This week is the National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. and to shine the spotlight on the progress and victories of the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy movement, the Alliance for Biking & Walking has announced its 2012 Advocacy Award winners.
Since 2009, the Alliance has solicited public nominations and recognized the individuals, organizations and business leaders who are propelling the People Powered Movement. This year, the Alliance honored the following winners:
Advocacy Organization of the Year: WalkBoston
Nearly all Americans walk on a daily basis, but very few consider themselves pedestrians. Organizing and advocating for this often-overlooked constituency – which is dramatically overrepresented in roadway fatalities – is challenging but critical work. Since its founding in 1990, WalkBoston has led the way, not just locally, but on the national level, as well. In Boston, the organization’s long list of accomplishments includes a wealth of infrastructure and policy victories, as well as successful public events.
In 2011, WalkBoston launched its "Good Walking is Good Business" campaign, which highlighted the economic benefits of walkable communities, and distributed 40,000 copies of a federally funded research project to develop and test innovative tools to engage underrepresented populations in the planning process. Despite WalkBoston’s tireless work and national leadership, the small staff is generous with its time and expertise, ever willing to share best practices with other organizations and engage with national advocacy groups in a way that benefits people who walk, not just in Boston, but in communities across the continent.
Advocate of the Year: Eric Rogers, BikeWalkKC
The campaigns may change, but in Kansas City, Missouri, one thing remains the same. "If you show up for an advocacy effort," one nomination summed up, "there’s one guy you will always see — and that’s Eric Rogers." Rogers’ long-standing involvement at the state and local level has earned him a reputation as both a passionate advocacy leader for the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, and trusted, go-to expert on bike-ped issues for policymakers of all stripes.
While he chairs the Kansas City Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee and serves as the executive director of BikeWalkKC, Rogers spends countless hours attending hearings and meetings across the region; working behind the scenes to keep advocates updated; and improving critical education and encouragement programs like the KC Car-Free Challenge and KC Safer Routes. As one city council member attested in her nomination: "Eric has been a constant, persistent, passionate voice in the oversight of private developments and city infrastructure services, speaking out for sidewalks, bike lanes and routes, driver education, defined trails and safe crosswalks." And, in the true spirit of genuine, selfless advocacy, Rogers never expects recognition beyond the legacy of his own good works.
Business Advocate of the Year: CLIF Bar
With its innovative 2 Mile Challenge, CLIF Bar continued to raise awareness about the power and possibility of biking for transportation in 2011, spurring thousands of people to log their trips on the website that tracked metrics like miles pedaled, car trips avoided and carbon dioxide saved. In line with its commitment to active transportation, CLIF Bar donated $100,000 to the three nonprofits leading the charge in the 2 Mile Challenge, including the Alliance for Biking & Walking and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.
CLIF Bar also helped with financial support to allow Bicycle Times and its sister magazine—Dirt Rag—to be printed on recycled paper.
Winning Campaign of the Year: Bike Delaware
Despite lean economic times, Bike Delaware did the nearly unthinkable in 2011—advocated for and won $5 million in new, dedicated state dollars for biking and walking projects and programs. With a tiny budget, the advocacy organization pioneered new ground in statewide bike-ped advocacy with its "Walkable, Bikeable Delaware" campaign, not only securing critical funding, but also cultivating key relationships at the state capitol and working with the Delaware Department of Transportation on the state’s first State Trails and Pathways Plan.
Best Practices: League of Illinois Bicyclists
The Best Practices Award goes to an organization that serves as a model for other bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations. In 2011, the League of Illinois Bicyclists played a critical role in the effort to preserve dedicated funding for biking and walking in the next federal transportation bill. Executing a model campaign that utilized relevant data and engaged of local elected officials, the Illinois advocates expertly capitalized on years spent cultivating relationships with members of Congress to to win pivotal support from Republican Representative Tim Johnson. And the LIB didn’t just build bridges on Capitol Hill – the statewide organization also worked with local groups, like the Active Transportation Alliance, showcasing the importance and power of effective partnerships.
Susie Stephens Joyful Enthusiasm Award: Julia Field
This award commemorates Alliance co-founder, Susie Stephens, honoring her passion for biking and walking as fun, economical means of transportation. The parallels between Susie and Julia are many. As one nomination pointed out: "Like Susie, Julia knows that people want to do good things—sometimes they just need ideas and cheerleading." As the founder of Undriving, Julia established an artistic, energetic and effective program that empowers citizens to reimagine their travel habits in ways that protect the planet and improve community health. The positive power of the Undriving concept has earned Field recognition, not just in Seattle, but across the U.S. and beyond. If Susie were still with us, we know she’d be wielding her Undriving license with pride!
Innovation Award: BikeTexas
The Innovation Award goes to an organization that’s pioneering or inventing new ways to promote biking and walking – and BikeTexas continues to cultivate new and effective models in working effectively with the full spectrum of political perspectives and community stakeholders. Thanks in part to its traveling bicycle fleet, BikeTexas has organized rides with policymakers, agency staff and nonprofit organizations that have cultivated important political relationships and built bridges with new constituencies, including a 2011 President’s Award from the state NAACP for "going above and beyond the call of duty to develop interest in biking and green benefits from biking in the African American Community."