It was a whirlwind trip of conferencing, networking, and lobbying before packing back up and heading back north, but we managed to do it! A big thanks goes out to the folks who took the time to come down to Capitol Hill for the National Bike Summit – as usual, we couldn’t have done it without you.
As we’ve been posting over the past several months, the transportation funding situation in DC is abysmal. The Senate put together a bill that, while it largely preserves funding for biking and walking, includes a modest reduction from current spending levels and increases the competition for the funding. Meanwhile, advocates defeated a House attempt to pass a bill eliminating bike funding. This week, the House has proposed a 60-day extension, further delaying passage of a new transportation bill. It was against this backdrop that advocates from around the country came to the nation’s capital to talk with their members of Congress and their staffs to make the case on the importance of investments in biking and walking.
We in the MassBike office were working hard literally up until the last minute coordinating meetings with Congressional staffers to make sure that every office met with someone from Massachusetts. In the end, we were able to meet with two members of Congress (Ed Markey and James McGovern) and staff from the other ten offices. You can see pictures from the summit here.
This year we had 15 event participants from across the state, including professional advocates, local businesses, and citizens that just care about better biking in their communities. The delegation included:
|Jackie Douglas||Livable Streets Alliance|
|Richard Fries||Bikes Belong|
|Tom Henry||Landry’s Bicycles|
|Jack Johnson||Landry’s Bicycles|
|Tim Johnson||Team Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com|
|Dorothy Nichols||Todson (Topeak)|
|Kara Oberg||LivableStreets Alliance|
|Don Podolski||New Horizons Sports|
|Jeff Roth||Local Advocate|
|John Siemiatkoski||LAB, MassBike|
|David Wilcox||Bikes Not Bombs, Broadway Bicycle School|
Unlike some other states, Massachusetts is fortunate to have a Congressional delegation that is very supportive of biking and walking. In fact, we presented Senator Scott Brown with a National Bicycle Leadership Award from the League of American Bicyclists (see picture below). We urged our members of Congress to convince their colleagues to support biking and walking, and offered whatever help we could to enable their advocacy in the Capitol. We look forward to continuing to work with our Congressional delegation to promote biking and walking at the federal level while local advocates push on the ground to turn federal support into off-road paths, bike lanes, intersection improvements, and signage that makes the streets safer for all users.
In the meantime, we are going to be shifting our attention to the upcoming Massachusetts Bike/Walk Summit, in which we will be asking advocates from across the state to come to Beacon Hill to let their state legislators know how very important biking and walking in their community is. This event takes place on Thursday, May 17th and is the central MassBike event for Bay State Bike Week. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by clicking here.
Finally, in order for us to undertake our federal and state advocacy, we need the support of groups and citizens who want to see better biking in Massachusetts. Please consider joining or donating to MassBike today so that we can keep advocating to key decision makers for years to come.