earl blumenauer, active transportation, act act
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