Hello, my name is Tim Brackett and in addition to being a member of the street.mn board of directors, I am also a member of the MN Greencorps this year and my host site is the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN). One of my roles at BikeMN is to coordinate Bikeable Community Workshops (BCWs). These BCWs are an important tool in helping Minnesota communities become more bike-friendly, and I’m writing here to highlight the street.mn community program.
BCWs have been thriving in Minnesota for a decade now. These workshops are coordinated and facilitated by a partnership between BikeMN and the Minnesota Departments of Health (MDH) and Transportation (MnDOT). At a BCW, local and regional staff, community leaders and local bike champions are trained on strategies they can use to create a more bike-friendly community. Through discussions, presentations and a mobile bike workshop, participants assess their community’s bike-friendly efforts and facilities and work together to create a personalized community action plan. Typical workshop participants include public health practitioners, engineers, planners, school administrators, elected officials, community leaders and local advocates.
“The Bikeable Community Workshop came at a perfect time for the community of Fergus Falls. They had just begun developing a plan for bikes and pedestrians, and BCW was integral in helping the community to prioritize the policies and projects that ended up in the plan.
–Wayne Hurley, Director of Transportation Planning, West Central Initiative, Town of Fergus Falls
We know 2022 is the time to act! The pandemic has changed the way communities view and value transportation. In response to social distancing efforts, cycling and walking have replaced many vehicle trips for commuting and recreation. As we rebuild our systems, making cycling and walking easier is an opportunity to build safe, healthy and more resilient communities.
This year, the Bikeable Community Workshops will be held via a two-session hybrid format. The first session will be virtual for each community and will take place in late April or early May 2022. Individual communities will be able to choose between a morning, afternoon or evening time slot for this virtual session.
The second session will be specific to individual communities and can be held virtually or in person, depending on your preferences and current Covid guidelines. This session will include a community bike ride and audit, as well as creating an action plan to make individual communities more bike-friendly. These second sessions will take place in May and June 2022.
The first step to organizing a Bikeable community workshop is to bring together a team – a few friends or professional acquaintances in your community who have a similar passion for cycling. Next, your new team will want to review the BCW 2022 Planning Guide. This planning guide can be downloaded from bikemn.org/bcw. After reviewing the BCW 2022 Planning Guide, contact the BCW 2022 Coordinator with any follow-up questions at [email protected] The final step in the process of selecting your community to host a 2022 Bikeable Community Workshop is to apply. BCW 2022 applications are due January 31.
Have fun riding in 2022!
Disclaimer: The author of this article is a Minnesota Greencorps member who works for BikeMN and also sits on the board of street.mn.