Bill Nesper and I were recently invited to host separate Bicycle Friendly Community workshops in Rockhill, S.C. and Salisbury, Md. If you live and cycle on the east coast, both of these cities should be on your radar. Rockhill already has the Giordana velodrome and Salisbury is home to the Sea Gull Century ride. But, when we met residents and learned more about each community last week, we got even more excited for their bright, bike-friendly futures. With the next round of BFC applications due July 20, we’re looking forward to working with each community.
So what impressed us so much?
- Supportive mayors leading their communities and making a big deal about bicycling. This kind of support is vital to any community looking to become a BFC.
- Amazing local advocates who are already working to improve bicycling in their community. Shout out to: Matt Drew of bike-SBY; Anna Kelso and Carol Sildorff of Bike Maryland‘ Rachael Kefalos-Bronson of Palmetto Cycling Coalition, and the members of the Rockhill Bicycle/Pedestrian Task Force.
- Giving people opportunities to be bicycling champions. This may be an engineer saying “I can design that bike lane,” or a resident saying “I want to be a trained bicycle educator.” Everyone brings something unique to the table, and the workshops are all about harnessing that energy.
- Breaking down “silos” in local government. The workshops offer an opportunity for planners, engineers, accountants, city management, police chiefs, and others to get together and talk bikes. As a former municipal employee, I can say from experience that tackling these silos is indeed a huge step forward.
- Connecting local and state Department of Transportation folks to ensure local communities have a say in how their transportation system is designed and built (Cardin-Cochran anyone?).
- The opportunity to meet new partners such as businesses, health organizations, civic groups, and anyone else that self-identified as a bicycling advocate. I was excited to see Heather Towers, a frequent commentator on the National Bike Challenge website, at the Salisbury workshop!
Kudos to Rockhill and Salisbury. The League is looking forward to reading your applications!
Reminder: If you’re interested in reviewing your community’s BFC application, sign up now to be a local reviewer.
League State and Local Advocacy Coordinator
Mr. Wempe joined the League in September 2011. For the three years prior, he worked as a transportation planner and Safe Routes to School Coordinator in Fort Collins, Colo. He holds a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.