Alliance announces 2014 Advocacy Award winners

allianceEach year at the National Bike Summit the Alliance for Biking and Walking announces its winners for the Alliance Advocacy Awards, a way to recognize exceptional groups and individuals who lead in advancing active transportation in North America.

The Alliance received 210 nominations for the 2014 awards, and the final winners were chosen by a panel of past award winners, leaders in the industry and Alliance staff. The People’s Choice Award winner was, of course, chosen by a vote.

Advocacy Organization of the Year – Bike San Diego

Thanks in part to Bike San Diego’s electoral work, candidates in the city’s fall mayoral election competed with one another over who was more bike-friendly. Three out of four released a bike plan during the race, and the new mayor now regularly touts the importance bicycling for the city.

The organization initiated and helped with the launch of the city’s first open streets event, CicloSDias. BikeSD was also instrumental in getting the city to adopt pro-bikeway design guidelines by becoming a member of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO). And the metropolis has momentum to put bike friendly improvements in place soon: BikeSD led efforts to approve $200 million in regional funding for urban bike projects along key corridors.

Advocate of the Year – Nelle Pierson

Pierson’s passion for human-to-human connection has informed her exceptional outreach and programming work over four years with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. As WABA’s outreach coordinator and former events coordinator, she has brought huge events from budget to after-party and, most recently, designed and established the highly successful Women & Bicycles program. This new program is transforming the conversation about women and bicycling in the DC region by bringing in new riders and advocates through peer-to-peer networking.

Business Advocate of the Year – Kaiser Permanente

This insurance and health care provider approaches health from a holistic perspective, defining wellbeing as daily experience that reaches beyond the doctor’s office and into neighborhood streets and everyday transportation. Over the course of 2013, Kaiser Permanente invested countless staff time and well over a $1 million to expand health outreach and advocacy in the interest of public health. It initiated the innovative Every Body Walk Collaborative, an effort among diverse organizational partners — including America Walks, the Alliance and many state and local walking advocacy organizations — to galvanize the national walking movement. Thanks to its support, America Walks convened the first annual National Walking Summit in Washington, DC, and Advocacy Advance — a partnership between the League of American Bicyclists and Alliance for Biking & Walking — added staff and workshops to strengthen local walking advocacy.

Winning Campaign of the Year – Transportation Alternatives for Citi Bike

Its behind-the-scenes work might not have made major headlines, but Transportation Alternatives’ research, lobbying, and grassroots organizing was integral to the launch of the United States’ largest bike share system. The organization worked for years on the successful campaign, which came to fruition in 2013 after a series of false starts and software troubles.

After a bumpy start, Citi Bike has stolen New Yorkers’ hearts. The system’s presence in trendsetting New York has also made bicycling a regular part of the cultural conversation: “bike share blue” was the most popular color on the runway during 2013 Fashion Week, a Citi Bike rack graced a cover of The New Yorker, and the bikes made their small-screen debut in a new Comedy Central show.

Susie Stephens Joyful Enthusiasm Award – Laura Solis

This award commemorates Alliance co-founder Susie Stephens, honoring her passion for biking and walking as fun and economical means of transportation. This year the award goes to Laura Solis, who brings her enthusiasm for bicycle advocacy to a dizzying array of activities: she currently serves as volunteer outreach coordinator at WE Bike NYC, is an active member of the Transportation Alternatives Bronx Committee, volunteers with Boogie Down Rides, and is the development and community outreach manager at Bike New York.

If it involves bicycles in New York City, Laura is there. Her enthusiasm and kindness have the ability to make cycling new again for experienced riders, and to make it accessible for new riders. Laura has an especially strong passion for spreading bicycling among women from low-income communities and her home borough, the Bronx.

Bicycling Magazine People’s Choice Award – Bike East Bay for bike access on BART

This award, a new category in 2014, is given to a state or local bike advocacy organization in recognition of exemplary work to improve bicycling. It is only fitting that the winner decided by popular vote on Bicycling.com was a campaign to bring better bicycling connectivity to one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country: the San Francisco Bay.

The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) began service in 1972 with no provision for access by bicyclists — and, sure enough, the East Bay Bicycle Coalition was founded that same year with the specific goal of gaining bicycle access. Early efforts provided limited successes, but it wasn’t until 2013 that a coalition of Bay Area advocates teamed up to convince BART to authorize pilot programs for full bicycle access. Thanks to the advocacy efforts of the newly rechristened Bike East Bay, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and Bikes on Board, these pilots resulted in winter 2013 decision to finally allow bicycles onboard BART at all hours.

Thanks to the successful campaign, Bay Area residents are able to traverse the region with their trusty steeds in tow at all hours.

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