Today, we have parts of our region where the mere mention of bicycling elicits the cry of “We don’t need bike lanes.” And too seldom is there a credible, contrary voice in the room.
As the weather starts to improve and the 2011 spring season approaches, now is the time to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities for cycling in our region. WABA’s mission and goals have not changed: safe cycling for all, and facilities and laws that support it. But today we see such disparity within our area of service that to meet our greatest regional goals, we must re-prioritize the growth of cycling in underserved areas. We must put in the time and effort to engage new cyclists and to bring support and facilities to those already riding in these areas. Then, we must empower these cyclists to join us as advocates and will lend their voices to the transportation debate.
Our first area of focus is east of the Anacostia River in the District of Columbia. With the planned South Capitol Street Trail, St. Elizabeth’s redevelopment and trail, South Capitol Bridge replacement, and Poplar Point development all looming, the future of this area’s infrastructure for decades to come will be determined in the next few years. Wards 7 and 8 desperately need better bicycling facilities. And the future of the regional trail network depends on the completion of a viable connection from the Wilson Bridge to the South Capitol Street Bridge, and a viable connection to the east to transit and trails in Prince George’s County, MD.
Over the past months, we have worked to find leaders willing to help us undertake this challenge. We have found willing and able partners and we are ready to move forward.
We are pleased to present WABA’s proposed program to bolster and improve bicycling east of the Anacostia in 2011:
In sum, the cost of this ambitious sprint and summer outreach program will be nearly $50,000. But the benefits of increasing cycling and the number of cycling advocates in this critical part of our region, and of working to change the perception of cycling among Wards 7 & 8 residents and leaders, could be incalculable. We have identified approximately $15,000 in grant and other funds to go toward this effort, but this leaves a gap of approximately $35,000 that we need to make this project work in 2011.
Thus, we are asking you, our members and supporters, to help us with this special effort to highlight, promote, and grow cycling in 7 & 8. Our goal is to undertake this ambitious project without diluting our efforts on behalf of our members in other parts of the region. We intend to show strong results that will entice foundation funders to continue this effort and replicate this model in other parts of our region in coming years.
But we need you to take the first step. We must raise $35,000 to fund this program. This mailing has been sent to approximately 35,000 self-identified supporters of cycling in the region. That means if everyone reading this contributes just $1, we will be able to fund the program. We need need your support.
- A Learn to Ride course in Ward 8, taught on bikes provided by WABA or loaned by partners;
- Provision of 10 bikes to Ward 8 residents: to 10 individuals selected for commitment to starting cycling and continuing to ride regularly with the assistance of a WABA staff mentor;
- Provision of 20 Capital Bikeshare memberships to Ward 8 residents;
- Mentoring and encouragement with a dedicated WABA staff member, committed to helping keep these residents on bikes;
- Health benchmarking, including weight and body mass metrics, with comparison of pre- and post- biking health;
- Three small group rides marketed to residents of Wards 7 & 8 and WABA members, intended to help these new cyclists find their place in a supportive cycling community;
- Supplemental WABA outreach efforts dedicated to reaching out and encouraging cycling in Ward 8 with specific tabling events, outreach materials, and activities.
We hope that you will see this program as we do: as an investment in the future of bicycling in the region. And we hope that you will see the benefit of contributing to its success.
Thank you for your continued support.
- For $1, you can do your part while relying on everyone else to do theirs.
- For $20, you can fund a helmet for one of our 30 new riders.
- For $40, you can fund a lock for one of our new cyclists.
- For $75, you can provide a Capital Bikeshare membership to a Ward 8 resident.
- For $300, you can provide a reliable bicycle to someone in Ward 8 committed to trying cycling.
- For $1000, you can sponsor a ride for this community of new cyclists to join with WABA members and supporters on the road.
- And for $4,000, you can fund one month of dedicated Bicycle Ambassador support for this critical outreach program.