It’s a new year and along with it, we have a new crop of New Year’s resolutions. Unlike many resolutions however, we here at SVBC take these seriously. Okay, truthfully, the boss calls these our goals or workplan. What do we plan to tackle this year? Oh, and if you missed it, check out our proudest moments from 2016 here.
As a refresher, SVBC separates its work into two buckets consisting of “people” and “places”. Places refers to the built environment, the infrastructure that creates a safer bicycling environment. These are protected bike lanes, increased bike capacity on transit, secure bike parking, and more. This is the kind of work that involves collaborating with city planning staff and securing the votes on city councils to prioritize and fund a pro-bike agenda.
People refers to the fact that even with the best bike infrastructure, when raised in an auto-oriented culture, convincing people to ride is like riding with two flat tires, no handle bars, and your seat missing. It’s hard! That’s why we also focus on the importance of cultural change. SVBC does that through programs like Bike to Work Day, teaching kids how to ride safely, and other fun activities that trick people into trying a bike ride. (We know they’ll accidentally fall in love with it.)
This year we’ll continue these two buckets of work and our top priorities include:
Vision Zero: Safety is the number one reason folks say they don’t ride as much as they would like. This is why SVBC will continue to push for the adoption of Vision Zero (VZ) policies in cities across Silicon Valley. SVBC started by releasing a Vision Zero toolkit and this past year gave over 30 presentations before cities and bike/pedestrian commissions to promote VZ, a worldwide campaign to reduce to zero the number of serious collisions on our roadways. This year, we’ll focus on a few of those cities to pass and implement policies that protect you.
Protected Bike Lanes: In a 2015 survey by People for Bikes, the number one solution cited by would-be bicyclists that would induce them to ride was a physical barrier between the rider and car, like a protected bike lane. Physical barriers could be a line of parked cars, bollards, rumble strips, planter boxes or something else, between the bike lane and traffic. SVBC plans to work with the City of San Jose to expedite the implementation of protected bike lanes and promote this type of infrastructure throughout the region.
LupeBikePool: With support from the Knight Foundation and founding partners, Valley Transportation Authority and Westfield Valley Fair, SVBC is piloting a bikepool program. Modeled after carpooling, these group rides to work lure new riders to try riding bike by biking together. Afraid you might get a flat? Don’t know a good route? Can’t get motivated to ride alone. Bikepool has you covered! The program was launched last year and will be ramping up in 2017.
Bike Education: SVBC will continue to teach kids how to ride safely through the Safe Routes to Schools program. SVBC also performs dozens of commute workshops at employer sites, training for shuttle bus drivers on how to behave around cyclists, and classes on how to use bike share.
El Camino Real Bike Lanes: One of SVBC’s ongoing campaigns is to secure bike lanes all along El Camino Real. El Camino Real is the only north-south route that connects uninterrupted from Daly City to San José. With homes, workplaces, schools, and shopping all along this street, we want to ensure there is a safe and easy way to travel to your favorite destinations. This year, our focus is to build political support for bike lanes on El Camino Real in Redwood City.
Dumbarton Rail Corridor Trail: SVBC will be focused on supporting plans to convert the Dumbarton Rail Corridor to a transit corridor with adjacent bike/ped path, connecting East Palo Alto to downtown Redwood City and beyond.
Bike Share: Bike share is expanding and, like the battle between the laser disc and DVDs, the industry is shaking out as we speak. SVBC is entrenched in this evolving industry in several ways, one of which is to help the City of San Mateo pilot a bike share model that includes all the technology on the bike. The goal is to have 500 subscribers with each bike being ridden once per day. We are also working with our regional partners to ensure the expansion of Bay Area Bike Share/Ford GoBike is done with equitable access and usage in mind.
Bike to Work Day: Once again, we plan to see Bike to Work Day lure thousands of new riders into trying the bike on a day when it is absolutely normal to do so. Last year, Bay Area wide, 100,000 people took to their bikes. We plan to exceed that number this year.
Complete Streets: Yay! Measure B passed. For those of you who don’t remember, Measure B was the transportation sales tax measure in Santa Clara County that also included $250 million for bike and pedestrian projects. Even though it passed, we’re not done because as a part of the measure, SVBC won the inclusion of policy language to require “complete streets.” The next step is for us to work with the Valley Transportation Authority to flesh out what exactly that complete streets policy will looks like. Will it be a wishy washy checklist that cities can easily wiggle around or will it be a strong policy that results in new bike infrastructure in conjunction with most road improvements? We’ll be fighting for the latter.
This is the list of campaigns and programs that SVBC plans to prioritize. And this year it was developed to reflect the organization’s desire to be more proactive in addressing issues around equity. Emma Shlaes our Policy Manager details the process for selecting these priorities here.
It is also important to note that this list is not exhaustive. It does not include all the other stuff that goes on in the background like staffing the SVBC Local Teams, running the Policy Committee, monitoring the BPACs, and responding to all the needs, wants and desires of you, our passionate membership.
And on that, member growth and engagement is one of our ongoing goals. We want 900 new members and we want you to start flexing those big quads (muscles) more! It is you, the membership, where the power of this organization resides. Come to a SVBC Local Team meeting, monitor your city’s BPAC, volunteer for bike parking, convince your employer to host an energizer station for BTWD, and eagerly raise your hand when we call on folks to attend city council meetings to support controversial road diets. We need you and hope you’ll sign up to volunteer with SVBC to enable us to get more butts on bikes!