You have to give it to them. Despite upcoming triple digit temperatures, the Phoenix Bike Community never stops peddling.” ~ Me, in 2012.
I wrote that in a post just over a year ago (“Can we measure distance in miles per doughnut?“) and the (then) upcoming Celebration of the city’s growing bike scene, as an event we know as Pedal Craft was just kicking into its second volume.
Here we are: June 2013. My, how quickly things pick up when people get excited about the possibilities of something… This past April, just five months after Phoenix Spokes People (PSP) formed–a group of urban cyclists dedicated to making Phoenix a friendlier, more welcoming place to ride a bike–they were represented at nearly all of the 19 community budget hearings for the City of Phoenix.
It’s not sexy, standing up and asking politicians for a much-needed increase in funding for bicycle infrastructure, but it gets the job done. Prior to PSP’s activation in the budget hearings, the city of Phoenix was spending a paltry $50,000 per year on bike safety and improved infrastructure.
Word spread quickly and we are fast becoming a popular group to join in the Phoenix bicycling community. We believe that bicycling should be an easily accessible form of transportation for people of all ages, incomes and abilities. We imagine a Phoenix with people dressed up or down – going to work or heading out for a night on the town – and getting there safely by riding their bike in a proper bike lane.” ~ Lisa Parks, PSP advocate
To put that $50,000 city of Phoenix bicycle budget in context: The country average for a bike infrastructure spending is $1 per person. In Atlanta, it’s $6 per person. Phoenix is a mere 3 cents per person!
April 2013 Bike to Work Day (photo by Jonce Walker)
Or rather, that WAS our bike budget… That was before the Phoenix Spokes People took to our Phoenix streets and raised their voices with facts, figures, encouragement, and accountability on how the money should be spent. The result is that PSP made a difference! The approved budget for the City of Phoenix now includes $1,500,000 to make our city more bike-friendly!
We’re sending the message that biking and walking and all multimodal transportation is as important as vehicular traffic in the city of Phoenix,” Mayor Greg Stanton.
Phoenix Spokes People has monthly meetings and monthly rides. If you bike Phoenix, they’d love for you to join them!
PSP members (Lisa Parks, John Romero, Mayor Stanton, Sean Sweat, and Joey Robert Parks) with Mayor Stanton at the first budget hearing of 2013 (photo by John Romero)
Providing neighborhood choices and transportation choices, and neighborhood choices that allow you to reduce transportation costs — are really essential for the success of Phoenix,” says Curt Upton from the city’s planning department, who’s part of the Reinvent PHX management team. “From an economic development perspective, the stakes are pretty high for us to make sure that we’re a livable city and we’re an attractive city going forward.” ~ The Atlantic, ‘Phoenix’s Walkability Gamble Might Actually Pay Off‘
(And what about Pedal Craft volume three? Sign up for details at the link.)
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