Here's a guest post from Joe Reineman (who blogs at Snak Shak), summarizing an advocacy ride I joined yesterday. He's been encouraging the businesses at 48th and Chicago to improve their bike parking for a while, and recruited a crew to ride over there with him. (The ride - and post-ride refreshments - was a blast! Thanks, Joe.)
The Coalition provided a tiny bit of technical advice and did what we could to get the word out. We'd love to support and promote more efforts like these - if you have something you want to do, contact us!
On Sunday, June 5, twenty cyclists met at Midtown Freewheel and organized to lobby for improved bike parking at the popular commercial node of 48th Street and Chicago Ave So.
Prior to setting out, we talked about our approach to this lobbying effort; we were determined to be respectful and explain how much we enjoy the shops at 48th and Chicago and how additional bike parking would benefit the shops, businesses and customers. We had prepared petitions which explained the benefits of increased bike parking facilities prior to meeting at Midtown Freewheel, and we asked all of our ride participants to sign the petitions when we had gathered at the meeting location.
Our ride to 48th and Chicago included a planned bike boulevard - the Southern Connector. When completed, this bike boulevard will follow 17th Ave. from 22nd Street all the way to Minnehaha Parkway. This will be a great addition to our north-south bike routes in south Minneapolis, and a number of local cyclists were active in helping the City to plan this project.
When we got to 48th and Chicago, a neighborhood festival (sponsored by the South Chicago Ave. Business Association) was in full swing, so it was a fun and festive atmosphere as we strolled around the shops, talked to the local merchants and left our petitions.
We had very productive discussions with managers and staff at Turtle Bread, Townhall Tap, Pepito’s, and Bikes and Pieces (a fun bike and art shop that has been helpful in trying to improve bike parking). We directed the merchants to the Minneapolis Bike Coalition and provided a local contact name and phone number to assist the merchants with implementing better parking. Because of the festival, the South Chicago Ave. Business Association was staffing a table, so we were able to talk directly to the association as well about the benefits of bike parking as well. As luck would have it, the next business association meeting is this week, so we were told they will add bike parking to the agenda!
The positive impact of 20 cyclists lobbying for improved parking together was very effective. We got the merchants attention, they could see the number of people that were interested in this issue, and we had excellent dialogue as a result. This was much more effective than my previous efforts to talk to the merchants simply as a single customer.
In fact, the participants in this ride were so enthusiastic about the positive responsea that we got that several people suggested applying these same tactics at other commercial nodes in the future.
It was a great turn-out and a great for bike advocacy close to home!