Central and 1st Avenue Should Get a Bikelift

Jeff Speck prefers cities turn their one-way streets into two-way streets in his massively popular book, Walkable City (if you haven’t read it, do so immediately. I couldn’t put it down), and he makes a convincing argument to do so based on the economic response in Savannah and the safety record in Minneapolis. Here in Phoenix we have only a few one way streets unlike, say, Seattle or Portland. But unlike those cities, the one-way streets we do have are massive and fast, which makes them prime contenders for shifting to two-way designation. Of course I’m talking about Washington, Jefferson, Central, and 1st Avenues, the four main streets that intersect the very core of our city. Jefferson and Central each have five lanes of traffic in some places and would be perfect candidates to re-purpose. Central Avenue north of Roosevelt is a two-way street with two general purpose lanes in each direction bisected by the light rail line. South of Roosevelt it is split into 1st Avenue and Central Avenue. Central has two lanes and a center access lane between Roosevelt and Van Buren, and is three northbound lanes south of Van Buren. 1st Avenue is three southbound lanes between Roosevelt and Lincoln.

I’ve been kicking around this idea for a couple days now as part of a larger preparation for the next two weeks bike master plan meetings where we remove one of the lanes of general purpose traffic from each of Central and 1st Avenues, and turn the right lane into a Bus/Bike/Right Turn Only lane. The idea reinforced itself as I was headed back to work today after going outside for a walk and I took this picture:

Looking south on Central Avenue at 3:30 PM on a Monday

Looking south on Central Avenue at 3:30 PM on a Monday

That’s 3:30 in the afternoon on Monday looking south from Central and Washington. Crickets. Not a car in sight except that one parked outside the left lane just south of Jefferson. During rush hour the right lane is jam packed with express and local busses, so nobody really even drives in that lane unless they’re making a right turn anyhow. During mid-day it’s obviously a ghost town. This is what I envision this section of street looking like:

Central Avenue painted for a bike/bus lane only

Central Avenue painted for a bike/bus lane only

What you have is a solid white line separating general traffic from a bike/bus only lane. Approaching intersections where a right turn is allowed, the solid white line will turn to a dashed white line and a sign indicating right turns are permitted will be present. At the intersections there will be a green bike box and “Bikes Only” lettering in the box. No right turn on red shall be permitted and cars are required to stop behind this bike box at all times, and people driving cars must turn right from this lane; they cannot continue straight. If this becomes an issue with drivers getting in the right lane to jump a queue, bollards may be placed at the far end of the intersection with a generous clearance for bicycles but provide a deterrent for drivers to try to squeeze through the intersection ahead of general traffic. Furthermore if general traffic attempts to utilize this lane, traffic bollards may be installed for a small additional cost where traffic is not allowed to merge.

SB 1st Avenue painted at an intersection for bike/bus lane

SB 1st Avenue painted at an intersection for bike/bus lane

On Central Avenue north of Van Buren where the road shrinks to two lanes, I’d propose to continue the bike-lane aspect in the access road to the left of the light rail tracks. At Van Buren, this would include utilizing a queue jump signal priority for bikes and busses to allow a clear, worry-free crossing from the right lane to the far left lane. In the event a bike rider reaches Van Buren during a green light signal, they may perform a “Copenhagen Left” maneuver by crossing to the far side of the intersection and waiting in the bike box in the right westbound lane on Van Buren, and proceed to cross to the left side of Central Avenue once the Van Buren light turns green. This is an atypical utilization of the Copenhagen Left, but allows the rider to cross the two through traffic lanes safely and with minimal stress.

NB Central at Van Buren bike/bus lane shifting to access road

NB Central at Van Buren bike/bus lane shifting to access road

To the north of Van Buren, the initial left turn lane remains a bike/bus lane for busses accessing Central Station, and north of Polk remains an access road but serves as the primary cycling route on Central until Roosevelt. I’m open to suggestions to the type of surface to be installed on this access road, but my initial thought was to place pavers here. The shortcomings of that, of course, are skinny-tire bikes would be just as uncomfortable to ride here as cars would be to drive, but the goal with this is to implement a speed limit of 15 MPH so as to allow people driving full left-turn and business access and let drivers know this space is for bicycle travel and walking, first and foremost, and taking a car here is to acknowledge it is a shared space. At Roosevelt, bike traffic would be allowed to turn left or right; signalization, signage, or other design elements should be implemented to minimize the probability of people turning right onto Roosevelt across train or car traffic moving northbound.

Central Avenue access road re-paved for bike access

Central Avenue access road re-paved for bike access

This is one idea I have for making Downtown more bike-friendly. Anecdotally I don’t feel that traffic would be hindered hardly at all based on my observations of traffic behavior along these streets as well as based on the right lane of 1st Avenue being closed during the YMCA/SRC expansion/construction. So what do you think of this idea? So crazy it might actually work? Carmaggedon waiting to happen? Or maybe you can improve on the idea to make an even better solution to moving people north and south through Downtown by bike.

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Vote No on Question 2 in Mesa’s Special Bond Election

One of the worst things about writing a Phoenix Bike Blog is I live in Mesa. Mesa has maintained its suburban mentality even as the world around it is changing. 60 mph arterial streets, 40 mph residential street designs, and 10-foot walls surrounding our “neighborhoods” are still being built. They may be building light rail for three miles and have a cycle track in the bicycle master plan (hopefully it gets built?), but they’re still allowing Eastmark to be built as-is right next to a brand new freeway they issued $77 million in bonds to fast track. Ugh.

Separately I’ve always been extremely excited about being able to vote. Maybe it’s because of my military service, maybe it’s because I feel like I really am able to make a difference, but I love voting in local elections. I could care less about the President just because living in Arizona my vote will always be Republican, just like when I lived in Washington or California my vote was always Democrat. It really holds no value to me. So when I got my voter’s pamphlet in the mail last week, I got really excited. Then I read the pamphlet.

There are two bond measures: Question 1 is a public safety bond for fire, police, and a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t pertain to this blog. Question 2 is “Streets and Highways”. That’s not a good way to start a “vote yes” argument with me. But I was hopeful that, like last year’s parks bond, there will be some improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure. Question 2’s wording is as such:

“Shall Mesa, Arizona, be authorized to issue and sell General Obligation Bonds of the City in the principal amount of $79,100,000 to provide funds to plan, design, acquire, construct, reconstruct and improve the City’s streets, highways, bridges, street lights, pedestrian improvements, multi-use path and trail improvements, other vehicular and multi-modal transportation improvements, and acquire land and interests in land therefore…”

and then a bunch of technical stuff about repayment and interest rates and maturity. This question doesn’t give us any real information, so I decided to look at the city’s website to get some information. This is a list of the projects to be paid for with the money from the bonds: 10th Street (Multi-Modal), Arterial Reconstructions, CityShare, Economic Development, Fiesta District – Phase II, Gateway Airport – Design/Environmental, Mesa Drive – Phase II, Right-of-Way Improvements/1st Ave, Rusted Streetlight Pole Replacement, and Streetlight Improvements.

10th Street (Multi-Modal)

10th Street between Date and Alma School would receive traffic calming infrastructure on about a ¾ mile stretch of roadway. This is a little-used street that I’ve ridden my bike down on multiple occasions when moving from the Tempe Canal Path to the Crosscut Trail because there is no connection between Alma School and Country Club. It is a low-volume street, and while I’m not intimately familiar with cut through traffic speeds, it doesn’t seem to be any more or less important from a traffic calming perspective than any other half or quarter mile street in Mesa where drivers treat these neighborhood streets as their own personal freeway. Conclusion: A good project that will likely end up looking and feeling like 13th or 5th Street in Tempe and serving a similar purpose to slow similar cut-through traffic.

Arterial Reconstruction

This appears to be a general maintenance issue where major arterial street sections have fallen into disrepair by way of cracks and potholes. Large sections of Broadway, Southern, Val Vista, and Greenfield are included. Broadway and Southern serve bicycle traffic; in fact they’re two of the highest collision streets in Mesa, and they don’t have any bicycle facilities. While improving on-street conditions would be beneficial for those people who choose to ride bikes for transportation, there is no mention of re-purposing these streets to provide safer travel for our active mode users. Conclusion: Conditionally not in support. I’m programmed to think “safety” in terms of Mesa’s streets means “remove obstacles for drivers” so unless they show me otherwise, this project is a massive missed opportunity for needed infrastructure improvement and traffic slowing on dangerous roadways.

CityShare

Supplementing developer’s fees to “improve” roadway and utility infrastructure over minimum required improvements to be provided by the developer. Conclusion: Not in support. Just like anything, we can interpret some of these things to be beneficial. For example, “oversizing” utilities can provide opportunity for higher densities and better communication connections in the future, but taking Mesa’s history into account it just means “you have to build a two lanes each direction road and we want to build three lanes.” No.

Economic Development

Discretionary funding for street improvements associated with significant economic development projects. Conclusion: Trusting to use the city to use this money wisely when one of the examples they give of previous funds used is the Ray Road “improvements”? No thank you.

Fiesta District – Phase II

Enhanced bus stop facilities, re-striping Southern Avenue in the immediate area, planting landscaping in the city right-of-way along the Fiesta Improvement District. Conclusion: Depends on how you feel about the Fiesta District, but not a bad project. Me? I view it is a placating attempt at “we’re improving the street to make a complete street” but still putting bicycle traffic immediately adjacent to 60 MPH vehicle traffic, pretty brick crosswalks, and a raised median. There are good and bad with this project, but I’m not fully in favor of it because I feel it’s half-assed as they’re not touching Alma School at all and I have no idea what they’re doing to increase bicycle connectivity with the rest of the city beyond the future-looking, largely un-funded bicycle master plan, so I’m not in support.

Gateway Airport – Design/Environmental

Design and environmental assessment of the East Terminal for Gateway Airport. Conclusion: An overall benefit to the city and they’ve already built the freeway. I’m neutral on this one because the economic benefit potential is great, but they’re not pushing any transit or cycling connectivity to minimize traffic impacts and it’s building yet another node in our already spread out city, taking away much of the benefit of light rail and form-based code in Downtown. In fact they already built a freeway here, so the negative effects are already being felt without even breaking ground.

Mesa Drive – Phase II

Bike lanes from 8th Avenue to Main Street and dual left turns at Broadway Road are included. Conclusion: That seems a little contradictory. “Let’s increase car volume and speed AND add bike lanes on an already high speed road.” Another case of one step forward and two steps back.

Right-of-Way Improvements / 1st Avenue

Provides landscaping improvements for 1st Avenue from MacDonald to Lesueur within the Downtown Planning Area. The figures on the website depict median landscaping. Conclusion: Mature trees and well maintained landscaping correlate with high property values. I’d rather see the city narrow the street footprint by adding landscaping on the street side of the sidewalks in the neighborhood to enclose the street, make the street more narrow for people walking to cross, and provide separation from moving traffic and people. This isn’t a terrible project, but could and should be done better.

Rusted Streetlight Pole Replacement

Older base mounted streetlight poles have begun to rust and are structurally unsound requiring replacement. Conclusion: As a possible safety issue, I’m obligated to say it’s an important thing to spend money on. But this should be included in standard maintenance and if needed taken out of the streets capital budget. The lack of funding to pay for regular maintenance and replacement is a direct result of sprawl that doesn’t pay for itself, just like the Arterial Reconstruction project above.

Streetlight Improvements

Adding streetlights to low-light areas. Conclusion: Important, yes. Should be included in the existing capital improvements plan in place of widening streets. If it weren’t bundled in with the rest of these “improvements”, I’d be likely to support a bond on this expenditure.

Why I’m Voting No

As I’ve mentioned in a few of these, this bond is being used to make up for deficiencies in past development patterns. We’re borrowing money to fund public safety against future development of which will fail to pay for itself and thus require further borrowing to make up for the deficiencies until Mesa is landlocked and forced to grow in a sustainable fashion. It’s also being used to supplement existing poor planning and development requirements. Even the money being spent to improve pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure is a half-assed appeasement to provide the bare minimum standards without actually improving conditions for people traveling outside a motor vehicle, or even the safety of those traveling inside a car. I know my skepticism of the city is a little depressing; I have to live with it after all, but it’s well earned after living here for seven years.

Until Mesa actually is committed to improving the quality of life for its residents through a comprehensive overhaul of its dangerous and singularly focused transportation infrastructure, I’m not willing to support any financial expenditure to continue operating status quo. $79 million in REAL change could transform this city from a desolate wasteland of high-speed arterials, spread out strip malls and grocery anchored centers, and towering prison walls surrounding subdivisions into a place people actually want to live, work, and play in a matter of a couple years. That amount of money can provide an opportunity to connect to the new light rail line, promote new mixed-use development within the city’s existing built environment, and keep our highly educated millennial generation graduating from all the new education options in Mesa from leaving to the cities in which we actually want to live and raise a family. Until a transportation bond measure comes along to make a difference in how people living in Mesa move around town, I’m inclined to vote no. As it stands, from my rough estimations there appears to be about $50 million in poorly spent money, $28 million in “barely acceptable, should be in the regular budget” spending, and $1 million in only okay spending. That’s not an acceptable burden to place on the citizens of Mesa or any city.

Where are the 1st Street Bike Lanes?

I love dedicated bicycle facilities. I think they’re great, and when implemented correctly enhance both perceived and real life safety. I also feel they’re required on streets that are engineered 1st, 2nd, and 3rd for the transport of motor vehicles, as most of the streets in Phoenix are. They’re beneficial in an environment completely separated from car traffic as a low-stress route for transportation or recreation. And hey, anything that gets more and more people on bikes, the better off we all are.

Enter complete streets. Complete streets is a recently coined catchphrase like “going green” or “low fat” that has morphed from something good into something anybody will tag on anything to enhance its marketability. Hey Chevy, your Hybrid Tahoe isn’t “eco-friendly” no matter how much you claim it is. So when I hear complete streets from a city anymore I’m instantly skeptical. I envision most cities carrying out a complete streets policy in much the same way new arterials are built in the Phoenix area. With 3 general purpose lanes each direction, 2 left turn lanes at each major arterial/arterial intersection, a median, but wait, it’s a complete street because it has a 4-foot bike lane that’s 1-foot in the gutter, and a 6-foot sidewalk. I don’t know what’s pedestrian friendly about crossing 108 feet of rubberized asphalt when it’s 115 degrees outside, but that seems to be the standard.

So when I see 1st Street actually getting a complete street design, I’m very excited. What you’ll notice about this design, taken from the city’s 1st Street Streetscape Study page 27, is there are no bike lanes. The new streetscape design is 1st Street between Van Buren and Moreland and has enhanced sidewalks, on-street parking, two general purpose lanes, and the occasional left turn lane. If there is no dedicated facility for bicycle travel, how can it be a complete street? Let’s take a look at why bike lanes should not be included on 1st Street.

1st Street Streetscape between Fillmore and Garfield.

1st Street Streetscape between Fillmore and Garfield.

Potentially Dangerous

This seems counter-intuitive because what could be more dangerous than riding in the same lane as car traffic? Meeting a bear, walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon, and eating undercooked ground beef are all probably more dangerous for most people. That’s not helpful because those are high bars of scary to meet. What’s potentially dangerous about putting a bike lane on this cross-section is how close that puts people on bikes to parked cars. Most of us would agree that on-street parking is a great pedestrian amenity as it separates people walking from people driving by a fixed object. It also adds “hazards” in the mind of a driver, so it slows motorists down. While it’s a great pedestrian amenity, it’s not the best cycling amenity.

On this street there are two types of on-street parking; pull-in angled and parallel. I’d rather see back-in angled parking specifically because it’s safer, but I’m not going to belabor that point as it’ll probably scare the bejeebers out of Phoeniecians, though maybe we should raise a stink about something so simple to implement. With the pull-in angled parking, the problem you get is not the people pulling into a space, it’s backing out. Imagine having your [insert small car model here] parked to the left of a [insert massive gas guzzler owned by some guy clearly overcompensating for something]. Now imagine backing out of that space. When are you typically able to see out your rear passenger window into oncoming traffic to know if it’s safe to pull all the way out? If you’re driving anything with trunk space, that’s how far into the travel lane you are. The lanes, as designed on 1st Street, are 14-feet wide. Let’s imagine we have a 5-foot trunk on our car; that puts us 5-feet into a 14-foot wide travel lane. Where do you think the bike lane would be in that scenario? Jackpot, right where the car’s trunk is. The bike lane would take up the right 4 feet of our 14-foot road, so if you’re traveling along 1st Street with someone driving a car in the general purpose lane and they pass you right as I back my car out of the space, to put it lightly: you’re effed. Going the other way along parallel parking, we’re worried about the bike lane taking up the door zone which is just as dangerous.

Typical cross-section of 1st Street Streetscape

Typical cross-section of 1st Street Streetscape

Slower Traffic

Bike traffic can serve a very useful purpose for our complete streets. By their nature of being human powered, the capability of traveling at the same speed as a combustion engine driven vehicle is just not there. We’ve all been in neighborhoods in Phoenix with posted speed limits of 25 miles per hour where people drive 40. Signs don’t mean anything to some people. But we’ve introduced on-street parking to our new 1st Street, so drivers have to slow down to 30 because they have less reaction time and more possible hazards. With a safer environment for people on foot, and metered on-street parking for car storage, the opportunity presents itself for business opportunities. Because it’s no longer possible to park in front of one business, get in the car and drive ¼ mile to park at the next destination, more people are walking along and across 1st Street, slowing traffic further.

Ultimately what will happen is traffic will no longer flow uninterrupted at high speeds. With car traffic creeping through 1st Street, waiting for cars backing out of parking spaces or waiting as people cross the street, there is a danger of people riding bikes faster than traffic and not being prepared to stop for those same hazards. Even more importantly, bike riders travel slowly. With more human-scale development and more people walking around, being behind the wheel of a car feels more and more… wrong. What I mean is, those same people that will honk and curse at someone taking the lane on Central Avenue know that the car is no longer king on this street, but rather an equal part of the street. The animosity level towards bike riders is much lower on streets where drivers expect to drive slowly than they are on streets where cyclists are “intruders.”

Grand Avenue Has Green Lanes

Which are awesome. Seriously, have you ridden or driven down it lately? They jump out at you and let people know bicycles are a welcome form of transportation. So why are bike lanes on Grand Avenue a good idea but they’re not on 1st Street? Because the type of car traffic that uses that road is difference. There are issues with these lanes as I don’t think it’s separated enough from parked cars to provide safety from the door zone, but I’m interested to see if the green paint pushes drivers toward the middle of the road leaving the left side of the bike lane free to roam.

If the city were to build speed tables, stop signs every eighth of a mile, and shrink the lanes to 9 feet, people would still drive on Lower Grand instead of heading up 7th Avenue and turning west. If for no other reason than there are no left turns allowed during rush hour still and driving down Roosevelt doesn’t offer a different cut through alternative. Some people will go down to 15th or 19th Avenues to catch Grand, but I’m convinced Lower Grand will always have a purpose for people getting out of downtown [at least during our lifetimes. Who knows what purpose it will serve in 200 years. Maybe it’ll be a chimp sanctuary or a futbol pitch or an ocean. I bet it’s an ocean]. Because of the volume and, more importantly, the attitude of people driving this street it is beneficial to have separated facilities.

1st Street stops at Hance Park/Moreland Street. It’s not a through street out of downtown, and as such it will naturally lend itself to more calm traffic patterns as people are arriving there as a destination to get to rather than a corridor to get through. The psychology of wanting to beat traffic on Grand is trumped by the psychology of going slow enough to find a parking space on 1st.

Conclusion

In the long-term, we are all better off no matter what mode of transportation we choose on any given day when we have compassion toward each other and co-exist instead of compete. Seeing people driving cars and riding bikes down the same street at the same speed puts us all on equal ground and gives all users the opportunity to see the people in the car or on a bike as the people we are: brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, volunteers, accountants, athletes, sons and daughters. We all have many identities and many facets of our personality that get lost when we turn a large part of our day into “cars vs. bikes.” Slowing traffic to bike speed makes the street safe for people of all ages and abilities to ride in. Creating environments where people can interact safely will go a long way to spreading that attitude all over our city and getting the right infrastructure in the right places. 1st Street is being designed correctly (mostly… I’m starting to get more and more hung-up on the pull-in angled parking and the wide turning radii at intersections bother me as well), and instead of instinctively battling for inches of separate, designated roadway and turning to our default mode of not trusting Phoenix Streets Department, shouldn’t we instead be applauding the yards of shared, bike-friendly roadway we are getting and pushing for this design to be refined and implemented across the city?

Pictures in this post are taken from the 1st Street Streetscape Study linked above and available to the public at http://phoenix.gov/streets/reference/index.html

Asking Cars Questions

We all know how media outlets report people getting hit by cars (not drivers) and that city’s design their roads and planning documents about storing and transporting those cars. Since those things are such a big part of our city, I wanted to see what cars thought about their status in our society. This week’s question comes from John in Tempe:

Recent US Supreme Court rulings have determined that corporations are people. Given the prevelance [sic] and importance of automobiles, along with a multitude of published reports demonstrating your ability to act independently of any action from the human(s) you transport, do you believe the personhood designation should be applied to automobiles as well?”

Lower Grand Green Lanes

Grand Avenue is undergoing a transformation between Van Buren and Roosevelt with the replacement of a motor vehicle standard travel lane with a bicycle only travel lane and on-street parking in each direction. The average daily traffic volume on Lower Grand has dropped from over 20,000 per day in the 1980’s to 11,500 per day in 2011.

This is beneficial for bicycle travel because it will slow motor vehicle traffic and provide a designated space for people to travel separated from traffic on their bicycle. As good as it is for bicycle use, it’s even better for people traveling on foot. Parked cars provide an excellent buffer from moving traffic that enhance safety from the occasional wayward vehicle and it provides added distance between moving traffic and the human scale of the street.

What’s lesser known is these types of projects have historically been beneficial for motorists as well. Speeds are typically slower (this example in Seattle saw average speed drop from 42 to 33 MPH. Posted speed limit is 30…), reduce the number of collisions, and do not reduce traffic flow when appropriately placed. In fact, replacing a four-lane road with one lane each direction and a center turn lane can actually improve traffic flow because drivers turning left no longer impede traffic flow [that isn’t the case here; Grand was two lanes each direction and a center turn lane. The reason it works on Grand is due to the low traffic volumes.].

As of now I haven’t seen or heard of any improvements to connect the new green lanes with other bicycle routes or the Downtown core. This means once one arrives at Van Buren, the rider is forced to join mixed traffic between 7th and 6th Avenues. Fillmore doesn’t have a signal crossing 7th Avenue, so even if you’re able to find Fillmore off Grand Avenue (hint, it’s accessed via 9th or 10th Avenues), good luck crossing 7th during rush hour. Even though it’s not connected yet, the Grand Avenue green lanes are another piece of the puzzle being built to connect Downtown and its adjacent neighborhoods by active transportation modes.
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***UPDATED THURSDAY MORNING AT 8:33. NEW WORDS ARE IN ITALICS, AND “MOTOR VEHICLE” HAS BEEN REPLACED BY “STANDARD” IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH.

What Would You Ask A Car?

The title of this post is probably a little confusing. “What would I ask a car? Don’t be silly, cars can’t talk.” Well of course not. But our cities are designed for cars, cars hit people, and cars hit buildings.

Since so much of our lives revolve around cars, since we design for cars instead of people, and in our media cars [not motorists] hit people and buildings, we’d like to ask cars instead of people about their thoughts on the built environment and our media coverage to see how we as a society are meeting the needs of cars everywhere.

So let us know, what would you like to ask a car?

TBAG Looking For Leaders

Tempe Bicycle Action Group is growing! Their recent billboard campaign has been a huge hit, and as per usual they are doing amazing things getting the word out and making Tempe a great place to bike. They are looking for volunteers to fill some leadership positions, so I’ve taken the liberty of copying Scott’s e-mail to those on the e-mail list and posting it here. Of course there are many ways to make cycling more accessible to everyone in the region, not the least of which is simply by riding your bike, but if you want to do more this is a great organization to get involved with! E-mail Scott at scrottie@biketempe.org if you’re interested.

Thank you for asking to hear about leadership opportunities! (If you didn’t, please accept our apologies and click “update subscription preferences” below to fix it).

Many hands make light work. If you can take one task and make it yours, you’ll free up the Advocacy Directory to coordinate advocacy, the President to preside, and, well, you get the idea. Here’s what you can do:

Social Media Coordinator
Community Art Rep
Videographer/Photographer
Volunteer Coordinator
Media Spokesperson

You aren’t alone in any of these jobs. You have the entire board you can draw on for help and guidance, and access to our volunteer pool. We can help you track down volunteers and other resources. For most of these, no special skills are needed. If you ride bikes, you already have a lot of insight to share with Tempe.

Social Media Coordinator — we advertise our own rides on Facebook most of the time but we currently do a terrible job of advertising them to people subscribed to “Rides and Events” on the mailing list, and we need to advertise more charity and fun rides put on by other organizations. Having roads closed to cars for family rides is huge for getting people out on bikes. We need to help with things like that. You’ll be part of our fledgeling PR team.

Community Art Rep — there’s a new Awareness Committee that’s working with the art community to bring visibility to cycling in Tempe. Working with Arbitrary Arts at Tour de Fat was one of the things that came out of there. The billboard is another. We need someone who can go to neighborhood association meetings and talk to business owners about how we can work with the community to do public art projects such as murals.

Videographer/Photographer — having photos and short videos to share is a great way to share our work with and engage the community. This falls by the wayside too often. Some of the board members used to do some of this, but as events get larger, it’s clear we need someone to make this a priority. You don’t have to make every event. Making half would be an improvement. You can and should also recruit people to help you. By being in charge, you save us a lot of work.

Volunteer Coordinator — one side effect of our growth is that we have people like Rich who manages Bike Valets and Mark E. who manages the Bike Lights for Ninjas program, but they themselves need volunteers for their projects. All of us need a few extra hands now and then. It’s also critically important that we take good care of our volunteers. We’ve allocated money for throwing a thank you party for them, and you could help put that on.

Media Spokesperson — after the billboard went up, we had something like four TV interviews, a newspaper interview, and an FM radio news show interview. We don’t want to say no to these, but every time one comes in, we have a mad scramble to find someone who can make it over there. Do you have a flexible schedule that would permit you to occasionally make an interview with only a few hours notice? You can also establish connections with volunteers who can help catch interviews.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for being part of Tempe Bicycle Action Group!

Regards,
-scott