Archive for September, 2009
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
Through the new Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will award $373 million to 30 to 40 communities throughout the country to reduce obesity and tobacco use. The program is an opportunity for bicycle and pedestrian advocates and local and state health departments to work together to secure significant funding to increase walking and bicycling for transportation and recreation.
Summary: On September 17, 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a new program: Communities Putting Prevention to Work. Thirty to forty communities will receive a total of $373 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) dollars through this competitive grant program to support interventions that reduce obesity (through improved physical activity and nutrition) and/or reduce tobacco use. Communities can apply for either focus area or both. This landmark opportunity is aimed at mobilizing community resources toward broad-based policy, systems, organizational and environmental changes. The application places an emphasis on communities demonstrating effective coalitions, and notes that special consideration should be given to the inclusion of populations disproportionately affected by chronic diseases.
On September 29, 2009 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the release of $120 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for prevention and wellness programs for U.S. states and territories, building on the recent announcement of the $373 million funding opportunity for communities and tribes around the country. In all, the comprehensive Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative will make $650 million available for public health efforts to address obesity, increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and decrease smoking.
Lead Applicants: Local and State Health Departments
Deadlines: Letter of Intent Deadline: October 30, 2009 Application Deadline: December 1, 2009
The Opportunity for Bike/Ped Advocates: Communities Putting Prevention to Work provides an important opportunity for bicycle and pedestrian professionals, enthusiasts, and advocates, as well as health officials, to act quickly to get your city or state to:
1. Apply for the funding;
2. Educate the health department about the range of bike/ped interventions that can be included in their application and action plan; and
3. Include your organization as a partner in the effort.
The Alliance for Biking & Walking has worked with America Bikes and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to prepare a list of sample bike/ped activities that fit within the five categories of evidence-based interventions that are required as part of this CDC application. Funds are available to make these projects a reality — so it is in your interest to work with your health department to develop the bike/ped aspects of the CDC application for obesity prevention, and to demonstrate how your organization can be a resource to them.
* Populations greater than 500,000: If you live in a city or county with a population of 500,000 people or more, your local city or county health department will be the lead applicant on the grant. You should find and contact the health department staff person who is the lead on physical activity or obesity. In addition, you should contact your Mayor and City Council members to urge them to ask the health department to apply for this grant with a focus on bike/ped to increase physical activity.
* Populations less than 500,000: If you live in a city, county, or community with a population of less than 500,000 people, then your State Department of Health will be the lead applicant. States can only choose two communities throughout the whole state to sponsor, so it will be important to reach out soon. Work with your local health department, Mayor or members of the Board of Supervisors to encourage them to reach out to the state department of health to include your community in the state’s application.
* Tribal Applicants: If you live in a tribal area, you should work with the health department lead staff on physical activity or obesity to prepare the application. Tribes are permitted to apply directly. Application Focus: The CDC Request for Proposals notes that the “key to the success of this initiative, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, will be to implement community-wide policies, systems, and environmental changes that reach across all levels of the socio-ecological model and include the full engagement of the leadership in city government, boards of health, schools, businesses, community and faith-based organizations, community developers, transportation and land use planners, parks and recreation officials, health care purchasers, health plans, health care providers, academic institutions, foundations, other Recovery Act-funded community activities, and many other community sectors working together to promote health and prevent chronic diseases. Funded programs need to build on, but not duplicate current Federal programs as well as state, local, or community programs and coordinate fully with existing programs and resources in the community.”
Please note that construction and research are not eligible activities.
Grant Information details available at Grants.gov
CDC’s Community Health Resources http://www.cdc.gov/CommunityHealthResources
Sample Bike/Ped Interventions for Communities Putting Prevention to Work
Potential Partners: League Bicycle Advocacy Organizations Operating at Local and State Levels and Alliance member organizations
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
League President Andy Clarke is attending U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s Distracted Driving Summit today. LaHood is hoping the Summit will raise public awareness and lead to a ban on distracted driving.
You can follow the proceedings on the Secretary’s bog Welcome to the Fast Lane and here for video. UPDATE: StreetsBlog DC reports that President Obama has signed an executive order prohibiting federal employees from texting while driving a government vehicle — or from texting on a government-provided device while driving any vehicle.
Chanda Causer of the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking asked Alliance Leaders what solutions they’d like to see advanced at the summit.
Dave Snyder, a San Francisco bike/ped advocate, recommends requiring the installation of a black box vehicle data recorder that would be accessible by law enforcement in the event of a crash and would help crash investigators know whether or not the driver applied the brakes at a reasonable time, was talking on the phone, listening to the radio, using their turn signal, etc. It wouldn’t require enforcement but it would be effective, as it would place responsibility appropriately.
Noah Budnick of Transportation Alternatives in New York City offers a complete analysis in the Executive Order report, which recommends 20 measures covering enforcement, adjudication, transparency, investigation and prosecution all aimed at changing driver behavior to improve safety.
Dan Persky of the Active Transportation Alliance in Chicago says their top priority on distracted driving is to stop use of electronic devices by transit operators. Illinois State Rep John D’Amico will be speaking at today’s Distracted Driving Summit, pushing this idea. They are also pushing the need for social marketing like Click It or Ticket for distracted driving. They call the campaign Drive with Care.
Kevin Cronin reports that ClevelandBikes was a part of a coalition that successfully advocated for a no text and drive law, which is not yet in force. The sponsor, Cleveland, Ohio Councilman Zachary Reed is also attending the Summit, representing the League of Cities. ClevlandBikes would go further, including hand-held and hands-free phoning as compounding the risk for cyclists, who are already vulnerable road users.
~Darren Flusche, League Policy Analyst
Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
The League of American Bicyclists announced 45 new Bicycle Friendly Business award winners last Thursday, September 24, including two platinum winners Bicycle Sport Shop of Austin, Texas and Quality Bicycle Products of Bloomington, Minn., at the Industry Leadership Breakfast during Interbike in Las Vegas, Nev. This was the third time BFB winners have been announced since the program’s inception in 2008 when the League announced the first 13 designees. “We are delighted so many businesses are using the BFB road map to encourage and enable their employees to ride – everyone from two-person neighborhood businesses to major corporations are getting on board,” stated League President Andy Clarke.
BFB businesses make bicycle friendliness a core element in the workplace and use innovative tools to promote bicycling as an easy and fun option for transportation and recreation. “There are a lot of very simple, effective and creative ways that companies are finding to get people back on their bikes, and we recognize those efforts with our BFB awards,” said Clarke. The League encourages businesses to inspire their employees to bike to work by incorporating the fundamentals of the BFB program. “Companies across the country are recognizing that getting their employees moving – either to or from work, in course of work, or even in their own time – is good for business.”
The BFB program recognizes socially responsible businesses that promote healthy, happy, and green workplaces and provides a road map to become even more bicycle-friendly in the years to come. Platinum-level Bicycle Sport Shop has noticed several benefits from supporting a bicycle friendly workplace, including improved employee health and fewer hours missed due to illness; reduced parking costs; improved lifestyle for employees; and improved morale for all staff. “We are providing life lessons for our employees, which help them improve their health and teach them how important it is to stay healthy,” said Leslie Luciano, Bicycle Sports Shop Advocacy Coordinator. Platinum-level Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) has also noticed several benefits of joining the BFB program – including increased bike commuting. QBP counts bicycle commuting towards the exercise criteria of the company’s health care plan, and in 2008, 346 different employees combined to register 27,906 one-way trips for more than 327,000 total miles.
BFB winners provide amenities such as secure bike parking and shower facilities and motivations such as incentives to commute by bike, company bike rides and clubs, and bike to Work Week promotions. When bicycling is infused in a company’s culture, great things happen: reduced health care costs; more productive employees; improved worker and customer satisfaction; smaller carbon footprint; and increased corporate social responsibility. “Bicycling is a readily accessible and practical form of physical activity that has the added benefits of reducing congestion and the need for parking, reducing the carbon footprint of a business, increasing productivity, and raising morale,” said Clarke. “It’s also great fun.”
Applying as a BFB is easy and free. Applicants receive technical assistance from the League staff as well as tools to evaluate and assess their bicycle friendliness through the application process. The BFB application is available online at www.bicyclefriendlybusiness.org. Click here to see our fall 2009 winners. Click here to see a complete list of 2008 and 2009 winners.
The Bicycle Friendly Community and Bicycle Friendly Business programs are generously supported by program partners Bikes Belong and Trek Bicycle’s One World, Two Wheels Campaign.
~Meghan Cahill, Director of Communications
Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
According to the US Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey (ACS), released today, 0.55% of American workers use a bicycle as the primary means of getting to work. This is up 14 percent since 2007, 36 percent from the first ACS in 2005, and 43 percent since the 2000 Census. See the League of American Bicyclists’ analysis of the numbers for the 70 largest US cities and the 50 states. You can look up this information for hundreds of communities and all of the states using the American Fact Finder.
Percent of Americans who bike to work
2000 Census: 0.38%
2000 to 2008: 43.40%
2005 to 2008: 35.80%
2007 to 2008: 14.30%
NOTES: The ACS numbers are estimated by the Census bureau based on samples taken year-round. The numbers in the tables above are rounded, if you calculate the percentages based on the rounded numbers, you’ll get different values than are presented in the second table.
~Darren Flusche, League Policy Analyst
Friday, September 18th, 2009
I’ve spent a lot of time in Portland, visited Boulder, ridden the cycle-tracks of NYC, regularly use the bike sharing system here in D.C. and I am anxiously awaiting the opening of our new BikeStation - I’ve seen a lot of what is considered forward-thinking, best practice infrastructure and programs in the U.S. that we tout in our Bicycle Friendly Community program.
photo: Jeff Peel
And then I went to Copenhagen.
I had heard the Head of Copenhagen Cycle Program Andreas Rohl at our National Bike Summit talking about the high levels of bicycling in Copenhagen and the widely held view that everyday cycling is perfectly normal, not a political statement or a daring act. Like everyone else, I thought, “Wow, that’s cool. That’s what we need to be shooting for.” But it was truly an eye-opening experience to see in person how bike-friendly a place can be. A place where bicycling is as normal of an activity in daily life as using a vacuum cleaner. As a bicycle culture consultant and leader of the Slow Bike/Cycle Chic movement, Mikael Colville-Anderson puts it, “We all have one. We all know how to use them. But we don’t have a fetish about them or think about them every day.” And that is exactly what I experienced. From ages 8 to 80 – everyone rode. Drivers respected cyclists’ space, as they are likely cyclists themselves! No special outfits, gear or fancy equipment was needed – though wasn’t shunned when used. After a few days I settled in and stopped thinking about it. In Copenhagen bicycling is the most convenient, quickest way to get around, nothing more.
In addition to mocking my inability to convert miles to kilometers and Fahrenheit to Celsius, Mikael was gracious enough to share his thoughts on world bicycling culture, normalizing the use of the bicycle, how far Copenhagen has come (they haven’t always been so bike-friendly) and even how far they need to go to grow beyond the 36% of the population who commute by bike. For those of you who live in the D.C. Metro area you can hear his thoughts September 30th along with League President Andy Clarke at Forum: Cycle Chic–Bike Culture and Policies in Denmark.
photo: Jeff Peel
I do think we have some wonderful examples here at home, and communities throughout the U.S. are moving in the right direction. The growth in League recognized Bicycle Friendly Communities is evidence. Learning from cities like Copenhagen helps us see what is possible, and how far we still have to go to reach our goal.
~Jeff Peel, Program Specialist, Bicycle Friendly Communities
Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
Senator Coburn’s (R-OK) efforts to attack transportation enhancements failed. Yesterday he introduced two amendments to the FY10 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill that would strike funding for transportation enhancements: S. Amendment 2370 which prohibited funding for transportation enhancements if the Highway Trust Fund does not contain amounts sufficient to cover unfunded highway authorizations and S. Amendment 2371 which would not allow states to spend their 10 percent of their surface transportation funding on transportation enhancements.
The League and several bike/ped advocacy organizations asked members to call their senators in opposition of these amendments – and your help worked! S. Amendment 2370 was withdrawn, and S. Amendment 2371 lost 39-59!!! You can see how your Senators voted here.
Thank you for all of the phone calls and emails to your senators!
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
Transportation Enhancements are the largest federal source of bicycle and pedestrian funding and they are under attack.
We need your help – TODAY!
Senator Coburn (R-OK) is offering two amendments to the FY10 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill that will strike funding for transportation enhancements. The two amendments are S. Amendment 2370 and S. Amendment 2371. Find out what transportation enhancement projects are in your state here.
The Transportation Enhancement program has provided between one half and three-quarters of all Federal funding invested in bicycling and walking improvements in the last 20 years. More than $250 million is at stake in fiscal year 2010 – if Coburn’s amendment is successful it will affect hundreds of trail projects, sidewalks, bicyclist education programs, bike rack on bus programs, and roadway improvements for bicyclists.
S. Amendment 2370 prohibits funding for transportation enhancements if the Highway Trust Fund does not contain amounts sufficient to cover unfunded highway authorizations.
S. Amendment 2371 allows states to opt out of the 10 percent set aside rule that require states to spend at least 10 percent of their surface transportation funding on transportation enhancements.
We expect the amendments to be offered and voted on during Senate floor debate tomorrow, Wednesday, September 16.
Please call your Senator immediately and urge them to vote NO on S. Amendment 2370 and S. Amendment 2371 to the FY10 transportation appropriations bill.
Friday, September 11th, 2009
The New York Times reports on the trend of fashion companies marketing bicycles and bike gear. Bikes are showing up on runways and in high-end shop window displays. Designers are incorporating bikes and bike style into their looks. According to the article, “purists worry that their beloved rides are becoming showy status symbols.” One bicycling journalist was quoted as saying, “If you unleash a herd of teetering, wobbly fashionistas into city streets without any real knowledge of how to ride a bike in traffic, accidents can (and likely will) happen.”
If there are enough of these high-end cyclists wobbling around city streets for the average cyclists to notice, then the retailers truly have been doing their job well. Just like any other new cyclists, these high-fashion riders will take a few laps around the block before they’re totally comfortable. In the meantime, the League’s bike education courses are available to everyone.
But given the trepidation many still feel about riding on city streets, it says a lot about people’s perceptions about bicycling safety that this conversation about flooding the streets with fashionistas is even taking place. The article credits New York City’s installation of 120 miles of bike lanes with making the city’s riders feel more comfortable. As the Times article puts it, “’LVMH [the company that owns Louis Vuitton, Fendi and DKNY]wouldn’t make a $9,000 bike if you couldn’t actually ride down Eighth Avenue in your Zegna suit or Chanel dress and make it to work in one piece,’ Philippe von Borries, a founder of Refinery29, the fashion Web site, wrote by e-mail.”
The more cyclists, the better. Building an inclusive movement means sharing the spotlight, and the road, with all types of riders. If someone wants to turn what we love to do into a status symbol, they should feel free.
~Darren Flusche, League Policy Analyst
Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
If you thought getting Federal funding for your bike project or program was difficult…wait til you see how complicated it is to give Washington back money that hasn’t been spent! Yes, the Federal government has issued another call for rescissions – the mechanism by which unspent or unobligated transportation funds are sent back to Washington to help fund future rounds of transportation expenditures. This time, the Feds are asking for $8.7 billion, and at first blush it looks as if State Departments of Transportation have relatively little flexibility as to which funds they have to send back to Washington. The memo is an incredible testament to the ways in which a relatively simple concept can be made convoluted and impenetrable, so it was a huge relief to see that there’s a handy table in the memo from the Federal Highway Administration to the states that says how much money they should be sending back from each particular program.
However, as we were discussing the details and implications of the rescission with our colleagues at America Bikes and the Alliance for Biking and Walking, we eventually found the catch and the reason why we needed the Alliance to get the word out to their member groups ASAP. It turns out that the amounts shown in the table are shown irrespective of whether or not those funds have already been spent on a particular program. If a state has indeed obligated or spent all its funds in one program area, it has to make up the amount that needs to be rescinded from other programs where they still have a balance of unspent funds. Lo and behold, even after years of exhorting states to spend their transportation enhancement and congestion mitigation funds up to the maximum allowed, many have dragged their feet and it those funds – the funds most likely to ever be used for bike projects – that are now potentially going to make up the shortfall in funds that have to be sent back to the US Treasury!
Check the League’s advocacy page, and stay in touch through the America Bikes and Alliance websites. This is an issue that won’t go away, and isn’t going to get any simpler as time goes by.
~Andy Clarke, League President
Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
Coming on the heels of the national Safe Routes to Schools Conference, the Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership is collecting letters to Congress from supporters expressing in personal terms why it is important for children to be able to walk and bicycle to school. They will bundle the letters and send them to Congress.
To show your support for Safe Routes to Schools, follow the instructions below and go to the National Partnership’s Dear Congress Campaign page for more information.
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009
Today, on NPR’s Morning Addition, Ari Shapiro’s bike was among the first to roll into the new bike shelter located at Union Station. Not only will the shelter provide a safe facility for commuters to store their bikes, it will serve as a very visible symbol of the changing approach to transportation planning in Washington, D.C. For commuters arriving at Union Station via MARC, VRE or AMTRAK, the final leg of their commute is usually on the Metro or bus. Soon commuters will be able to purchase a yearly $100 membership or pay a daily fee of $1 to keep their bicycle in a safe, reliable bike shelter, adding some much needed connectivity to D.C.’s transportation system. (photo credit: The City Fix)
On a personal note, the opening of the bike station will greatly improve my daily venture into D.C. as I am a regular commuter on the MARC train and have found the lack of bike transportation options for commuters arriving in Union Station to be quite frustrating. Because commuters are not permitted to bring their bikes on the train, leaving your bike locked at the bike racks out front is the only other option. However, this is hardly a viable option, as is evidenced by the teams of wheeless and seatless bikes that stand embarrassed and dejected. The opening of the Union Station bike shelter provides a safe place for commuters to store their bikes, thus diversifying commuting options, relieving stress on the Metro and ultimately creating a healthier place to live and work.
Also, today’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has an article on a bike parking ordinance that was approved by the planning commission last night.
~Anna Kelso, League Policy Analyst
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