Bikes Belong, in partnership with the League of American Bicyclists and with generous support from Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), is pleased to announce five REI/Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) Grant Awards. These grants of between $10,000 and $20,000 have been awarded to grassroots groups that are working closely with their city governments to make conditions better for bicycling in aspiring and designated Bicycle Friendly Communities.
Applicants for this invitation-only grant program were asked to present their high-priority bicycling projects within the framework of the BFC program's five Es—Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation—and explain how they'd execute these initiatives if funding were available. We were thrilled with the responses; advocates are doing innovative and exciting work on the community level.
The following groups received REI/BFC Grants and were recognized at the National Bike Summit on March 10th. Their priorities are highlighted below. Each grantee will receive technical assistance from the League's Bicycle Friendly America Staff to help develop and implement these initiatives, so they'll be poised to help their cities apply for BFC designation.
BikeDenver is helping its home city, currently a Bronze-level BFC, to reach Silver status. Through participation on the Denver Bike Initiative committees, they'll help the city to implement a bike-share program and improve city infrastructure and policies related to cycling. BikeDenver plans to work with their state group, Bicycle Colorado, to help update the Colorado DMV manuals and tests to include bike-specific information and questions—a key enforcement initiative. They'll also encourage more people to participate in Bike to Work Day through their Bike Pool program, and expand their successful Bike Valet at major events this year.
Learn more about BikeDenver. . .
LivableStreets Alliance—Boston, Massachusetts
LivableStreets Alliance is working with Mayor Menino's Boston Bikes Program on key initiatives that will help the city establish policies for safe street design and expand infrastructure for bicycling. They are providing technical assistance and facilitating community involvement to help Boston develop its Bicycle Network Plan, and working to ensure improved bicycle access on the many bridges over the Charles River that are about to undergo reconstruction. In the short term, LivableStreets is working to ensure that proposed stimulus funding for bike parking at transit stations will be spent quickly and efficiently on secure, well-designed bike storage solutions. These important goals will further LivableStreet's mission of working systematically to help Boston become a Bicycle Friendly Community.
Learn more about LivableStreets Alliance. . .
Bike Pittsburgh—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Bike Pittsburgh is tackling education and encouragement through public outreach by developing a local Bicycle Friendly Employers Program and expanding the popular Pittsburgh BikeFest—an annual 10-day event that celebrates cycling in the city—to include a criterium race and ciclovia event. They're also funding the reprint of Pittsburgh's famous bike map this year. The group is forging a strong relationship with Pittsburgh's new bike-ped coordinator, and will serve as a principal advisor on the soon-to-be updated Citywide Bike Plan and cycling investment strategy.
Learn more about Bike Pittsburgh. . .
Atlanta Bicycle Coalition—Atlanta, Georgia
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition (ABC) is working with the Atlanta Regional Commission and Georgia's Department of Transportation to enact Complete Streets policies and guide bicycle facility design. They're also helping to increase awareness through Bike Month and Bike to Work Week participation programs. ABC's unique approach to enforcement combines enacting new legislation and partnering with the police department to plan targeted-enforcement "stings" and update crash reporting and investigative techniques. Best practices from their enforcement work will serve as good models for other communities.
Learn more about the Atlanta Bicycle Campaign. . .
San Diego County Bicycle Coalition—San Diego, California
The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition is focusing on education and encouragement to promote bicycling in their city. Through public outreach and awareness as well a new social marketing campaign, modeled after successful programs in Chicago and Portland, they hope to get more people to use the excellent infrastructure that already exists in San Diego—and make the case for more bike facilities that will bridge existing gaps in the network. Evaluation of these measures is a key element of their plan and will help other cities adopt successful strategies to increase ridership.
Learn more about the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. . .
About the REI/BFC Grant Program and Partners
The REI Bicycle Friendly Communities Grant Program is a collaborative effort of REI, the Bikes Belong Foundation, and the League of American Bicyclists. Advocacy organizations in aspiring and designated Bicycle Friendly Communities are selected by our committee and invited to apply for funding to help their cities prioritize and reach BFC goals. The grants provide seed money for program development, bicycle master plans, infrastructure improvements, and innovative pilot projects. The League's BFC staff also provides grant recipients with consulting expertise to help groups prioritize and reach bicycle-friendly goals and benchmark best practices.
The Bicycle Friendly Community program was developed by the League of American Bicyclists to inspire city governments to create safe, appealing bicycle routes and facilities as well as programs that encourage people of all ages to ride bikes for transportation and recreation. Currently, there are 84 communities across the country designated with bronze, silver, gold, or platinum BFC awards. The League's BFC staff provides applicants with resources and technical assistance, and offers workshops and site visits for communities that want to develop and energize their efforts to become more bicycle friendly. Bikes Belong has been a key supporter of this important program since 2001.
REI —a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating, and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship—sponsors this important grant program. REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations, and financial contributions. For 12 consecutive years, REI has been recognized by FORTUNE magazine as one of "100 Best Companies to Work for in America." The company ranks 12th overall on the 2008 list. The co-op was recently presented with a 2009 Social Innovation Award by the Financial Times and Just Means for its social and environmental commitments.
Bikes Belong is the U.S. bicycle industry organization dedicated to putting more people on bicycles more often. Bikes Belong Coalition lobbies to increase federal bike funding, awards grants to support innovative bike projects, promotes bicycling and its benefits, and sponsors key initiatives such as the National Bike Summit. The affiliated Bikes Belong Foundation focuses on improving bicycle safety, enhancing children's bike programs, and making communities friendlier for bicyclists by backing national efforts such as Safe Routes to School and Bicycle Friendly Communities.