Action Needed – In Defense of Cityplan

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Write city council today  at cityleaders@fcgov.com and ask them to support the full Cityplan (see bottom for suggested language)

 

The City of Fort Collins is guided by a principle called the “triple bottom line.” TBL is a balancing and integration of social, environmental, and economic health and sustainability. It’s a powerful way of looking at community health and values and has a number of implications. In particular, it is designed to foster innovative cross-sector partnerships to help tackle complex challenges. I love TBL as a framework because active transportation advocacy sits comfortably at the center of all of those overlapping interests.

sustainable TBL

It also serves as a reminder of how interconnected our social, environmental, and economic health are. Our businesses need a healthy workforce and consumers to grow and thrive. At the same time, our growth has to be well-planned and inclusive to minimize congestion, pollution, workforce and talent flight, and increased social segregation.

Its easy to be complacent in Fort Collins when so many quality of life measures are strong and healthy. We’re a platinum bike-friendly community and regularly make the short list of great places to live, go to college, start a new business, and raise a family. This complacency might go a long way towards answering the puzzling question of why-only months after the 2016 presidential election, amid a dramatic burst of activism and civic engagement around the country-our recent city council election turnout was the lowest in 20 years.

But complacency is dangerous, and growth and prosperity breed a tension between who we have always been and where our current policies and planning are steering us.

If you believe, like most Fort Collins residents, that congestion, lack of affordability, pollution, and sprawl are pressing threats, complacency should cause you concern. If you believe in building a safe community for kids to roam and grow up, and for seniors to stay active and engaged as they age, complacency is a profound danger. If you believe that working families should be able to live and play in the city their labor supports, complacency is an anchor and the time for action is now. And that action can begin by asking our city council to fully commit to Cityplan.

 

Fort Collins’ planning department is among the best anywhere (of note: the Colorado Chapter of the American Planning Association has recently selected the Fort Collins Downtown Plan as a recipient of the 2017 APA Colorado Honor Award). They encompass a spectrum of values and experience as diverse as the city itself, from folks who’ve been here for years and know every curb cut and stormwater retention basin from memory, to young professionals attuned to emerging ideas and best practices for urban sustainability.

Last fall, during the city budget process, these committed planners proposed a visionary and ambitious update to our city plan. This plan would be different from previous plans in a few important ways: first, it would integrate our city master plan, transportation plan, and transit plan updates into one process. This would provide a better result and provide for a robust conversation about the relationships among those individual elements. It was also intended to include a greatly increased commitment to equity, inclusion, and community health and wellness. “Cityplan” was approved as part of the 2017-2018 budget, RFPs were sent, contracts were prepared.

Things hit a snag at a council work session in May, when city staff presented the proposed plan to council and a number of questions arose. Specific concerns vary depending on who you ask, but they include a sense from council members that the proposed update reinvents the wheel, shoehorns in initiatives that are outside the appropriate scope of a city plan process, or simply that the existing plan is working and the current proposal is overkill.

The future of the plan as originally conceived was cast into doubt and talk began of reductions in scale on the order of 35-40 percent. By some accounts, the reduction in scope is likely to trim the plan to a nuts-and-bolts land use and transportation policy guide. It will almost certainly require walking back prioritization of equity and inclusion (the challenging, time consuming, but critical work of engaging historically marginalized populations in planning processes that have such a profound impact on their access to health and opportunity.)

It should be clear to anyone in Fort Collins that we’re rapidly changing. Some of our challenges are conventional growing pains associated with the transition from a big town to a small city. But we also face tough questions about the future of energy and transportation technology. Our stubborn commitment to an unsustainable transportation status quo belies a lack of genuine resolve in tackling our climate action goals.  And socially, we face an urgent, time-sensitive need for thoughtful consideration of how to integrate long neglected neighborhoods into our regional prosperity without driving out long-time residents.

Fort Collins is still in a tentative and precarious phase of adopting a true triple bottom line vision of community sustainability. How do we “bake in” inclusion and equity (a word that does not appear in the last iteration of city plan from 2011)? How do we measure and internalize them with shared language, metrics, and concrete policies, like we have for economic health and climate action plan?

Our city plan isn’t simply about surveys and prescriptions. It’s a community-wide conversation–a dialogue about how to align our policies and budgets with our long-term vision. It’s an opportunity for leaders and planners to learn about and inform community values. It’s a conversation about what what kind of Fort Collins our children will inherit, a conversation that has not always engaged all voices equally. It’s a manifesto for how we grow and who is welcome here. And this update is a timely response to the constellation of challenges on the horizon. It asks, “How do we get there from here?”

Fort Collins faces growth challenges that are formidable. But we also have a city council that is engaged, accessible, and responsive. We have planners and staff who are dedicated and capable. And we have a proposal on the table for a plan update that is the ambitious, comprehensive process that our children need and deserve.

No one, least of all Bike Fort Collins, presumes to have all the answers to affordability, sustainable living wages, displacement, and fostering inclusive and representative leadership. But if the City of Fort Collins began to take the same pride in social entrepreneurship and innovation that it takes in green tech, we could be a national pioneer, and make huge strides in resilience. We are a big enough city that these challenges have real consequences for thousands of people, but small enough that–with courage–we can change course more nimbly than a massive urban center.

There is no more urgent priority for Fort Collins in 2017 than robust and inclusive long-term planning that manifests our triple bottom line commitment to sustainability. With that in mind, Bike Fort Collins invites our partners and supporters to join us in asking our city leaders (cityleaders@fcgov.com) to reconsider scaling back the plan update, and honor the hard work and expertise that have served us so well for so long. Let’s have a community-wide conversation about where we’re headed, and make sure everyone is invited and heard.


 

 

write cityleaders@fcgov.com

Dear City Leaders,

With congestion, pollution, growth, affordability, and sprawl looming on the horizon as long term challenges to keeping Fort Collins great. I urge you to invest in the full Cityplan proposal. Cityplan is not just about buildings and codes. It is a manifesto for our values and an opportunity for a community wide conversation about our identity and long term vision.

Our city planners are outstanding professionals, with a deep understanding of our past and the necessary vision to help us built a resilient future.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” – Jane Jacobs

Signed,

(name)

(council district)

Unicorns and Scorpions: Win Sweet Swag with Fort Collins Bike Share and Kaiser Permanente!

94_(FB Ad) Rider Giveaway Program

 

Have you heard?! Fort Collins Bike Share is teaming up with Kaiser Permanente to bring you yet another incentive program to participate in this summer!

 

The Ride All Summer Prize Giveaway program is now in its second month! There are two ways to participate:

 

  1. If you check out one of our bikes anytime between now and Labor Day, you’ll be entered to win our grand prize giveaway! All you have to do is grab a bike and enjoy your ride! One special winner and 5 runner-ups will be announced Friday, September 29th.
  2. The top 5 riders of each month, June through August, will win some sweet swag. Top riders are determined by the number of total hours ridden. (Remember, riders who hold membership passes get free ride time built in – 1 hour on weekdays; 2 hours on weekends – we recommend getting a head start by taking advantage of membership pricing!)

 

June’s top 5 riders have already been announced on our webpage! Congrats Daniel D., Rob V., Melissa H., Olivia C., and Ian J.! Special thanks to Topo Designs for providing last month’s special prize giveaway!

 

FAQ

Who can participate?

Anybody who is 18 or older and has established an account with our bike share at bike.zagster.com/fortcollins can participate. (You can also download the Zagster app on the Apple or Google Play stores.) Our bike share’s medical insurance policy doesn’t cover children and adolescents, therefore we are only able to rent bikes to adults age 18 and older.

 

How will we contact you?

We will contact you directly via the email associated with your account, so be sure to check it frequently!

 

When will I be notified if I’ve won?

For the top 5 rider of the month promotion, we’ll send you an email within two weeks of the month’s end. For the grand prize giveaway, we’ll send you an email on Friday, September 29th.

 

Are winners announced publicly?

Yes, all winners are announced publicly on our webpage, Facebook, and Instagram  – we’ll use your first name and last initial to identify you. Grand prize winners will be announced on Friday, September 29th; top 5 riders of the month will be announced within two weeks following the previous month’s end.

 

What will the prizes be?

The prize of the month will be announced on our webpage for our top 5 rider giveaway. Stay tuned for our grand prize giveaway announcement coming soon!

 

You’ve got me hooked! I’m psyched! How do I tag you on all of my adventures?

Awe, shucks! You’re too sweet! You can use #fcbikeshare to let us know where the Zagster cruiser bikes end up this summer. Goofy selfies and/or creative bike routes are highly encouraged!

 

Volunteer stands by helmet info sign at VFC office.
Volunteer stands by helmet info sign at VFC office.

Okay enough internet-ing! Now I just want to go out and RIDE! But wait – first things first –  I need to protect my noggin!

Glad you mentioned it. I’ll answer your enthusiasm with a question – did you know that you can purchase a helmet for just $5 at Visit Fort Collins? That’s right – you can BUY, not rent, your own nutcase-style helmet from our friends at the local tourism office in Old Town Square.

 

Visit Fort Collins

19 Old Town Square, Suite 137

Fort Collins, CO 80524

 

Hours:

Mon – Thu: 8:30 – 5

Fri: 8:30 – 7

Sat: 11 – 7

Sun: 11 – 5

 

Toll free phone

1-800-274-3678

Local phone

1-970-232-3840

 

One last question – what has Fort Collins Bike Share been up to since Bike To Work Day / Bike From Work Bash?

Amongst other projects and events, we’ve been filming to promote the Ride All Summer Prize Giveaway! A totally wacky promo video is coming your way soon!! Special thanks to Chris and Jamaal from FC Public Media for all your hard work helping us get started!

Chris waits for Angela to return from taking B roll footage of alley riding.
Chris waits for Angela to return from taking B roll footage of alley riding.
Jamal and Chris look at bike share bike ridden by Angela, off screen.
Jamal and Chris look at bike share bike ridden by Angela, off screen.
Jamal and Chris ride in the foreground; Angela and Michelle lag behind, chatting.
Jamal and Chris ride in the foreground; Angela and Michelle lag behind, chatting.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with these behind-the-scene gems! Check out the GoPro camera-mounted rig FC Public Media built us out of PVC pipe! We think it looks like a unicorn and a scorpion…but maybe that’s just our imagination running wild 😉

Lauren tests out the range with the scorpion camera rigging before taking her ride.
Lauren tests out the range with the scorpion camera rigging before taking her ride.

 

Stacy takes a photo of (from near to far) Jamal, Lauren, Michelle, Chris, and Angela.
Stacy takes a photo of (from near to far) Jamal, Lauren, Michelle, Chris, and Angela.
Stacy and Lauren are barely visible in this picture showing Angela and Michelle bringing up the rear.
Stacy and Lauren are barely visible in this picture showing Angela and Michelle bringing up the rear.
Chris adjusts the scorpion camera rigging for Jamal's ride.
Chris adjusts the scorpion camera rigging for Jamal’s ride.
Chris adjusts rigging on Angela's bike, left, while Lauren waits patiently to ride.
Chris adjusts rigging on Angela’s bike, left, while Lauren waits patiently to ride.
Chris adjusts the unicorn camera rig before Angela's ride.
Chris adjusts the unicorn camera rig before Angela’s ride.

 

And keep an eye out…..Bike Prom is coming up! (with another chance to ‘scavenge’ some prizes!)

July Letter from the ED – Dispatches from Madison

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Cool public art in Madison

Last week, while most of you and most of the Bike Fort Collins team were here in Northern Colorado enjoying what I’m told was another great Bike to Work Day, I had the honor of joining Mayor Wade Troxell, city manager Darin Atteberry, director of planning, development and transportation Laurie Kadrich, and FC Bikes program manager Tessa Greegor in Madison, WI for the first edition of PeopleforBikes’ PlacesforBikes Conference (PFB).

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The opening day consisted of a smaller Big Jump City cohort summit, with 40 or so reps from all 10 Big Jump Cities, which include New York City, Austin, Tuscon, New Orleans and Providence.  Fort Collins stood out in size (smallest by a good margin) and by demographics (at almost 90%, we were the whitest city in the room), but I was most impressed by how much the cities had in common, and how our strengths and challenges complimented each other. I’m looking forward to staying connected with their efforts and learning as well as sharing our successes. Day one wrapped up with a networking dinner at the home of Trek CEO John Burke, with an AMAZING sunset view across the lake.IMG_4637

Subsequent days brought another 250 participants from all over the US for an engaging and well curated set of workgroups and panel discussions that broke the work ahead into 4 categories: plan, build, engage, and measure.

After a huge Slow Ride from the conference to the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, we enjoyed a cocktail reception and awards dinner, where Team Fort Collins received an award for community engagement. It turns out that even without adjusting for size, Fort Collins garnered the most feedback of any Big Jump city for its community survey.  The Award also recognized all the robust and innovative community engagement tools the city, BFC and our partners have developed, from Open Streets and Project Fairs, to NoCo Bike Show and this blog, to MapNoCo and our countless community partner orgs working together to promote bicycling in NoCo.

 

BNA ScreencapOne particularly exciting development was the release of a beta version of PeopleforBikes’  Bike Network Analysis tool. This ambitious project takes bike network data to a next level by analyzing not just the amount of low stress networks and bike infrastructure, but also the overall network connectivity (how well do those routes connect to things like work and school and groceries):

 

 

 

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Troxell, Greegor, Atteberry, Johnson, Kadrich
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Mayors Panel
penn ave
What Will Phase 3 Look Like!?!?

 

Friday morning brought a Mayor’s panel, where Mayor Troxell joined the mayors of Memphis, Fort Worth, and Milwaukee to talk about the role of bikes in addressing each city’s challenges and building towards our visions. We learned a lot, and got a chance to share how many great things are going on in Fort Collins.

And importantly, we got confirmation that the concerns that Bike Fort Collins has been rallying around- transportation equity, affordability, how to change public conversations about free parking, autocentrism, and smarter growth and land use- are challenges that all of the great bike cities are talking about and strategizing around.  We all have lots to do, but there’s lot of really smart folks dedicated to making Bike Advocacy Phase 3 the most transformative era yet for active transportation.


Other notes for July

In Madison, I got word that Transfort received overwhelming pushback against its proposed realigning Route 12. If you remember, we spoke out about protecting Route 12 last month. The proposed realignment would have created a transit desert in SW Fort Collins affecting thousands of FRCC Students, people with disabilities, low income communities, and the Harmony Library.  We were glad to see the city responded to the voices of concerned communities members. Thanks to everyone who reached out.

No pictures yet, but BFC was honored last week by Biz West as a Mercury 100 Business.  That means we’re one of the 20 fastest growing businesses in our size class. It’s a great honor that as a nonprofit we have found a growth path  without compromising our values or vision. My tenure here has been challenging and has forced me to ask tough questions of myself, our board, our community supporters, the public at large and our local leaders, and we are starting to explore those questions in a way I’m proud of.  We can, of course, always use your support to keep the pedals turning.

July 15th brings the second edition of the 2nd annual Ride with Pride, our Northern Colorado Pride Fest Weekend social ride.  Last year we had a great lowkey ride and made lots of new friends.  This year we’re hoping for more of the same.  Ride leaves from the Pavillion at Fossil Creek Park at 9:00 AM Saturday.

The MapNoCo project is starting to gather a little steam, but we still need you, the bike-faithful, to help out: check out the site and add your neighborhood, sidewalks, bike lanes, hazards, etc.  This is a long term project, so its good to get a baseline now to watch progress over time.  Please consider a share on your nextdoor groups, community orgs, churches, etc.  This program has the potential to have a big impact on transportation and development policy in the future but it needs your feedback. Neighborhood level data matters!

We continue to be concerned by City Council’s direction to staff to scale back the Cityplan process. In a time when all of the significant challenges to our continued health and prosperity (from affordability to parking to congestion to carbon emissions to health equity to smart growth) are connected to land use, transportation and transit planning, we have big questions about council backing away from the commitment it made during the budget process to engage in a robust plan update with the goal of integrating land use, transportation and transit plan in to one process, address the huge cultural and technological changes since the last plan update, and commit to prioritizing a more equitable, inclusive public process to define community priorities. You can let council know that we need a real plan update.  With all of the cultural, growth and technology changes in motion right now, and our next crack at an update likely a decade away or more, we cannot afford to rollback long term planning if we want to continue to thrive.

 

Chris J Johnson

Executive Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July Featured Bike Friendly Business – Gallegos Sanitation, Inc.

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Not everyone would consider a sanitation company a good fit for a bike friendly business. However, Gallegos Sanitation (GSI) became a bronze status Bike friendly business in December 2016, due, in part, to the efforts of its Sustainability Coordinator, Becca Walkinshaw. Becca has championed the BFB initiative but she also had many other teammates within GSI who jumped at the opportunity to show their support to the bike friendly community the company serves.

 

“GSI’s leadership team supports a biking culture because it directly impacts the health and safety of our employees, the health and safety of our employees directly affects our community. GSI strives to educate our employees on the importance of being healthy and safe- at home, at work and in the community.”

 

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Getting the BFB designation in December was perfect timing for GSI’s new year’s resolution: “Walk the walk.” Start biking to work every day. Biking is not new to the employees at GSI. In Becca’s case, she loves it and has biked her whole life. But for the past several years, there have been barriers to biking consistently. When the idea of helping Gallegos become a Bike Friendly Business arose, it got Becca excited about biking again.

 

Since December, Becca has commuted by bike to work and has rediscovered her favorite part about cycling—having time to ‘zen out’ while biking, and getting to work mentally refreshed and energized. Her commute now takes about twenty minutes; and as the months go by that time is getting shorter!]

 

This is also something Becca is teaching her children. She wants them to consider biking a normal activity and wants them, and everyone, to think about biking before just jumping into a car. There is so much that can be reached by bike in Fort Collins; not to mention all the mental and physical benefits to cycling and being out in nature.

 

This commitment is important too, to show everyone in the company that biking is doable, even for a unique company with a rural setting, few customers at the location, and long hours in trucks. Gallegos employees represent a diverse demographic and not everyone is experienced in the cycling culture. However, there is a strong company pride and desire to be recognized for their efforts and contributions in the community.

 

Gallegos employees want the public to see that they care and are improving where possible. Becca had to get creative to show how this business fits into the League of American Bicyclists structure, and the most important way was to translate their high standard of safety to biking.

 

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Becca collaborated with GSI Safety Manager, Tom Clock, to make certain that Gallegos drivers knew the rules of the road for cyclists and motorists. As a company, they respect the biking culture and want to share the road with everyone safely. To that end, Gallegos Operations Managers are trained as Bike Friendly Drivers, through the city’s class series. In addition, Tom became certified as a Bike Friendly Driver educator which means he trains their drivers via the program materials.

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Gallegos’s designation as a bronze Bike Friendly Business is still new so there is a strong effort to be visible as a cyclist and biking commuter. Becca noticed that employees have begun having more conversations about biking and talk to each other about how far they ride, and what other activities are available to them; and look to more experienced cyclists as guides or mentors. She loves this change and works to normalize the biking culture in hopes that this will help reverse perceived barriers to biking.

 

“We really, as a company, respect the [biking] culture. We want to share the road with bikes and regularly communicate this with our drivers, too. So, we’re really trying hard with bike awareness and worked to truly understand what bike safety means and [can] pass it on. This is a top priority: sharing the road and sharing information; understanding how to coexist with bikes.”