REI, Bikes Belong give for Bicycle Friendly Communities

Happy Monday. I hope you all are enjoying the cold rain in California, the warmer temperatures in the northern United States, and cycling wherever you’re at.

REI provided the cash and the bike industry Bikes Belong organization directed that cash toward the Chicagoland Bike Federation and New York City’s Transportation Alternatives to help their respective cities achieve their long-term bicycle-friendly goals by providing seed money for technical assistance and evaluation, bicycle master plans, infrastructure improvements, and innovative pilot programs and projects. Each of these groups received $15,000.

Transportation Alternatives (TA) will use their award to support a comprehensive citywide bike parking initiative designed to increase bike transportation in New York by giving cyclists safe, convenient places to park and store their bicycles. TA will conduct advocacy work for “parking spot swaps” and legislation mandating bicycle access to commercial buildings. The grant will also back a bike-rack design competition organized by the NYC Department of Transportation, TA, and city art museums.

Chicagoland Bicycle Federation will use their funding to produce the first of a series of Sunday Parkways events in Chicago, modeled after Ciclovia in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Bogot, Columbia. With a goal of “transforming communities by invigorating their lifelines-their streets-every weekend from June through October,” Sunday Parkways promises to dramatically increase ridership in the city of Chicago by creating a car-free community celebration that other U.S. cities can adopt.

“Chicago and New York are already working hard to become bike friendly,” said Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong. “These REI grants will help city governments, businesses, community leaders and nonprofit groups increase cycling for transportation and recreation. The result will be reduced road congestion and air pollution, and better health and quality of life for residents and visitors.”

Meanwhile, Lynette the Friday Tikit girl has discovered that “you don’t ride a bike to a corporate office building” in New York City, even when you’re dressed as an office worker and your bike folded neatly. She is rebuffed by the PricewaterhouseCoopers building manager who insists, “you don’t ride a bike to a corporate office building” and told to leave it outside since “nobody steals bikes.” See the video Streetsblog.

Note: I will be reporting from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Portland, OR in a couple of weeks. I may have some giveaways with me. Let me know if you’ll be there, too.

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