Dear Campaign Advocate,
This message contains important information on engaging your local chambers of commerce on the 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation; a Transportation Research Board session on the nonmotorized pilots; and a follow-up to our request for submissions for the economic recovery package in which many of you participated.
1. Connecting with Local Chambers of Commerce
Local chambers of commerce hold the potential to serve as powerful allies for your effort to promote active transportation. Strategic outreach by you and your campaign team can strengthen their support for improved walking and biking networks.
Consider relationships you or your campaign team and supporters may have with members (particularly the leadership) of your chamber of commerce. Questions to consider in crafting your approach strategy include:
- Who is best placed to make initial contact?
- What benefits will improved active transportation have for local businesses?
- What public relations opportunities does active transportation offer local businesses?
- Are there concerns or challenges the chamber might hold for which you should be prepared?
- What about the impacts on your community at-large, which will ultimately benefit Main Street?
Further, such local organizing may serve the larger 2010 Campaign for Active Transportation by providing an avenue by which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce might be reached. This national organization has at times been criticized for failing to adequately represent the interests of local chambers. By engaging locally on the issue of active transportation, you provide the national group the opportunity to respond positively to the campaign.
In crafting your approach, you might find Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s (RTC) "Active Transportation for America" useful. This report provides numerous facts, figures and talking points on the benefits our nation would see with increased walking and biking. Also of use may be the economic development issue brief compiled for our TrailLink 2007 conference. Other issue briefs include mobility, family and community, public health and climate change.
If you experience particular successes or challenges with your chamber of commerce, please let us know. In addition to serving as a resource, we hope to learn from your experiences and share specific strategies with others.
2. Pilot Program Session: Transportation Research Board (TRB)
If you or your colleagues will be attending the 88th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in mid-January, you may be interested in this session:
WHAT: Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program: Breaking New Ground in Bicycle/Pedestrian Research (Workshop #139)
WHEN: Sunday, January 11, 2009: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Washington B2 room of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
From the workshop description: “This workshop will explore the work done to date by the Pilot Communities and the research design that is in place to gather data and evaluate the multiple benefits of nonmotorized transportation. The outcome sought is a better understanding of the challenges faced by pedestrian and bicycle planners and new ideas about how best to exploit the opportunities presented by the Pilot Program to further the state of the art and practice in nonmotorized transportation planning and research.”
Presenters will include representatives from all four pilot communities and from RTC.
See the draft agenda here.
3. Economic recovery package follow-up
Last Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008, RTC sent out an announcement notifying you that we were collecting nearly ready-to-go bicycle and pedestrian projects for explicit funding in a federal economic recovery package that may approach $600 billion. Thanks to the many of you who submitted projects and spread the word; in less than one week, you submitted 450 projects totaling $1.165 billion.
Combined with a previous call for short-term projects by both RTC and other national organizations, (892+Complete Streets #, TBD) projects have been collected that total nearly $3 billion and, according to widely sited estimates, are projected to create around 100,000 jobs. These impressive numbers strongly convey the demand such projects hold in communities across the country.
Armed with 12,000 signatures on RTC's popular online petition, a coalition of allies met with the offices of key congressional leadership yesterday to make our case. Read the letter we delivered to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi here. (Please note that numbers contained in the letter are current; new numbers that will be made available to the new administration and congressional leaders are not yet available.)
Regardless of the outcome of this effort, this recovery package promises to have significant repercussions on federal transportation funding for some time. Please stay tuned as we share with you what we learn about this process (and, of course, if you have information or thoughts to share with us, please let us know).