Advocacy

ACTION ALERT : Metro Council to vote on Bike Share funding.

Bike Share station in Birmingham, Alabama

Bike Share station in Birmingham, Alabama

This Wednesday, October 25th, the Baton Rouge Metro Council will vote on whether to provide funding to the Baton Rouge Bike Share, without which the Bike Share will either fail, or be forced to run in a more limited capacity than the currently planned 82 stations and 800+ bikes.

The majority of the funding ($2.1 million of about $3 million) for the Bike Share is set to come from corporate sponsorship and user revenues, with about $850,000 coming from a federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant, of which the city is required to provide a 20% match ($260,000).

The metro council hearing must authorize the city parish to provide these funds.

Using economic analyses of the project and of existing Bike Share programs, such as the Zyp system in Alabama, Bike Baton Rouge estimates that use of the Baton Rouge Bike Share system will generate around $650,000 in economic benefits for Baton Rouge per year, paying for the City-Parish investment swiftly.

To make sure our Bike Share system gets funded, we're asking you to contact your council person and ask them to vote to approve the city-parish to spend this amount to make Bike Share in Baton Rouge a reality. Below, we've provided contact details for all twelve metro council members, a map of our districts, and a template email that you can send to your councilperson.

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Click HERE for a zoomable district map.

Email template :

Dear Councilperson,

On Wednesday, October 25th, the metro council will be asked to vote on the proposed funding of a small portion of a Federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant to help fund a Bike Share System in Baton Rouge. This funding, at $260,000, is less than 10% of the overall $3 million budget for the project, and the economic benefits of the program, which Bike Baton Rouge estimates at $650,000 annually, will see this investment pay for itself in healthier and happier residents of Baton Rouge in just a few months.

I urge you to vote to approve this funding amount.

Yours,

Name
Address


District 1 - Trae Welch
225.389.5170
225.910.2052
council-dist1@brgov.com
lrioux@brgov.com

District 2 - Chauna Banks
225.389.8331
council-dist2@brgov.com
vcarter@brgov.com

District 3 - Chandler Loupe
council-dist3@brgov.com
dpourso@brgov.com

District 4 - Scott Wilson
kkelly@brgov.com
council-dist4@brgov.com

District 5 - Erika L. Green
council-dist5@brgov.com
GGaines@brgov.com
jjamison@brgov.com

District 6 - Donna Collins-Lewis
council-dist6@brgov.com
pamelasmith@brgov.com

District 7- LaMont Cole
225.389.3182
council-dist7@brgov.com
TPHARRIS@brgov.com

District 8 - Buddy Amoroso
225-389-5168
council-dist8@brgov.com
dgoux@brgov.com

District 9 - Dwight Hudson
council-dist9@brgov.com
LALCH@brgov.com

District 10 - Tara Wicker
225-389-5140
225-389-8720
council-dist10@brgov.com
cclark@brgov.com

District 11 - Matt Watson
225-389-5169
council-dist11@brgov.com
mmcwhorter@brgov.com
jtittlebaum@brgov.com

District 12 - Barbara Freiberg
225-389-4697
council-dist12@brgov.com
ggremillion@brgov.com

 

Councilwoman Wicker Rides with Bike Baton Rouge

Left to right: Tina Ufford, Councilwoman Tara Wicker, Doug Moore, and Sarah Schramm

Left to right: Tina Ufford, Councilwoman Tara Wicker, Doug Moore, and Sarah Schramm

Bike Baton Rouge board members Doug Moore, Tina Ufford, and Sarah Schramm met with Councilwoman Tara Wicker last week Wednesday, October 11 to discuss bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in Councilwoman Wicker’s District 10. District 10 covers an area from the Mississippi River to an eastern border of Plank Road, St. Rose Ave, and around the University Lakes, south to Gourrier Ave. It includes Southern University, Downtown, LSU and City Park. 

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Councilwoman Wicker and her husband recently have been cycling to some destinations in Baton Rouge and observed first-hand the challenges of navigating the streets by bicycle. Interested in improving conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians in her district, she accepted an invitation from Bike Baton Rouge Vice President Doug Moore to discuss ideas for improving bicycle connectivity in the city and take a 5-mile bike tour in her district.

Although the day was hot, spirits were high, as Bike Baton Rouge pointed out where roads were wide enough for bike lanes, challenges for cyclists who must navigate streets that don’t align, and where bike and pedestrian infrastructure does not connect.

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After the ride, Councilwoman Wicker commented on how much safer she felt riding in a group and taking a lane of traffic compared to when only she is riding with only one other person on the edge of the street. Bike Baton Rouge members noted that it's a common misconception that bicyclists are required to ride as far to the right as possible, and that on streets too narrow to accommodate three feet of distance between a car and cyclist travelling the same direction, taking the lane is often the safest way to ride. (See reference here.)

Bike Baton Rouge left the councilwoman with a map that show where bike lanes exist, where they are under construction, and where they are feasible.  The meeting ended with an agreement to continue pursuing improvements for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and to work with the city to install bike lanes where feasible.

EDITOR'S NOTE :

Two weeks after joining Bike Baton Rouge on this bicycling tour, Councilwoman Wicker made this statement at the October 25 Metro Council meeting regarding the Baton Rouge Bike Share.

"One of the things we found on our tour was that Baton rouge does not have infrastructure necessary for people that choose biking as an option for their mode of transportation, and that's a shame. I should be able to bike my babies through Baton Rouge or go to my Aunt and Uncle's house without having to worry about if I'm going to die in the street.

So if we want to grow as a major city, we need to be able to grow up and look at how major cities are attracting people to their community, and how they're attracting younger people and retaining them. I do believe that having biking as a viable option - if you have infrastructure improvements in place to allow that to happen - is wise, and it's progressive, and it's necessary."

Who's Who of Baton Rouge Bike and Ped Advocacy (Part 2)

We at Bike Baton Rouge are proud of the advocacy, social, and community work we do to promote safe and fun biking and walking in the Baton Rouge area, but lucky for us, we are not alone in this venture!  Read on for the exciting sequel to our first Who's Who post as we continue introducing you to more groups that share similar goals as us.  (Again, if you think we've missed any, please leave a comment and we’ll update the post!)

Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX)

CPEX is a non-profit organization that coordinates urban, rural and regional planning efforts in Louisiana. They have a particular focus on transportation and infrastructure, environmental issues, and quality design for the built environment. In Baton Rouge, they have implemented several short-term projects that demonstrated strategies for improving walkability and bikeabilty. Examples include:

CPEX's 2016 Better Block demonstration on Perkin's Road.

CPEX's 2016 Better Block demonstration on Perkin's Road.

  • Baton Rouge Sustainable Transportation Action Committee (STAC): Pilot project using data to identify where key infrastructure updates would have the greatest positive impact for reducing pedestrian, cyclist, and car crashes.
     
  • Better Block Baton Rouge: Temporary installations showcasing how street improvements, public spaces, and street life can improve community connection and local commerce.

These and several other community-based demonstration projects have helped residents see alternatives to our current state of car-dominated street life in Baton Rouge.

Bike Law LA

Bike Law is a network of independent lawyers and law firms that advocate for cyclists. They are social as well as legal advocates, and provide pro bono legal advice to cycling clubs and teams.

Local government

While change at the city level never happens as quickly as we would like, the City of Baton Rouge does share our goals of more walkable and bikeable streets.  Did you know that the city has been recognized for being a Bike Friendly Community by the League of American Cyclists? (We've got Bronze Status!) Two groups below show some of the collaborations that our public agencies are a part of.

Complete Streets Advisory Council (CSAC)

Complete Streets Advisory Council meeting. Image from AARP.

Complete Streets Advisory Council meeting. Image from AARP.

Council members, representing governmental organizations and a variety of advocacy groups,  work with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to make sure that the State’s Complete Streets policy is being implemented and to develop methods for measuring if the goals are being met. Complete Streets is a policy that supports multimodal transportation options, creating more options for how people move through the region, and improving safety for everyone.

Capital Region Planning Commission (CRPC )

The CRPC is a Council of Governments serving eleven parishes that addresses regional issues related to transportation, land use, economic development and the environment. It focuses much of its resources on transportation planning issues and activities, which includes highway and transit planning, the regional ridesharing program, transportation safety, and air quality issues.

Who's Who of Baton Rouge Bike and Ped Advocacy (Part 1)

We at Bike Baton Rouge are proud of the advocacy, social, and community work we do to promote safe and fun biking and walking in the Baton Rouge area, but lucky for us, we are not alone in this venture!  We live in a city with multiple groups that share similar goals as us. In this post, we will introduce you to a few of them in a Who’s Who of Baton Rouge Bike and Ped Advocacy. In Part 1, we introduce you primarily to civic groups. (If you think we’ve missed any, please leave a comment and we’ll update the post!)

 

Baton Rouge Bicycle Club | Advocacy, Social Rides

A BRBC social ride along the levee.

A BRBC social ride along the levee.

BRBC promotes cycling, safety, education, and fitness for recreational and touring cyclists. They encourage and promote bicycling as a way of life and as a safe and enjoyable recreation and transportation option by leading touring rides in and out of town for all skill levels. Every Saturday they have a “Tour de Café” ride around the lakes, levee, and Capitol with refreshment stops at cafes. BRBC also advocates for the inclusion of bicycle safety in infrastructure projects in the Baton Rouge area.

 

Front Yard Bikes | Advocacy, social rides

Front Yard Bikes. Image from  225 Magazine .

Front Yard Bikes. Image from 225 Magazine.

FYB is a community bike shop that focuses on teaching participants of all ages how to fix and maintain bikes. This bike shop doubles as an after-school program for kids in the area. Every Friday they have social rides to local parks, libraries, museums, monuments, and more.

 

Baton Rouge Area Mountain Biking Association | Advocacy, Social rides

BRAMBA organizes mountain bike trail building efforts and supports mountain biking in the Baton Rouge area. They operate as advocates of the Kerry Stamey Trail System, organize trail maintenance days, and host an online forum for sharing information.

If you like trail riding, check out BRAMBA.

If you like trail riding, check out BRAMBA.

 

Geaux Ride | Social rides

Although Geaux Ride is a bike rental and bike tour business, they also double as a social group, hosting free, public social rides downtown every Thursday evening.

Public social ride downtown led by Geaux Ride.

Public social ride downtown led by Geaux Ride.

 

BREC (Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge) | Social Rides, Infrastructure

Silver Spokes ride hosted by BREC.

Silver Spokes ride hosted by BREC.

BREC manages the Baton Rouge area’s park system and fosters outdoor recreation.  One of the ways they promote outdoor activity is through their Outdoor Adventure initiative, which includes programs like Silver Spokes—social rides for seniors with specially-designed bikes for riders interested in more stability or comfort than the average bicycle.

 

Walking and Running Clubs | Social walks, runs

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There are several walking and running clubs in Baton Rouge. Their primary focus is on fitness and community-building, but participants are also advocates for safe streets since they are navigating the roads on sidewalks as vulnerable users. The East Baton Rouge Public Library hosts Your Pace or Mine Walking Club several days a week, and running clubs like Happy’s Running Club, Varsity Sports Running Club, Black Girls RUN!, and Club South Runners have regular runs and races.

 

AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) | Advocacy

AARP advocates for complete streets, livable communities, and streetscape design that allows pedestrians with a range of abilities and those with mobility devices to move freely through their communities and around town. The Baton Rouge branch has been active in the local complete streets conversation.

 

Baton Rouge Area Foundation | Advocacy

BRAF is a non-profit organization connecting philanthropic sources with civic projects in South Louisiana. They have a Mobility Initiative which advocates for transportation choices for bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transportation users. They have helped fund the soon-to-be-implemented bikeshare program.

Volunteer for the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project!

The number 2 google image search result for 'bike count'.

The number 2 google image search result for 'bike count'.

This September, Bike Baton Rouge will be participating in the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project for the first time - and we need your help!

The project is an effort to count pedestrians and bicyclists nationally, and to provide data for bicycle and pedestrian advocates (like Bike Baton Rouge), as well as governmental organizations and planners with the hopes that these counts will help to put more (and better) bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure into the ground - and making bicycling and walking safer and more enjoyable.

In our case, this data will also be used to support local projects. We'll be providing the counts to our friends at various government and non-government organizations - and we'll be utilizing the counts ourselves in an exciting report about bicycling in Baton Rouge that we'll be releasing later this year.

The counts will occur at two times - on Tuesday, September 12th (5pm - 7pm) and Saturday, September 16th (12pm - 2pm), in around ten locations in Baton Rouge. We'll work with you - our volunteers - to assign you a location as convenient to you as possible (we'll try our best, we swear!)

So - how do the counts work, and how can you help?

1) Register to volunteer for the counts HERE!

2) There will be an optional (but recommended) training session at our next General Meeting on Thursday, September 7th. If you won't make it or are just curious, you can download all of the count instructions and documentations here. We'll finalize a time and location for this meeting a little closer to the date of the meeting.

3) You'll receive a count package, including counting and recording materials (clipboards, pens, etc) and some free Bike BR swag in return for your help!

4) On the count days, you'll make your way out to the count locations, complete your counts, and then send them to us (phone, email, snail mail, carrier pigeon, anything is fine!). You can sign up for just one of the two count days, or for both of them!

5) Bike Baton Rouge will collate your data, submit it to the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project, and publish it on our website for the whole world to see.

Interested? Click HERE and we'll get back to you with more information.

Thanks for supporting Bike Baton Rouge!