Bikes Belong awarded Green Lane grants to five American cities: Austin, Texas, Chicago, Portland, Ore., San Francisco, and Washington, DC. A local non-profit in each city will receive $25,000 to build the case for how green lanes in their community benefit local businesses.
Although all of the cities have impressive goals for expanding bicycling through building these innovative facilities, support from the business community is crucial in moving complicated projects forward. These grants will help cities better understand and address business community concerns and recruit business voices as supporters.
Movability Austin will use their grant to conduct research examining how downtown businesses view bicycling as a mode of transportation, their barriers to supporting bicycling and what factors they care about during design and construction of bicycle facilities. Utilizing the results, the organization will work with a project advisory team made up of local leaders to address business concerns and forge strategies on how to partner with the business community on bicycling issues.
As part of a citywide goal to boost bicycling mode share to 25%, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) is working to build strong business support for two new routes: a north/south connection through downtown and bridgehead improvements that will link the new routes to the existing network. The BTA team will connect with business owners to understand and address their concerns and priorities and to share how better bicycle facilities can benefit their bottom line. Longtime partner REI will help with communications, events and meeting space.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) is partnering with contacts at City Hall, in city agencies and among business leaders to build the case for how bicycling benefits the many businesses in San Francisco. Engaging at both the grassroots level with businesses located on proposed green lane corridors and the grass-tops level with influential business leaders, this effort will reach a key constituency that will ultimately affect decision makers as well as the general public. SFBC will work with REI to spread the word about green lanes and involve them in outreach events and initiatives.
The Green Lane Project grant will be used to bolster the newly-launched Bike Friendly Business program, which seeks to build support for bicycling and green lanes among businesses and to develop new partnerships with business owners and managers. In addition to promoting the business community’s support for bicycling, the Active Transportation Alliance will recruit business champions to take a more visible role by signing and posting petitions, writing letters to the editor and connecting with other businesses around this issue. The local REI will serve as a model Bike Friendly Business and help with workshops and other business programming.