Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Getting My Advocacy On

On Saturday I attended the launching of BikeMore, a new bicycle advocacy group just starting up in Baltimore. (Note: group does not yet have a website, so that link goes to Twitter.) Some random thoughts:

  • It makes me ridiculously happy to pull onto a sidewalk and see three dozen bikes parked there, and know that almost everyone at the meeting got there on a bike. I didn't snap a picture because I'm not yet at the stage of my blogging career where photography is second nature, but rest assured, there were plenty of bikes, and I hope to get to the point where it's common to walk down a street in Baltimore and see three dozen bikes (although hopefully with better parking).
  • I was quite happy to see a diversity of ages and genders represented... okay yeah it was still largely white males in the 30-50 range but maybe a fifth of the attendees were chicks? Not so much racial diversity but hey, gotta start somewhere. And a focus on diversity (both of the members of the group and of the eventual board of directors) was one of the main things talked about so I am pretty confident that this isn't just going to become a conglomeration of vehicular cycling advocates with their insane hatred of bike lanes.
  • Still a little confused about how advocacy at this level actually WORKS. Like, say you have an awesome idea, like taking out all the on-street parking on Calvert Street and putting up a sweet two-way bike lane with a barrier. (Note to politicians: steal my idea!) If you're like me and have no political connections or desire to BE a politician, what then? But I guess this is stuff I'll learn as I get more involved!
  • The most contentious debate seemed to be about the name of the group, and at some points nobody really had anything to say and I wondered if the facilitator was getting peeved. I don't know if that means we're all on the same page or if everyone was just really shy.

So anyway, it was a fun experience even if I got a little stir-crazy by the end. (Eight hours in a room with no windows, oh my!) I am looking forward to being a part of this group even if I'm still a little new to the idea of organized advocacy in general. Once again, BikeMore's the name, and I'm sure I'll be posting lots more about it!

1 comment:

  1. If you a City Council, then you have Councilmembers. Find yours and start contacting that person. Ask for what you want. That person is your direct link to city hall. Get him to go with you on a ride and point out the good and the bad.

    That's how I started