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The East Bay Bicycle Coalition is ramping up our local advocacy efforts to make your city more bike-friendly and we need your help. We work in 33 cities and in two East Bay counties, which means our great volunteers help with the lion’s share of the work. Volunteers from many of our cities are the eyes and ears we need for local bike issues. We plan to expand this volunteer network into better organized and more energized local advocacy groups. With your volunteer help, your city and your bike commute will become safer and more enjoyable a lot sooner.

What you can do:
Contact Dave Campbell to get involved and volunteer with your local advocacy group.

Learn about Albany’s Story
It’s a drizzly Sunday evening in Albany and a dozen neighbors in their socks are gathered inside a residential living room, huddled around a blueprint schematic laying on the carpeted floor and poring over details such as building entrances and the most efficient routes to and from the location. No, they are not planning a bank heist. They are the Albany Strollers & Rollers and are discussing bicycle access to a proposed grocery and senior housing development in their city.

The professionally developed access designs show a bike path looping around the back of the building, but not connected to any nearby thoroughfares. The group decides that a better option would be to construct an off-street cycle track in front of the store, and to drive this idea home one member is given homework to draw a map of the concept and present it to the city council, showing how their route is a critical link between multiple, yet-unbuilt parts of the official bicycle master plan.

Founded initially in 2004 to address a dangerous bike/pedestrian crossing of the I-580 on-ramp between the Buchanan Street Bridge and the Bay Trail, Albany Strollers & Rollers have since become a well-organized and visible champion of bicycle advocacy. Today, they have active members on city planning commissions, host yearly festival events, and help secure grant funding for bicycle infrastructure projects. The Albany Strollers & Rollers are a model for the type of local organizations that the East Bay Bicycle Coalition will be promoting and supporting throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties in 2012 and beyond as part of the new initiative we are calling Local Advocacy Groups. This initiative emerged from our strategic planning retreat last summer and is now one of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition’s key strategies over the next three years.

Why Local Advocacy Groups?
If you have ever felt that your voice as a bike advocate was not heard or your concerns were overlooked in your city’s planning process, or if you wished your community was more bike-able but didn’t know how to get involved and have a real impact, we want you involved!

While sponsored by the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, the Local Advocacy Groups initiative is all about giving cyclists in each city the tools and support you need to bring together and grow a diverse and effective bike community. Each Local Advocacy Group will be uniquely branded as a local bike advocacy coalition, such as “Bike Fremont.” One of the first things that each Local Advocacy Group will do is strategize on a work-plan for the next year. These work-plans can include, for example, goals for setting up regular bike counts in your city, identifying key bikeways on which to focus, establishing a city bike racks program, hosting bike rides with elected officials, and many more fun and engaging activities for advancing the cause of bicycling in your city.

Find out whether your city as a bicycle advisory committee that meets regularly

Timeline for rolling our Local Advocacy Groups
Starting in March 2012 we will be selecting two groups spanning the two counties, to which we will roll out the first phase of this initiative. The amount of volunteer interest that we receive now will be instrumental in determining which cities will be chosen, so if you or anyone you know has a passion for bikes, a passion for livable neighborhoods, a passion for healthy communities, or is just tired of filling up the gas tank and looking for a viable and fun alternative, it’s time to get involved.

Ready to volunteer?
Contact Dave Campbell to get involved in your local advocacy group. Women and men of all ages, ethnicities, experience, education, and income levels are encouraged to apply.

Many cities in the East Bay need to establish Bicycle Advisory Committees and we want to help. Currently, we are pushing cities like San Leandro and Fremont to hold regular bicycle advisory commitee meetings, and cities like Union City, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek and Unicorporated Alameda County to start such committees. Your city can have a regular meeting with city staff to get updates on new bike projects and provide input and direction to city staff. Collectively, by working closely with city staff, all areas of the East Bay can become bike friendly much more quickly.

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