Champaign County Bikes Strategy Meeting: How to Organize at the Grassroots Level A presentation and discussion to propel our campaign to make Champaign County the most bicyclist friendly community in the Midwest Special Guest: Kathleen Gary, experienced C-U community organizer Thursday, October 5th 6:30 - 8:00pm at OJC Technologies, in the Downtown Urbana IMC/Post Office Building, 202 South Broadway (at Elm and Broadway), Second Floor Conference Room Attending: Linda Evans, Christy Nugent, Audrey Ishii, Rick Langlois, Cary Meline ,Brandon Bowersox, Fred Davidson, Susan Jones, Scott McCullom ,Gary Cziko, Charlie Smyth While waiting for Kathleen to arrive, Rick talked about the upcoming National Bike Week and events he would like to see happen. He has some interest on the part of the Champaign Park District. A weeklong set of activities might be possible. There is a League of Illinois Bicyclists safety video/DVD with pamphlets for students that has been released and copies are being sent around the state. (Charlie saw a blurb in the newspaper this past week about this) Brandon: We need a complete cultural shift. How can we change the perception in our community? (eg smoking versus biking) Introductions were made and Kathleen Gary, who was very active with CU Smoke Free talked about what got them started. The program she was working on with the UofI had foundation support for looking into clean indoor air; researched other initiatives; what kind of network to make the community aware; elevated it the change agents; figured out the strategies. This in turn led to her involvement with CU Smoke Free. CU Smoke Free started with a public meeting on clean indoor air; word of mouth, connections, news ad; They met monthly to get organized and started strategizing. Created a group structure and then pursued a Strategic Logic Model. Among the questions they asked themselves, rephrased as bicycling oriented: Where do we want to be? What does it look like if it’s bike friendly? What does the perception feel like if there’s bike freedom? What does the endpoint look like? Who might be an expert at advertising for an education piece? How do you saturate the community in the thinking of a bike friendly place? What does it mean for the non-biking people – normalcy ideas? What kind of icon? What is the draw? Other communities? (ordinances, who led the effort?) The core group of CUSmokeFree was committed and patient (smoke free took 3 years locally) The broke down their campaign into little task groups (even just one person) Look for synergy Need to have a presence – Identify the opposition; how can you make motorists and pedestrians comfortable with bikes on the road? What is the behavior, what is the space and how defined? Visuals? Signs? Handouts from LIB for law enforcement and drivers ed. Need training in schools and defensive biking. LIB indicates that it’s hard to get people to attend meetings. Get a unified message/importance of the mission. Need to have flexible strategies when things don’t quite work out. What laws; signs; education programs; signify success? And what kind of maintenance mode after success? Ideas for success endpoints: Community that accepts bikes knowing that you can ride in safety Injury and death free Whats the new “normal” mean? Points to make to different people starting with a buzzword Rick has info on Bikes Belong (trademark industry) so can’t really use that as a buzzword or logo. Rick will attend the Champaign Moving Forward community discussions. He mentioned that Champaign Park District – Joe Petry – the park district thinks bikes are important. Discussion continued about what the role of all units of government would be and how does what this group does spread state wide The age old Bike routes versus paths discussion came up and one common answer to this is that we want routes that are safe and roads can be good for bikes now. As a selling point to local governments, People will move here because we’re progressive biking community The group decided to meet once a month though maybe more often at the beginning. There are several events coming up including the next Urbana Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission meeting which will be at 7:30 pm at the Urbana Civic Center on Tuesday October 17 and will feature Ed Barsotti from the Illinois League of Bicyclists. Among the items mentioned that the group needs to do: Need to set goals, mission, targets Monitor CATS 3 (and attend meetings) Monitor Road construction/Complete streets Develop bike parking and accommodation recommendations Other Key action items need to be developed Need to be at every planning meeting in the county so that we know what’s going on Kathleen reigned us in with the question of Where do you have your biggest bang for the buck? E.g. what’s the most important meeting to be at and so on. Charlie asked what might be the role of Prairie Cycle Club (PCC) in anything the group might do? Charlie asked about money and where it came from to get the CU Smoke Free going. Kathleen answer that the individuals starting out pitched in; American Lung Association helped out and gave them a grant as did Illinois Coalition against Tobacco (these paid for a poll and marketing campaign); they also did fundraisers. It was suggested that we talk to Scott Hayes and Dan Lewart.
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