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September-October 2004 Newsletter

Bicycling for Louisville

by Barry Zalph


Over the years, a handful of stalwart LBC members and a few others have invested volunteer effort in local bicycle advocacy. Cheryl Brawner and Emily Boone deserve special recognition for their perseverance, even when it seemed a hopeless cause. They and fellow LBC members Susan Hammond, Mark French, Ron Schneider, Stewart Prather, and I have used the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) as a vehicle for positive change. Although BPAC has had a few significant achievements (most notably getting federal and state commitments to include bicycle/pedestrian paths on the two new interstate highway bridges across the Ohio River), we have been hampered by a lack of funding and staffing. Volunteers, most of whom have other volunteer commitments, only have so much time and energy to invest.

The North American cities with excellent bicycling environments tend to have strong, independent bicycle advocacy organizations. These organizations have paid staffs with expertise in road design and maintenance, transportation planning, adult and youth education, and promotion, as well as expertise and passion about bicycling as a sport and a mode of transportation. It is time for Louisville to have such an organization.

In January 2005, I will launch Bicycling for Louisville, a non-partisan, non-profit organization to increase the prevalence, safety, convenience, and attractiveness of bicycling in the Louisville area. Bicycling for Louisville will work to improve bicycling conditions for all ages, types, and skill levels of bicyclists. We will work to introduce new people to recreational and sport bicycling. We will encourage recreational bicyclists to use their bicycles for transportation as well. We will get into the technical nitty-gritty with the road engineers and transportation planners and land use planners and public works officials whose decisions affect every street, country road, bike lane, and multi-purpose path where we ride. We will work with schools, community centers, churches, neighborhood and civic groups, and road user groups to teach safe bicycling and safe driving. We will help the business community understand the benefits of encouraging bicycle commuting and providing good bicycle parking for their employees and customers. We will help the community at large understand that more and safer bicycling benefits everyone.

Bicycling for Louisville will work closely with the Louisville Metro government and other public, private, and non-profit partners. We support Dave Stewart’s and Brad Swope’s proposed road safety campaign, OneRoad. We will maintain close ties with LBC by having LBC members on our board of directors. Stewart Prather has agreed to serve on our board.

Bicycling for Louisville has joined Thunderhead Alliance, the national network of state and local bicycle advocacy groups. Thunderhead Alliance puts us in touch with the experiences of bicycle advocacy organizations, large and small, around the country. This will help us achieve success quickly and avoid reinventing the wheel.

Bicycling for Louisville will offer many opportunities for volunteer involvement. I will keep LBC members informed as these opportunities arise. If you have questions or suggestions about Bicycling for Louisville, please contact me at bzalph@earthlink.net or call 502-897-9799.


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