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Bike Edina Task Force: Community Engagement to Change Transportation Culture


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Bike Edina Task Force: Community Engagement to Change Transportation Culture

  1. 1. 2009 Clean Energy Resource Teams Conference Community Engagement to Change Transportation Culture A case study with the Bike Edina Task Force / Community Design Group February 10, 2009
  2. 2. Case Study Overview A more sustainable transportation  culture change in the making Engaging the community to create a  Photo courtesy CDG on location in Edina high-quality Bicycle Plan…and make it happen What we learned / group discussion  2 Photo courtesy Kirk Johnson
  3. 3. Culture Change Needed… Some challenges Edina were recognized in 2006 when considering biking as a sustainable, healthy transportation choice…. Car-based infrastructure  No on-road bicycle lanes  No published bicycle routes  No designated “Safe Routes to Schools”  routes Bicycle parking inadequate at many parks,  Image from City of Edina Comprehensive Bicycle Plan schools, work places No community bicycling groups or advocacy  3
  4. 4. Culture Change Supported… In 2006 a catalyst was the 2006 Community Attitude & Interest Citizen Survey for Edina: “Walking and Biking Trails” most important overall As a result, Edina’s leadership (Mayor, City Manager, Engineering, Park & Recreation, and others supported the overall needs with high-level planning) 4
  5. 5. Culture Change: Help from the top-down 2008 City of Edina Comprehensive Plan objectives: “Develop and maintain a coordinated and balanced  transportation system that provides a variety of choices among transportation modes.” “Improve community health and fitness.”  “Maintain a quality, sustainable environment.”  Photo courtesy Kirk Johnson 5
  6. 6. Culture Change Initiated …Part I of II In 2006 the City of Edina initiated the Bike Edina Task Force, whose vision was “…a progressive bicycle-friendly community where citizens can integrate cycling into their daily lives.” Photo courtesy Kirk Johnson 6
  7. 7. Culture Change Initiated …Part II of II In 2007 the City of Edina allocated grant money from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to hire Community Design Group to work with the Bike Edina Task Force to develop a Comprehensive Bicycle Transportation Plan with these goals: Increase safety for cyclists  Improve connections within Edina  Improve connections to adjoining  communities and regional bicycle networks Photos courtesy Kirk Johnson Increase opportunities for active living  A portion of BETF and Community Design Group members in spring of 2007 to commence building the Increase opportunities for bicycling as City of Edina Bicycle Plan  transportation option 7
  8. 8. Community Engagement The Bike Edina Task Force joined forces with Community Design Group and other stakeholders to engage the community in a variety of ways to build awareness about our transportation goals. Approaches that worked for us (examples on next slides): 1. Group Rides 2. Education 3. Relationships with City staff 4. Partner with local groups 5. Seek citizen input Photo courtesy Kirk Johnson 6. Assist with implementing the plan 7. Communicate via digital tools 8
  9. 9. Engagement Activity #1: Lead Community Rides BETF led weekly community rides (26 total) in the first half of 2007 to gain awareness, promote interest and visibility. We’ve established several annual events and ongoing ride activities. Photo courtesy S. Jefferson Edina 1st Annual Polar Bear Ride 9
  10. 10. Engagement Activity #2: Educate Young & Old BETF preparing to present Bike BETF partnering with youth organizers Commuting topics for a “Bicycle Rodeo” Photos courtesy Kirk Johnson BETF members educated at dozens of public forums including adults, kids, bicycling clubs, and several journalism forums 2007-8 10
  11. 11. Engagement Activity #3: Build Rapport with City Staff BETF enjoys “Ride with the Mayor” in 2008 Photos courtesy Alex Johnson Discussing multi-purpose trail near rail line… City Council members, City Engineer, Educators, residents, and more participated BETF members met with City Council informally over coffee, breakfast, and frequent communications to build relationships, get input, and socialize parts of the Bike Plan 11
  12. 12. Engagement Activity #4: Partner with Local Groups BETF joins local Rotary Club on various biking progress and BETF Partners with South View opportunities Middle School bicycling community service project Photos Courtesy Kirk Johnson BETF partnered with many local and neighboring community groups in 2007-2008 12
  13. 13. Engagement Activity #5: Seek Citizen Input BETF/CDG Bike Plan Input & Bike Art Open Houses: Input on Nine Mile Creek Trail “Design Charrette” with Three Rivers Park District Photos Courtesy Kirk Johnson BETF hosted information tables at all City Comprehensive Planning Quadrant Meetings, various public forums, and engaged citizens to attend specific City Hall meetings 13
  14. 14. Engagement Activity #6: Prioritize, Divide, and Conquer Every priority requires community support for success: BETF updates and communicates formally its priority plans and progress to City Manager, Mayor, City Council, Transportation Commission, and other stakeholders 14 Excerpt from 2008 BETF Meeting Minutes
  15. 15. Engagement Activity #7: Communicate & Presence BETF promotes a “brand” and connects with residents via websites, blogs, and other digital media. Objective is to ensure transparency and continuous news & feedback for a growing bicycle community. Blog with Comment Area (developing) Community Website 15
  16. 16. What Did We Learn? Because the community was engaged, we were able to build a quality Bicycle Transportation Plan that included a bikeway route network based on specific rationale. Grassroots “bottom-up” support was critical. City staff and leadership deserve significant credit in empowering the BETF to gather community opinions and needs. Photo courtesy Kirk Johnson Our community involvement and interest supported the City to hire our consultants from the Community Design Group to show us what was possible – to imagine a better future, plan it out, and then actually work on making it happen. Examples of planning and vision that are now represented in the Bike Plan: Photo courtesy Alex Johnson 16
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  29. 29. Outcome Ultimately the hard work paid off: The plan was submitted in 2007 and approved in 2008. Today, in 2009, the BETF still exists and is 14 members strong. Because of community engagement and support… Edina implemented its first on-road bicycle lanes on Interlachen Boulevard. Edina designed and implemented its first “Share the Road” signs for Wooddale Avenue. Edina applied for additional grants and the BETF is actively pursuing 10 bicycle projects related to education, infrastructure, and promotion. 29
  30. 30. Key Lessons Learned Courtesy Minneapolis Bike Love …Work with City leadership to get formal support when possible. Find advocates and work constructively together. …Organize citizens and local stakeholders for bottom-up, grassroots change. Getting expert consulting to leverage community needs proved to be vital in producing a workable Bike Plan. Consider engagement activities shown above (re-cap): Activities related to your cause (art projects, fun activities, etc.) • Education • Build relationships with City leaders…partner closely • Partner with local groups (Rotary, environment groups) • Seek citizen input (open houses, charrettes) • Assist with implementing the plan: Formalize projects with City staff • Brand your cause and communicate digitally, in print, cable TV, etc. • Questions / Discussion Time 30
  31. 31. Contacts Matthew Lang is a Community Design Group Partner. He is an experienced, passionate livable communities advocate who works assisting communities in developing pedestrian, bicycle and transit-friendly land use and transportation policies. Car-free since 2001, Matthew has traveled extensively to people-oriented cities in Europe and the US (including spending a year living in Paris, France where he studied at the Parisian Center for Critical Studies), and has developed a deep expertise in urban design standards and practices, transportation and land use research, and best practices. Photo courtesy CDG Office: 612-354-2901 Kirk Johnson is an all-season bicycle commuter since 2006. As a citizen volunteer, he chairs the Bike Edina Task Force, serves on the Hennepin County Bicycle Advisory Committee, and is on the Board of Directors for the Twin Cities Streets for People. Kirk is involved with bicycle transportation as a lifestyle and is committed to improving the viability for biking as a popular transportation option for current and future generations. Kirk is a software project manager and has a wife and three school-aged kids. Cell: 612-916-9966 Photo courtesy Alex Johnson 31