Praise Bike Lane Development Organization for Engaging Underrepresented Communities

Target: Martha Roskowski, Director of Green Lane Project

Goal: Recognize and commend bike lane development organization for its inclusion of low-income and minority community members in its recent Summit on Bike Lanes and Equity.

With the recent introduction of large-scale bike-share programs in New York and Chicago, bicycles are becoming an increasingly prevalent alternative form of transportation in urban environments. However, often overlooked is the historical association between the introduction of bicycle traffic lanes and gentrification, which is a threat to low-income or minority residents whose neighborhoods are selected for the addition of bike lanes. In light of this, the recent Summit on Bike Lanes and Equity is commendable in that it specifically engaged underrepresented members of the community in the discussion on the potential effects of additional bicycling lanes in their neighborhoods.

In America, bicycle lane lobbyists are commonly portrayed as young, white, and upper-middle class. The introduction of bike lanes often spells distress for low-income residents who live on streets targeted for bike lane additions and fear being forced from their homes by imminent rising costs of living that follow when business or residences that target stereotypical bike riders move in. On May 15 and 16, however, a conglomeration of city officials, professionals, and leaders from several cities in the United States met in Austin, Texas in order to meet members of low-income communities targeted for the development of bike lanes. The purpose of the summit was to open a dialogue with members of the communities about the nature of bicycling and the effects of bicycle lanes in their neighborhoods. In particular, the officials listened to community feedback and reassured the residents of the health, social, and economic benefits of biking to individuals and communities as a whole.

The summit was considered a success by several quoted sources, and officials emphasized that the planning and development process of additional bike lanes would remain transparent and open to community feedback. This summit is an example of an appropriate urban planning situation: too often, minorities and low-income residents are ignored in favor of eminent domain or economic progress. By signing this petition, you will recognize The Green Lane Project for its commitment to improving the quality of life of all citizens and recognizing the importance of community involvement in urban development.

PETITION LETTER

Dear Ms. Roskowski,

I would like to thank you and your organization, Green Lane Project, for the May 15-16 Summit on Bike Lanes and Equity in Austin, Texas. Your organization is commendable in its emphasis on community partnership in order to achieve better alternative transportation methods in cities across America. Too often, municipalities in the pursuit of “progress” overlook minority and low-income residents instead of considering the potential effects of urban design on all involved.

Green Lane Project stands out in its inclusion of underrepresented residents in urban planning, while simultaneously advancing America’s growing acceptance of bicycles as an increasingly feasible alternative method of transportation. Thank you for your organization’s commitment to community participation and cooperation.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Elvert Barnes via Flickr

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