Last week the BTA descended upon Washington DC with the intent of changing the world. We sent two advocacy staffers, Gerik Kransky and Susan Peithman, along with board member Austin Ramsland to the National Bike Summit.
These three BTA representatives joined 22 other Oregonians (including representatives from Cycle Oregon, Bike Gallery, CCC, Travel Oregon among others) to form the Oregon Delegation (we had the highest per capita state representation at the National Bike Summit). Over 725 advocates, industry employees, and policy makers attended the Summit, which was sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and the International Mountain Biking Association.
The primary purpose of the National Bike Summit was for each of the participants to lobby their respective Congresspeople to consider co-sponsoring (or at least voting for) the following legislation:
• ACT Act (HR 4722)
• Complete Streets Act of 2009 (S 584, HR 1443)
• Safe Routes to School Reauthorization (S 1156)
• The Safe Routes to High Schools Act (HR 4021)
• Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act (HR 3734)
• Land and Water Reauthorization and Funding Act (S 2747)
The Oregon Delegation had our own additional asks that we discussed with Senators Wyden and Merkely; Representatives Wu, Blumenauer, and DeFazio, and staffers from Representatives Schrader and Walden’s offices. These asks included requests for funds for the following Oregon projects:
• Regional Active Transportation Demonstration Project
• Portland Bike Boulevard
• Corvallis-to-Albany Commuter and Recreation Trail
• Oakridge Ride Center
• Oregon Scenic Bikeways
• Restoration of the Historic Columbia River Highway
The energy at the Summit was amazing. It was fantastic to see so many advocates, industry, and policy makers come together and advocate for one collective national agenda. Apparently the enthusiasm for active transportation was contagious because even our Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, joined in on the active transportation action by announcing the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of walking and biking.
Our future looks bright but our job is far from done. While we’re in the midst of a potential national sea change in the realm of active transportation policy and funding, we need to keep pushing the agenda to our state, regional, and local jurisdictions to create the change on the local level. Talk to your friends and families about why active transportation is good for your community. Request sidewalks, bike lanes, and transit in your neighborhood from your policymakers. Show demand and demonstrate use. Tell your stories about how your life was changed by getting out of your car and out walking and biking. You make the policies and funding real and your requests help make them a priority.
Thanks to the generosity of Cycle Oregon for organizing the Oregon Delegation for the National Bike Summit.
To find out more information about the National Bike Summit check out these links: