Where to start!?
Its been a particularly busy January here at BFCHQ. If you’ve been pining for the newsletter all month, wondering where the heck we went, well… we kept thinking we had this thing sewn up and then POW, another huge piece of news dropped.
Before we dive into survey results below, here’s some highlights and some time sensitive items to get on your calendar:
NoCo Bike Show is BACK!
And this one is for YOU. If youve been following along with bike culture in Fort Collins, wanting to get involved, wanting to meet like-minded people but not sure where to start, or feeling a little overwhelmed, like… maybe you don’t know the difference between Bike Fort Collins, FC Bikes, The Fort Collins Bike Co-op or the Fort Collins Cycling Club (or any of the great clubs and teams in town), please come out to Wolverine Farm Letterpress and Publick House on Thurs, Feb. 9th from 6:30-8:30 to meet the organizations, leaders, clubs, and teams that make Fort Collins the world class bike city that it is. We’ll also feature a presentation from Fort Collins adventure cyclist Matt Carnal, about his upcoming trans-Siberian race.
Pathways to Health: Call for Proposals and Save the Date!!!
Along with Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, BFC is co-hosting a professional development event for planners, public health professionals, academics, leaders, and community advocates and organizers called Pathways to Health. We have a great keynote planned, and a few surprises, but we are also seeking experts who want to share work or organize panels on the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion on research, policy and advocacy, or community engagement in transportation and built environment. https://bikefortcollins.org/pathways for RFP and more details.
Fort Collins to Take The Big Jump
On Tuesday, it was announced the Fort Collins was selected by People for Bikes as one of ten recipients of its new Big Jump grant. FC Bikes lead this application and will lead the charge. Per People for Bikes: “[Fort Collins]will be a laboratory for innovation, ultimately illustrating the ways in which U.S. cities and towns can tap into bicycles to improve the health and vitality of their communities. Each city will annually receive the equivalent of $200,000 in in technical support from PeopleForBikes to support the development of bike infrastructure and programs that encourage biking in a given neighborhood; an additional $50,000 in local matching funds from the city, community partner, or local foundations each year will also be contributed to the program.
The winning cities all demonstrated ongoing commitments to improving transportation, housing, and redevelopment, with both leaders and residents at large mobilized toward change. With the Big Jump Project, PeopleForBikes hopes to accelerate those changes through technical assistance, leadership development, and a network of peer cities and leaders.
“We want to expand the horizons for people who are doing this work in their communities.” said Wagenschutz. “By connecting people across cities doing some of the most innovative work in the U.S., we can foster an environment of collaboration yielding big results.” More here
Bike Fort Collins is looking for a Community Relations Coordinator to help us grow! Looking for a “rolleur” type type with some experience in nonprofit development, fundraising, and/or event/volunteer coordination. You’ll work closely with the ED, the Bike Share manager, and the board to strategize and implement fundraising campaigns, sponsorship opportunities, donor development and events. Check out the details here
The Results are In
Last month Bike Fort Collins put out a survey asking folks to chime and give us a little better idea who we’re reaching, what your priorities are, what programs you think are important and where you want us to go next.
We left the survey up for a month, to give everyone a chance to take it. and we’ve spent the last week pouring over the results.
I’m really proud that nearly 400 (!!!) people took the time to help shape Bike Fort Collins. And I’m also really heartened that, by and large, you think we’re headed in the right direction. The things that are important to us, as an organization, and to me personally, are remarkably similar to the priorities that mattered most to you as a community. That says to me that we have a really good relationship. Were listening to each other. And that makes me hopeful about our ability to get things done.
Who are you?
The biggest single group of respondents, at 42% is 30-45 year old. But we also got impressive participation on either side of that. All of those groups are important. Engaging younger people in advocacy is building bridges to the future. Older cyclists, on the other hand, tell us a lot about how we got here, and as the “silver tsunami” bears down on Northern Colorado, questions about aging in place and active senior living are important considerations.
Men outnumbered women, by roughly 60/40. This is a little more even distribution than most counts and surveys. There are a few ways to look at this. We already know that BFC takes women’s specific outreach really seriously in our programs and our culture. Does having a larger response from women give us some useful insights into unique barriers? It will be fun to continue to poke at the results and see.
We gave a lot of options for the self identification question, and the open answers gave us some thoughts on improving the question next year. but, over 80% of respondents identified as either bike culture nuts (30%), serious cyclists who weren’t all that interested in the culture and events (25%), or “interested but concerned” – folks who would ride more but have reservations of some sort (25%).
Geographically, the council districts with the most representation were 1 and 6, roughly Old Town and North Fort Collins. The fewest responses came from district 3- southeast Fort Collins. Again, you can draw a few different conclusions from this, either fewer people are riding in SEFC, or fewer of them are paying attention to us. Either way, we view that as an opportunity. Especially given the likelihood of a new district 3 council rep coming aboard in the spring.
What matters most to you?
We offered a list of concerns we’ve heard from the community and a scale of “very”, “moderately” and “marginally” important, “no opinion” and “don’t support”)
Items regarded as most important most often were, in order:
- Laws and policies that support smart growth (bikeable, walkable development)
- Tougher penalties for distracted driving
- More protected bike lanes and protected intersections
- Better driver education
Most of these were already high priority. I wrote a blog post last month about my reservations with using the legal system as a tool for public safety. But, the other items square with well with our priorities and I was heartened that smart growth is a top issue.
What are your concerns?
By far the most common responses to the question of “what limits your bike commuting?” were “lack of convenient, direct routes”, and “concerns about impaired or distracted drivers”. For this survey at least, “lack of workplace or school support and infrastructure” was a pretty marginal barrier.
What do you love about Bike Fort Collins?
The next question was about our programs. Which ones do you think are valuable, do you think are a waste, are you indifferent to?
Overwhelmingly, the program you thought was most important was our advocacy committee. If you were one of those folks, we have good news on that front, because next month we’re releasing our ambitious 2017 advocacy plan.
Behind advocacy, others that got top marks were:
- Safe Routes to School
- Chain Reaction (our restorative justice partnership with the city and county)
- and our Bike Friendly Business Network
Least important were rides, which was a bit of a headscratcher, since one of the most frequent comments I get from folks is that we need MORE social rides in town. But overall, in a big town full of great bike groups, its nice to get some clarity about what people value about you. I think those answers reflect the areas where we have a unique opportunity to fill an important role in the local culture.
Where do we go from here?
Next up was which upcoming initiatives are most important to you. The landslide winner here was “Regional Expansion of Safe Routes to School”, which is a goal that’s still in its infancy, but we agree that all Northern Colorado students deserves the same high quality bike and traffic safety education that we offer in Fort Collins. I always remind folks that today’s safe routes students are tomorrow’s more thoughtful drivers.
After that, the next three were
- Support for affordable housing and affordability initiatives to curb car dependency and improve access to active transportation
- Focus on connectivity between cities in NoCo
- Increase Equity, Inclusion and Diversity (EID) in transportation planning
This result in particular got me a little choked up. There have been times when talking about affordable housing or equity and diversity as a bike nonprofit leader has been a little bit of a hard sell. Finding out that they’re concerns which resonate with you, and confirming that you think Bike Fort Collins has a role in addressing them gave me wings. I believe that being a bike friendly city will require that we are an affordable, inclusive city. And so do you! (that also means we have a lot of work to do)
One last thing…
This last little morsel might interest you, particularly if you own a business, are planning to run for office, or work in real estate. Turns out a HUUUUUGE portion of you said you were “very likely to buy or rent a home based on proximity to infrastructure for cycling”, and almost as many said that support for bikes was a VERY important factor in considering candidates for local office, or making consumer purchases.
To sum it up:
We got negligibly few replies from folks who outright didn’t support our particular programs or plans. hardly anyone called us names in the comments. That obviously doesn’t mean they’re not out there, but it does mean that we had a pretty OK year (my first in charge) and we’re brimming with energy and ideas and big challenges. And most importantly, whether we’re doing a good job of listening to your concerns, or we’re doing a good job of getting our people onboard with our agenda, or a lil bit of both, I feel really great about the health of our community and organization, and I look forward to serving you in 2017 an beyond.
more bikes • safe streets • one voice