Announcing the Bike WranglerJanuary 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 8 Comments
Tags: bike wrangler, County Cycling Collaborative, Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health
LACBC is happy to announce that we’ve recently hired Jonny Green to be our Bike Wrangler! The wrangler is working with institutions, individuals and co-ops to acquire abandoned and donated used bikes and provide them to folks in low-income areas.
What follows is some history from the inestimable Joe Linton (who worked on applying for this grant) about how this program came to be:
The Bike Wrangler is one aspect of a two-year grant where LACBC is working with five other local bicycle groups to run programs that prevent obesity. The LACBC partnered with the Bike Oven, the Bicycle Kitchen, BikeRoWave, C.I.C.L.E., and the Valley Bikery to form the County Cycling Collaborative (“CCC”) in order to work together to pursue federal stimulus funding, as administered locally by the County Department of Public Health. It’s a long story, so sit back, put on your acronym decoder hat, and hear how the CCC Bike Wrangler got its start, and how you can get involved with the new wrangler program.
In late 2009, the Obama administration worked with congress to pass legislation to stimulate the economy. The federal stimulus, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA,) sought to create jobs by government spending on infrastructure, education, health care, various other stuff, and even a little for bikes. ARRA funding went to all sorts of projects all over the United States. It even paid for bike parking in Long Beach. A small portion of the ARRA money was administered by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) The CDC made ARRA monies available to health departments on a competitive basis – basically creating a program where local agencies could apply for CDC grant funding.
In recent years, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) had begun to focus on how to get Angelenos to do more regular healthy physical activity – including bicycling and walking. LACDPH started their Policies for Livable, Active Communities and Environments (PLACE) program which partnered with community groups and governmental agencies to promote changes to the built environment that will foster more walking and bicycling. The LACBC partnered with (and received funding from) the County’s PLACE program on two projects: Glendale Safe and Healthy Streets and the Culver City Bicycle and Pedestrian Initiative.
When the CDC put out a call to local health departments as to how they would create ARRA-funded programs, the LACDPH proposed two programs: one focused on preventing smoking and another on preventing obesity. The obesity prevention program includes both a nutrition component, and a physical activity component – which, of course, includes promoting bicycling. The anti-tobacco initiative is now called Project TRUST – for Tobacco Reductions Using Effective Strategies and Teamwork. The obesity prevention program is now known as Project RENEW – for Renew Environments for Nutrition, Exercise, and Wellness. RENEW includes components very similar to the earlier PLACE programs. LACDPH’s PLACE and RENEW programs both emphasize collaboration between various governmental and community groups to work together to improve health.
LACDPH held a meeting in late 2009 to announce its intent to apply for what would become the TRUST and RENEW programs. Representatives from LACBC, C.I.C.L.E. and Bicycle Kitchen attended and discussed the possibilities of working together on some sort of larger-scale collaborative project. We invited the other bike wrenching co-ops (Valley Bikery, BikeRoWave, and Bike Oven) to join a brainstorming session where we came up with a list of ideas on how we might promote bicycling via the LACDPH initiatives.
LACDPH liked our ideas and invited us to submit a more detailed proposal. We decided to call our 6-organization group the County Cycling Collaborative (CCC.) The CCC met and discussed and worked with LACDPH to narrow our ideas down to two main components:
- a Bike Wrangler (which, early on, we had called a “Bike Acquisition Czar” but decided that was too long and too authoritarian) who will acquire abandoned and donated bikes.
- a series of workshops and rides, which will teach safe riding skills, help new riders learn basic bike maintenance/repair, and get folks up riding bikes.
In late 2009, we submitted our CCC proposal to the county. The county submitted their much larger proposal to the CDC. We waited.
In March 2010, the CDC and the LACDPH announced that L.A. County had been awarded 32.1 million dollars in ARRA funding for the TRUST and RENEW programs. The grant lasts two years and funds various anti-smoking, nutrition and physical activity programs throughout the county. Among the components that bicyclists would be most interested in include bicycle master planning, complete streets initiatives, transit-oriented development plans, and the work of the CCC.
The LACBC is actually a partner on three different RENEW programs:
LACBC is taking the lead on the Bike Wrangler, though the Wrangler will definitely work closely with the four wrenching co-ops. C.I.C.L.E. is taking the lead on the workshops and rides.
In late May, LACBC advertised the Wrangler job opening. LACBC received about 20 applications which we narrowed down to four interviews, and ultimately hired Jonny Green. Jonny is a volunteer “cook” at the Bicycle Kitchen, a resident of Los Angeles Eco-Village, and a knowledgeable and committed bicyclist. As wrangler, Jonny is working with agencies, universities, institutions, and individuals to get bikes that have been abandoned. He’ll be triaging those bikes, working with volunteers to tune them up, then will make them available at workshops and at our local wrenching co-ops: Bicycle Kitchen, Bike Oven, BikeRoWave, and Valley Bikery.
Thanks Joe! He also has another excellent piece up about bike wrangling on LA Streetsblog. If you’d like to donate a bike or have any tips, please contact Jonny Green at 213-629-2142 or jonathan [at] la-bike.org.
Coming soon: we’ll tell you about the new space that is serving as the warehouse and workshop location for the Bike Wrangler!