Perspectives: Bike Share and Built Environment (February 2016)
Sara Merz, Director
We are thrilled that the Raleigh City Council had a thoughtful discussion of bike share yesterday, led by Council Member Bonner Gaylord, also an AHA Board member. Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson represented AHA, WakeUP Wake County and other supporters of bike share, with a Bike Share Poem that I just loved.
The Raleigh Council will continue the conversation in a work session in March, which would let them move forward soon enough to use time-limited federal funds, available until April 1.
If approved, Raleigh would join more than 70 cities across the country including Charlotte, Chicago, NY, Minneapolis/St. Paul…and Chattanooga, Indianapolis, and my birthplace of Fargo, North Dakota.
The Raleigh Council will continue the conversation in a work session in March, which would let them move forward soon enough to use time-limited federal funds, available until April 1. Keep your supportive comments coming – if you live in Raleigh talk with your council member, or sign here this petition. These talking points may be helpful.
Thanks to all the AHA partners who reached out to Council members and attended the meeting to show support for Raleigh Bike Share.
Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson, a long-time bike-ped and greenways advocate, asked Raleigh City Council members for their support of Raleigh Bike Share.
There are other good things happening in terms of built environment changes. CAMPO has passed a Safe Routes to School policy, which means the elected leaders in Wake County are strongly supportive of connecting our schools to our communities, and supporting walking and biking among those students who are already nearby. Some of this is long-term work, but it is moving forward.
Mayor Sears of Holly Springs is doing great work with “connectivity“—putting in sidewalks and requiring that new subdivisions connect with schools, and each other. And towns across Wake County are doing this. See our Toolkit.
Schools in the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) have some incredible examples of schools integrating “brain breaks” and collaborative learning spaces. These two things mean kids move more during the day, which has been shown to increase academic achievement and decrease disciplinary issues. I was just at Fuller Elementary, a gifted and talented magnet school in downtown Raleigh during the Raleigh Chamber’s Leadership Raleigh education day. I was so impressed to see that kids walk outside before school starts, and how much movement was incorporated into their school day. The kids were also tuned in to their lessons.
WCPSS is taking great leadership on gardens, and we’ve been working with them on resources so that leaders who want to start an edible school garden have some clear steps. Coming soon!
No wonder Wake County is growing—there are great things happening.