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Celebrating one year of cycling success
Every year, as part of our suburban advocacy program Bike Walk Every Town, the Active Transportation Alliance offers multiple mini-stipends to individuals and groups working to improve walking and biking in the Chicagoland suburbs.
This past year, grassroots leaders from Cycle Brookfield in the western suburbs were awarded a stipend to expand their efforts to build greater community support and advance the implementation of its active transportation plan. One of the plan’s goals is creating a safer walking and biking corridor along 31st Street, which would include better access for the Brookfield Zoo.
This guest blog post by Cycle Brookfield member Terri Rivera recaps how the club has mobilized the Brookfield community and engaged elected officials during the past year. Rivera hopes these strategies can be used by other advocates interested in strengthening support for walking and biking in their community.
Cycle Brookfield is proud to be celebrating a variety of accomplishments for our first anniversary. Some of these accomplishments were made possible by receiving a $400 stipend from the Active Transportation Alliance. Here are some successes from the past year:
- Establishing the group as a 501c3, which allows the club to pursue grant funding for walking and biking projects.
- Hosting monthly Slow Roll Social Rides: an average of 20 riders participated, from new riders to older adults.
- Working closely with the Village of Brookfield to identify walking and biking projects, especially focusing on the 31st Street Corridor, from Maple to First Avenue (which would more safely connect people to the Brookfield Zoo).
- Naming club member Christopher Valadez as official ambassador on the Steering Committee for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s (CMAP) lead commission to extend the Des Plaines River Trail south through Brookfield.
The stipend from Active Trans was critical in helping promote Cycle Brookfield and raise awareness of its work in the community. The stipend helped with buying branded shirts for members to wear and sell, creating and print postcards and stickers to hand out at community events, buying a banner for events such as the farmer’s market, and purchasing the domain name cyclebrookfield.com to create a website.
Over the last year, Cycle Brookfield established a steady presence in the village by creating a Facebook page, signing people up for our email list, and by attending bi-monthly village meetings while sporting our Cycle Brookfield shirts.
We also set up tables at the weekly farmer’s market to talk with residents about the club and the importance of bike lanes and safety. The market provided the perfect forum to gather more than 300 signatures in support of a bike- and pedestrian-friendly 31st Street corridor.
The club also emphasized educating our local and federal legislators about our group and the various pending bike projects in the district. On multiple occasions, we spoke with U.S. Rep. William Lipinski. Club members also contacted U.S. Rep. Jesus Garcia’s office in support of House legislation for walking and biking infrastructure.
What’s in store for Cycle Brookfield in 2020?
- Continue working closely with the village, CMAP, and the Brookfield Zoo to establish a walking- and biking-friendly corridor on 31st Street.
- Seek funding for a bike lane potentially on Washington Ave. This major thoroughfare would connect Brookfield’s Eight Corners business district to Riverside Brookfield High School and boost access to the zoo.
- Work to fund a bike parking station in the Grand Avenue district and a bike pump and repair station at the proposed Congress Park train station.
If you’re interested in getting involved in suburban walking and biking advocacy and encouraging others to ride or walk more in your community, visit the Bike Walk Every Town webpage for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Cycle Brookfield. Top image shows a recent ride hosted by the group. Bottom image shows Rep. Lipinski (middle) with Cycle Brookfield members.
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