On Friday, September 16th, Living Streets Alliance (in partnership with PAG) was the first organization in the country to host an Advocacy Advance “Action 2020 Workshop”. We were honored to have 60+ participants from all over Arizona, including advocates from as far away as Flagstaff, agency staff from Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Eastern Pima County, and elected officials from the greater Tucson region. And it wasn’t limited to just the usual bicycle/pedestrian crowd — we had representation from a range of diverse organizations such as Pima Council on Aging, the Drachman Institute of the University of Arizona, Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, and Watershed Management Group. You can download the day’s presentation below. There’s lots of good info in it!
Download the Presentation (17MB powerpoint file)
We started off the day by getting down to the nitty-gritty details of how Federal funding works and what types of funding are available for various programs and projects. This was followed by a “Road Map for Success” presentation by Peter Lagerwey in which he describe all of the big and little things that can be done to make a community more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. Just before lunch, Andy Clarke (President, League of American Bicyclists) facilitated a panel discussion between City of Tucson Mayor Walkup, and District 28 State Representative, Steve Farley. They emphasized the importance of biking and walking as part of a multi-modal transportation network for the region.
After lunch, we did a great exercise called “Straight from the Headlines!”, which involved scanning local or regional papers for opportunities to tie bicycle and/or pedestrian improvements into planned projects or campaigns. This was followed by a “Walkabout” in which we strolled nearby sidewalks and discussed what elements of the streetscape made biking and walking better and what elements discourage and/or made it impossible to bike or walk. Lastly, we brainstormed what our Next Steps would be; in other words, how we would use everything we had learned during the day to start making change in the region.
Here are the top ten ideas from the group:
- Work to allocate an STP (Surface Transportation Program) set aside at the State level for bicycle and pedestrian projects/programs
- Adopt a Complete Streets policy (regionally, or state-wide)
- Apply 20% of Section 402 funds (State & Community Highway Safety Grant Program) to Safe Routes to School programs and integrate it into planning documents
- Improve grant-writing capabilities of local agencies and [bike/ped] non-profits through partnerships
- Incorporate health planning agencies and funding sources into bicycle and pedestrian safety programs
- Develop a regional bicycle and pedestrian plan
- Establish a “Smart Trips” type program locally
- Establish a surcharge on traffic violations that goes directly to improve bicycle and pedestrian projects and programs
- Fully fund multi-modal projects in the upcoming Pima County bond plan
- Use bicycle boulevards and other unique approaches to generate demand for bicycle and pedestrian funding
Which of these ideas is most important to you? Let us know!
While these were the big-picture ideas that came out of the workshop, there were a number of smaller bits of food for thought that are worth mentioning. Here’s one of them:
“Budgets are moral documents — they mirror the values of the community” – Peter Lagerwey
What Peter was getting at is that the way we choose to spend our money as a region reflects what our moral priorities are; it reflects what we value and how we function as a community. Biking and walking accounts for 13-14% of household trips in our country, yet it receives less that 1% of Federal transportation funding. Imagine what it would say to the rest of the world if we, as a region, decided that we were going to dedicate 10% (or more!) of our transportation funding to making the streets safer and more enjoyable for people!