The Georgia Bikes Blog

National Bike Summit

In case you haven't been keeping up with our Twitter posts (http://twitter.com/GABikes), last week your entrepid author joined fifteen fellow Georgians for his first National Bike Summit in Washington, DC.

 This year was the 10th NBS, featuring the elegant slogan "Acting on a simple solution."imag0095

 The National Bike Summit is essentially a two and a half day event, with the first day dedicated to a series of panel discussions  and presentations on a wide range of issues related to bicycle advocacy, transportation policy, and best practices in both.

 Day two is the nitty gritty day of Congressional lobbying, where delegates from Georgia attended back-to-back meetings with Georgia's Congressional representatives and both Senators.

 In these meetings, led by constituents whenever possible, we discussed the economic and public health benefits of investment in bicycle and pedestrian faciltiies for Georgia's communities. Specifically, we asked that funding for Transportation Enahancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trail Programs not be cut when Congress considers a new transportation funding bill. These three programs represent the bulk of federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects in many communities, and any reduction in these programs would significantly reduce Georgia's capacity to build the safe, comfortable, and convenient network of bike/ped faciltiies that we need to:
reduce obesity, improve quality of life, ease congestion, encourage tourism & business siting in Georgia, and increase residential property values.

 It was a great experience, and I strongly encourage any bicycle advocate, and especially bicycle retailers and manufacturers, to attend next year's Summit if possible.

Additional photos from the 2011 NBS here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=400294495663&aid=334136

Removing Barriers to Community-Centered Schools

A great summary of the issues addressed by our program in the preface to Helping Johnny Walk to School: Policy Recommendations for Removing Barriers to Community-Centered Schools:

In addition to providing a place to educate our children, schools are also important anchors that help define and sustain our neighborhoods. Recognizing this fact, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has long urged citizens across the country to retain existing schools or construct new ones where they can function as true community centers.

In 2000 the National Trust published Why Johnny Can’t Walk to School: Historic Neighborhood Schools in the Age of Sprawl and included older and historic neighborhood schools on its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Since then, awareness about the health, transportation, and sustainability ramifications of school siting choices has grown significantly. In 2009 for example, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted that “factors such as school location have played a significant role in the decreased rates of walking to school, and changes in policy may help to increase the number of children who are able to walk to school.”

But despite this growing awareness of the benefits of community-centered schools, far too many existing schools continue to be threatened with abandonment, and new schools continue to be built far from the residents they serve. According to the most recent National Household Travel survey, only about 35 percent of K-8 students now live within two miles of their school.

As part of our Helping Johnny Walk to School: Sustaining Communities through Smart Policy project, we asked some of the brightest minds in their fields the following question: “What policies and practices are preventing the retention or development of community-centered schools?” We then asked them to offer suggestions for state reform. Their recom-
mendations provide the basis for this report.

Supporting rides and events

Do you help plan or organize a century ride or other bicycling event in Georgia?

Did you know your ride can now easily and conveniently contribute to statewide bicycling advocacy in Georgia through our Supporting Event program?

It can, and it's easy as peach pie! Our Supporting Event program implements a very simple formula for a win-win partnership:

Better bicycling conditions = more people riding bikes = more turnout for century rides and other bicycling events!

Check out the program details here.

Thanks for your continuing support of bicycling in Georgia!

City of Dunwoody backs HB 180

The City of Dunwoody unanimously passed a resolution supporting HB 180, the "Tony Serrano Three Feet Safe Passing Act" bill. The City of Roswell, a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community, has also passed a resolution in support of this legislation. Let us know if your community is pursuing a similar resolution!

Many thanks to Dunwoody's bicycle advocates and City Council for this emphatic support of safer cycling in Georgia!

Full text of Dunwoody's resolution.

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