Do you hear that? That’s the sound of three bike coalitions meeting up to exchange ideas.
On Friday, August 3, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, Bike East Bay, and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition staff members met up in an unusually sunny San Francisco to swap ideas and talk best practices.
SVBC staff took Caltrain from Diridon in San Jose to 4th Street and King in San Francisco. We were excited to see other commuters smoothly hopping on and off the train with their bikes in the bike car.
From there, it was a short and easy ride to SFBC.
After introductions, the three coalitions went on an infrastructure ride to see some of SFBC’s wins in the last couple years and future improvements. After all, what better way to get t know others than a conversation-paced ride? Highlights included raised crosswalks on the Wiggle, San Francisco’s first transit boarding island (which protects a bike lane), and many, many protected bike lanes.
Staff split into breakout sessions to talk about challenges and triumphs in their respective departments. SVBC staff walked away feeling inspired and eager to engage our members and fight for bike safety. Here’s what some of our staff had to say:
“Peer-to-peer sharing and learning from our sibling bike coalitions is fascinating. We all do the same work but where we sit geographically dictates different approaches. San Francisco is small geographically, has one city/county and an active and large membership. Bike East Bay and SVBC cover vast amounts of territory and interface with dozens of jurisdictions who are all at different levels on the bike spectrum. It’s fun to hear how organizations with the same goals but very different geographies and public agency dynamics are working to accomplish the same goals.” –Shiloh Ballard, Executive Director
“Meeting up with our sister bike coalitions provides an opportunity to build networks and camaraderie as well as to learn from each other and compare strategies. We all share a passion for the benefits that bicycling brings. It’s great to see old friends and meet the new staffers working around the Bay to improve out communities through biking.” –Emma Shlaes, Policy and Advocacy Director
“It was awesome to hear about how our sister orgs have had success engaging with their members and creating active bike advocates. Because I’m new, I’m always eager to learn whatever I can, and I was inspired to hear about the opportunities to go above and beyond with our dedicated members.” –Jessica Waite, Membership & Outreach Coordinator
“The infrastructure ride was educational and invigorating! It was helpful learning varies street treatments used to make streets more bike-accessible and confidence was gained through navigating chaotic city streets while taking the lane alongside motorists. It was wonderful meeting with friendly, new faces from our sister organizations especially those in Programs because we were able to share best practices.” –Mui Sam Le, Education Programs Coordinator
“This was a great opportunity to learn from my counterparts about their approaches to creating successful bike education programs. Even though we’re all working towards the same goal – increasing bike ridership in our communities – we all have different approaches. It was helpful to share ideas and experiences about what works, as well as the challenges we face in expanding our reach. I came away not just with new ideas for programs, but also new friends from our sister organizations.” –Ann Jasper, Programs Director
Special thanks to Janice and Brian for organizing the event and thanks to the entire SFBC staff for hosting us in their space!