Saturday, July 29, 2017

Take Bike The Streets Part 1: What is Take Bike The Streets?

Take Bike The Streets is a comprehensive program that involves community engagement, economic development and intergenerational environmental education. As a Neighborhood Spotlight Community, our volunteers have committed to organize, decide and act upon projects that will profoundly change our community’s future. Take Bike the Streets is just such a project. Gary’s Miller Community has been described as "an island of integration and natural beauty.” This diversity extends to modes of trans­portation. The goal of Take Bike the Streets is to capitalize on the community’s diversity and implement a multiphase project that makes cycling an accessible and enjoyable activity for all our community and our visitors. Take Bike The Streets is a comprehensive program that involves community engage­ment, economic development and intergenerational environmental education. It has three phases: Planning, Educating, Implementing. With 8.8% of our community solely depending on public transportation, biking is more than a recreational activity in Gary’s Miller footprint. Our community conducted forty­-two bike tours in 2016. They promoted community rapport, tourism, litter cleanups and healthy ­living. They were attended by 9 regulars (plus an upwards of 30 additional peo­ple depending on the weather/ ride’s theme).

During our information gathering phase (2015), we conducted a SWOT study and cre­ated a community plan. Promoting biking activities and universally designed facilities became a high priority for our volunteers in 2016. We received grant funding for 11 bike racks. We held a workshop where the community chose the 11 spots for the racks to be installed, as well as four additional universal design workshops for our local businesses/ non­ for­ profits. In the summer of 2016 we started conducting monthly build­-a­-bike popup shops at our local farmer’s market. We also ran weekly bike tours May­-September and monthly tours from October­-April. Our dedicated riders cycled through all types of weather! During these ten­ mile tours, we realized there was a need to have bike repair stations, way­ finding signs, bike rentals and inclusive events based around universal design in our community. The objective of these facilities/ activities is two­-fold. Firstly, they provide needed amenities for local tourists, recreational cyclists and those community members that use bicycles as their primary means of transportation. Secondly, our vol­unteers will also be able to expand their outreach/ educational efforts to a larger popu­lation. Additionally our volunteers We received a Legacy Foundation Neighborhood Spotlight Grant to help us move Take Bike The Streets to the next level.

(To Learn more about Take Bike The Streets click here.)

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