Right now, bicycling is a hot topic in Stevens Point. Regular readers are no doubt aware of several notable current local stories involving bicycling:
- the Division/Church Corridor Study whose alternatives include the addition of bike lanes;
- the Portage County Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Project that is expected to include many recommendations for improving bicycling in Stevens Point and countywide;
- the bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community award that the League of American Bicyclists bestowed upon Stevens Point last month.
Decision makers will undoubtedly find themselves voting on items over the foreseeable future that can have a major impact on the quality of bicycling in our city. The outcomes of such votes will effect the vast number of Poky Pedalers who need safe, comfortable and convenient routes to use bicycles for transportation, whether that is for getting to work, for riding to the park, for picking up a few things at the grocery, or for bicycling with their families to the movies.
For this reason, it is important that these decision makers be well-informed about the benefits Stevens Point enjoys when they vote to make bicycling better.
But how can we educate our decision makers about bicycling?
One approach is simply to talk to them. So that’s what I’ve been doing.
At the monthly Stevens Point Common Council meetings, any citizen may speak on any non-agenda item for 3 minutes. I figured that every once in a while, I could use my 3 minutes to talk bikes. By adopting this approach, I can bring up a variety of bikey topics of immediate relevance to illustrate the benefits of supporting bicycling in our city. Decision makers can draw upon this breadth when the time comes to cast a vote that can make Stevens Point an even better place to ride a bicycle.
In May, I first used my 3 minutes to introduce our alderpersons and city staff to Poky Pedaling Stevens Point.
In August, I used my 3 minutes to talk about the connection between bicycling and job creation.
Last night, I used my 3 minutes to highlight the economic benefits of our Bicycle Friendly Community award.
A transcript of each of these addresses can be found on a new PPSP webpage titled “3 Minutes with Stevens Point Common Council.” You can find this webpage under the Speak Your Poky menu bar item.
Every three months – with variation based on meeting agendas or other timely events – I will select another relevant bikey topic to speak about for my 3 minutes. Each time, I’ll add the transcript of my remarks to the “3 Minutes with Stevens Point Common Council” page. By checking in, you can find out what bikey stuff I’ve been educating our elected officials about.
Readers of these transcripts might feel that a particular topic needs even greater emphasis to ensure our alderpersons understand the needs of Poky Pedalers. Such readers should keep in mind that at every Stevens Point Common Council meeting, there are also 3 minutes available to you.
By giving a voice to Poky Pedalers via these addresses to Common Council, my hope is that our civic leaders understand the value of creating an equitable balance in our transportation network among people who bicycle, people who walk, people who use transit, and people who drive.
Providing good transportation options for all residents, regardless of how we choose to move about our city, can only make Stevens Point a better place to live, work, shop, and play.
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