LACBC Storms Washington D.C. for National Bike Summit

March 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Posted in Bike News | 2 Comments
NBS2013 CA group

Eric Bruins, Alek Bartrosouf, Jen Klasuner, Cody Phillips, Cynthia Rose, Colin Bogart, and Dan Dabek before meeting with congressional representatives and staff.

There’s nothing quite like a national conference of leaders in the bike movement to inspire us and recharge our batteries for the coming months.  Last week, 750 bicyclists from around the country descended on our nation’s capital to ask congress to support active transportation.  LACBC was represented alongside over 70 Californians making the trek east, including our own Jen Klausner, Eric Bruins, Colin Bogart and Alek Bartrosouf.  Also in our posse were chapter leader Cynthia Rose of Santa Monica Spoke, LACBC board member April Economides (who co-presented on Bike-Friendly Business Districts and Bike Tourism), and Dan Dabek from C.I.C.L.E.. Cody Phillips, a college student and mountain biker from Altadena, also joined us to meet with congressional staff.

This year’s National Bike Summit was jam packed with information and inspiration thanks to a timely Bikes Mean Business theme and the second annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum.  We were addressed by livable streets luminaries including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.  There were also plenty of breakout sessions on diverse topics such as the economic impacts of bike tourism and mountain bike access in national parks.  Most interesting for wonks like me (Eric) was the research commissioned by the League of American Bicyclists uncovering what policymakers actually think of us, and how we can shape our messaging to most effectively reach them.  Another highlight was the release of a joint PSA between AAA and the League asking people to “Share the Road”.  Much of the conference was recorded on video and posted to the League’s blog, for your viewing pleasure.

Shadowed by Bicycle Retailer and Industry News magazine, we met with staff from 17 of the 18 members of Congress that represent part of LA County and both of California’s senators.  We asked our representatives to:

1) Join the Congressional Bike Caucus chaired by Democrat Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin,
2) Come to an event or see a project in your district, and
3) Sign on to a letter to Secretary Ray LaHood about performance metrics for the Highway Safety Improvement Program.

Alek, Cynthia, and Colin use D.C.'s bikeshare to visit the Capitol.

Alek, Cynthia, and Colin use D.C.’s bikeshare to visit the Capitol.

For a bit of background on ask #3: the federal transportation bill passed last year, known as MAP-21, devolves most transportation decision-making to the state and local level.  But, it also charges the U.S. Department of Transportation with creating performance metrics against which states will be evaluated for effectiveness in spending their federal money.  As anyone who’s ever been to school knows, when your teacher tells you what’s on the test, that’s what you spend your time studying.  We are asking USDOT to create a specific metric for bicycle and pedestrian safety so that states will be held accountable for their results.  This is important because when you just tell a highway engineer to make a road “safer”, they will usually make it wider and straighter, which we all know encourages drivers to go even faster and makes it less safe for those walking and biking.  But, when you ask a highway engineer to make a road safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, they’ll design projects that make the road safer for everyone, including shoulders on rural roads and bike lanes or even cycletracks on city streets.

Thanks to the League for putting on an amazing summit and keeping us up-to-date during the overhyped “snowquester.”  And thank you to our members for supporting this incredibly important work.

Check out the Streetfilms from the Women’s Bicycling Forum and the National Bike Summit.

Tales from the National Bike Summit 2012

March 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Posted in Bike News | 4 Comments

Last week Jen Klausner, Alexis Lantz, and I (Bobby Gadda) traveled to Washington, D.C. for the National Bike Summit. Advocates from 49 states came together to network (over 800 of us), share best practices and strategies, and lobby their representatives for more bike and pedestrian funding in the transportation bill. In between we found time to ride bikes around the Capitol!

Alexis rides a bikeshare bike past the White House. Who knew that the White House is right on a bike commute route?

For the first two days we met in workshops and presentations on bike advocacy. Below is a photo from our last session where we broke out into state delegations to organize for the lobby day. The feeling in the room was electric!

The California Delegation Convenes!

Lobby Day was on Thursday, when all 800 of us descended on Capitol Hill to meet with our representatives. Alexis and I met with several of our representatives from LA County, including staff from Karen Bass, Laura Richardson, Adam Schiff, Linda Sanchez, and Janet Napolitano. Jen met with staff from Congressman Waxman’s office and Senator Boxer. We asked for their continued support in maintaining and increasing bicycle and pedestrian funding in the transportation bill. In many cases we were thanking congresspeople for their work in supporting this funding in the past. We shared our stories about riding bikes in Los Angeles and specifically about the infrastructure in their districts funded by Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School that are important to all of us. All of the staff received our input with great interest. It was exciting walking the halls of congress and seeing other bike advocates  identified by their neon green bike pins we all wore.

Lobby Day wrapped up with our Congressional Reception, where the inimitable Earl Blumenauer presided and thanked us for our work. Bluemenauer is a representative from Oregon who has championed the bike cause for years, and is known around the capitol for his bow-tie and bike pin he usually wears.

Bobby and Alexis share a moment with Earl

The National Bike Summit was a great opportunity to connect with bike advocates around the country, and make our voices heard in the capitol. We can’t wait to go back next year!

LACBC Goes to Washington; National Bike Summit wrap up

March 14, 2011 at 10:24 am | Posted in Bike News | 2 Comments

On a rainy Thursday in DC, LACBC staff Alexis Lantz and Marissa Christiansen joined the ranks of more than 800 national bike advocates and 71 other California bike advocates for “lobbying day” on the Hill.  Thursday March 10th was the culmination of the League of American Bicyclists National Bike Summit, an annual endeavor aimed at bringing the country’s bicycle advocates, manufacturers, retailers and constituents together to lobby for the prioritization of federal funding for bicycle infrastructure.

The advocates’ bike attire was replaced with button-downs, suits and (for some of us) heels.  While our attire may not have represented the best choice in East Coast storm preparedness, our choice in messaging, asks and talking points proved successful.

Marissa Christiansen, Congressman Brad Sherman, Barbara Torres, Alexis Lantz, and Jessica Meaney in the Congressman's Capitol Hill office

Attendees from each state met with their Congressional Representatives to start a dialogue about the Transportation Enhancement, Safe Routes to School, and Recreation Trails Program success stories from their state and district and how bicycle friendly communities provide economic, accessibility and health benefits.  We had a particular challenge in dividing and conquering the meetings with eleven Senate and Congressional offices…but divide and conquer we did.  We were joined on many of our meetings by Barbara Torres (California Bicycle Coalition & North Hills resident), Jessica Meaney (Safe Routes to School National Partnership and LA resident), Gary Brustin (League of American Bicyclists & Santa Monica resident), Larry Pizzi (President of Currie Technologies and Venice business owner) and a few additional folks like Fred Clements, the Executive Director of the National Bicycle Dealers Association and JT Lyons who was also representing the National Bicycle Dealers Association and owns Moment Cycle Sport bike shop down in San Diego.

Each office we met with received a breakdown on their district’s Transportation Enhancement and Safe Routes to School expenditures over the last several years, the annual revenue generated from their district’s bicycle retailers, the basics of bicycle infrastructure economics and we stressed the importance of these funding sources for leveraging mass transit investments – especially with the 30/10 projects. Most importantly we extended invitations to all of our representatives to join us in their district for a walk or bike to school event and of course we asked them to join us on April 10th for CicLAvia.

California bike advocates right before meeting with Senator Boxer's staff

In addition to our congressional meetings we, along with advocates from around the state, met with staff from both SenatorBoxer and Senator Feinstein’s offices where we all shared local success stories to support the importance of Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, and the Recreational Trails Program funding to California. In both meetings we specifically talked about the public health issues in Los Angeles County as a result of the high rate of obesity in our area. According to the County Department of Public Health (DPH) Los Angeles County spends $3.43 billion on obesity related illnesses. Because of this DPH is funding multiple bicycle and pedestrian planning related projects in our area and cities such as Long Beach and Culver City are leveraging those dollars by applying for Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements funding. We shared their success stories and gave our senators support to help preserve the current federal funding levels for these programs.

In every office we met with a number of Congressional staff had someone, if not the representative themselves, who regularly enjoys a bike ride to work or for fun.  The sentiments were overwhelmingly positive, but there is still work to be done to ensure our infrastructure funding is protected in a political climate where everything is facing cuts. This spring Senator Boxer will be working with Chairman Mica (R-Fl) on the next federal Transportation Bill and we know it will be a tough battle to maintain current funding levels due to conservative climate in the house. So over the coming months we’ll be calling on those of you who live in republican districts in LA County to share your stories about walking and biking in your district with your representatives and ask them to step up in support of these vital funding sources for biking and walking.

We met with staff from the offices of:

Representative Linda Sanchez   (39th District)                                                                 Representative Dana Rohrbacher  (46th District)                                                                 Representative Henry Waxman  (30th District)                                                               Representative Maxine Waters   (35th District)                                                         Representative Laura Richardson  (37th District)                                                 Representative Grace Napolitano  (38th District)                                                               Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard  (34th District)

We met in-person with two congressmen:

Representative Xavier Becerra  (31st District)                                                                     Representative Brad Sherman  (27th District)

LACBC’s City of Lights Program Honored with National Best Practices Award

March 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Bike News | 3 Comments
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Last night, LACBC’s City of Lights program was honored with the Best Practices Award from the Alliance for Biking and Walking at the 2011 Advocacy Awards Reception in Washington D.C. Our own Alexis Lantz and Marissa Christiansen are in our nation’s capital for the National Bike Summit this week and were on-hand to accept the award on LACBC’s behalf and live-tweet the news.

¡Felicitaciones, Ciudad de Luces!

You can read more about the Alliance for Biking and Walking’s description of the Best Practices Award below:

The Best Practices Award goes to an organization that serves as a model for other bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations. In 2010, countless individuals and a number of advocacy organizations drew information and inspiration from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. The LACBC’s City of Lights initiative elevated the conversation about “invisible cyclists” – men and women who ride bicycles but whose voices aren’t heard and needs aren’t acknowledged because of language or economic barriers. Through thoughtful outreach and, more importantly, true collaboration, the LACBC is changing the dialogue among city officials about urban planning, bringing new cyclists into the movement and, expanding the scope of the bike-ped movement to address critical issues of social and economic justice.

Congratulations to all of the other 2011 Advocacy Award Winners: Bike Pittsburgh (Advocacy Organization of the Year), Jackie Douglas of Livable Streets – Boston (Advocate of the Year), New Belgium Brewing Company (Business Advocate of the Year), Michigan Complete Streets (Winning Campaign of the Year), Stephanie Routh of Willamette Pedestrian Coalition (Susie Stephens Joyful Enthusiasm Award), and Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (Innovation Award).

Marissa Christiansen & Alexis Lantz of LACBC accept the Best Practices Award for City of Lights on LACBC's behalf at last night's Alliance 2011 Advocacy Awards Reception. Photo: Alliance for Biking & Walking - Flickr

Thank you to the Alliance for Biking and Walking for recognizing our work. And thank you to all the City of Lights volunteers, participants, supporters, and sponsors for making this program happen!

Follow Up From the Bike Summit & “Give Me 3″ Press Conference

August 26, 2010 at 11:18 am | Posted in Bike News, LACBC Events | 6 Comments
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Yesterday, LACBC met with Jaime de la Vega and Heidi Sickler from the Mayor’s office to follow up on some of the key requests we brought to the Mayor’s attention at the Bike Summit.

1) Bike Plan Implementation Strategy:
LACBC submitted a call for the Mayor to immediately implement high profile bike facilities.
Please click here to view the document and priority list we submitted.

2) Bicycle Boulevards:
The implementation of the 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard is a LACBC priority. As 4th Street has support for Councilmember LaBonge, community members, and local stakeholders, we feel this Bicycle Boulevard, equip with the necessary traffic calming devices such as bulb-outs, traffic circles, bicycle activated signals etc, would create a precedent and establish some best practices for future Bicycle Boulevards. We are working with some of the instrumental volunteers, integral to this campaign, to put together a list of suggested treatments appropriate for each intersection. We will continue to work with LADOT, the Mayors Office and Councilmember LaBonge’s office to see this project implemented as soon as possible.

3) Complete Streets and Training:
We issued a request to the Mayor to issue a directive to all roadway engineers and department heads to abide by the Complete Street Standards outlined in the Complete Streets Law, which goes into effect in January of 2011. For years our road engineers have only been asked to keep vehicle traffic moving, we’re asking the Mayor to give them a new directive – a directive to design streets for the safety of all users and to safely move bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and vehicle traffic on the same streets. To accomplish this the Mayor’s directive would also require engineers, planners, and related staff within the departments of Bureau of Street Services, Bureau of Engineers and DOT to attend bicycle and pedestrian safety design training seminars.

4) Bicycle Safety and Awareness:
In continuation of the Bicycle Safety Awareness Campaign, LACBC requested that the City create a “one stop” city bicycle safety and information website. Links to this site or page need to be easily viewable from the homepage of city websites. Using the LADOT bicyclela website as a central location, we will be working with these offices to update and incorporate more information and resources to this site.

5) 3 Foot Passing Law:
The Mayor confirmed his commitment to seeing a 3 Foot Passing Law enacted in the State of California in 2011. LACBC will be working with his office and the California Bicycle Coalition (CBC) to draft language and find a sponsor for the law. The CBC previously worked to enact a 3 Foot Passing Law in 2006 and more recently to on a Vulnerable User Law – we’re hoping with the support of the Mayor the 3 Foot Passing Law and a Vulnerable User Law will both become law in the next year. We will be keeping you posted on our progress over the next few months and will need your support in Sacramento in 2011.

6) Updating Metro’s TOD Guidelines to Include Bicycle Parking Facilities:
The Mayor will be submitting a motion for the September MTA board meeting to incorporate better bike facilities with all MTA projects and improve bicycle access to transit. This would include triple racks on buses as well as bikes on rail.

City of Lights Featured in National Bike Summit Streetfilms video!

March 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Posted in Bike News | 4 Comments
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A grueling and exciting Bike Summit in DC last week it was! Summit activities included Urban Programs Coordinator Allison Mannos presenting on City of Lights at a “Broadening the Movement to Communities of Color” and LACBC Planning and Policy Director and City of Lights volunteer Dorothy Le and Allison lobbying federal representatives for bike friendly federal legislation, including Complete Streets and Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities.

The panel, which also included Jay Ferm, from Planet Bike as moderator, Alison Hill-Graves from Portland Community Cycling Center, and Anthony Taylor, of Major Taylor Cycling of Minnesota, was standing room only! Many groups around the nation were super interested and excited about trying to diversify their materials and programs and approached LACBC afterward. We are excited to plan potential future workshops that include urban cyclists’ needs and getting more women into cycling.  A warm thank you to Planet Bike for pushing this panel forward and sponsoring LACBC’s participation on the panel!

And if that wasn’t sweet enough, here’s the Streetfilms vid on the Summit with a brief interview on City of Lights by Allison.

LACBC at the National Bike Summit

March 8, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Posted in Bike News | 1 Comment

LACBC is on the way to the National Bike Summit, where we will be lobbying Congress on Key Bicycle and Transportation issues, including Federal Complete Streets Policy, Safe Routes to School Increased Federal Funding (and expansion to high schools!), Urban Parks and Cycling, and Funding issues.

Collectively, the LA delegation (including Elysa Walks (from Giant Bicycles), Andréa White-Kjoss(from Bikestation), Jessica Meaney (from Safe Routes to School) will be meeting with the offices of Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, Jane Harman, Brad Sherman, Henry Waxman, Laura Richardson, Loretta Sanchez, Ed Royce, to name a few.  We managed to obtain 14 meetings out of the 20 possible meetings with LA-area Congresspeople.  Truly exciting! (and lots of running around for many of us on the day of lobbying).

Following the Summit, we will create a powerpoint presentation available online, with the most important take-home messages of the Summit.

Of special note is City of Lights, which is part of a Wednesday morning panel called “Broadening the Movement to Underserved Communities.”

For more info on the Bike Summit, Click here:

Attached is a 1-pager LACBC has  made RE: LA specific asks. National Bike Summit- LACBC 1-pager

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