Bike Walk Mississippi goes to Washington!
Delegates from Mississippi attended the 2011 Bike Summit in D.C where we spent the week meeting, learning from and collaborating with bike and pedestrian advocates from across the country. This year at the Summit, the Mississippi delegation included: Melody Moody, (BWM’s Executive Director), James Moore, (Vice- President of the Board for BWM and Owner of Moore’s Bike Shop in Hattiesburg), and Jeff Peel, (BWM Board Member, Tupelo native and Staff of the League of American Bicyclists). The Mississippi delegation took to Capitol Hill on Thursday, March 10thwhere we were able to meet with legislative staff from the offices of Senator’s Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran and Representative’s Nunnelee and Palazzo.
The National Bike Summit was a chance for members of Bike Walk Mississippi to learn from and collaborate with Bike and Pedestrian advocates from across the nation. Our own James Moore, (BWM Board Member) helped lead the “First Timers Orientation” to equip advocates with a relevant message for our elected officials. In addition to preparing for our ‘ask’ on Capitol hill, the Mississippi delegation attended seminars on “Active Transportation and Social and Economic Equity” (We believe in ensuring all communities and low income neighborhoods benefit from safe, affordable and accessible transportation options connecting them to jobs and economic opportunity). Knowing that Businesses are the key to what we are promoting, Mississippi delegates learned about “The Impact of Corporate investment in creating Bikeable communities”.Stay tuned right here to learn more about how Bike Walk Mississippi is working with both the business community and low-income communities to educate and advocate for a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly state!
Through our partnership with the League of American Bicyclists and America Bikes, we presented the message to Congress that in this economy, “bikes mean business”! In an effort to show the positive impact that biking and pedestrian projects have on communities and businesses in Mississippi, the Mississippi delegation shared with Congress examples from around the state. Specifically, James Moore, Owner of Moore’s bike shop showed the increase that the creation of the Longleaf Trace (through Transportation Enhancement funds) brought to his business in Hattiesburg. “The similar increases in business experienced by other small employers along the 41 mile trail route show a suddenly attractive return on investment” (James Moore). Mr. Moore was also able to paint a picture in our meetings about the future efforts to extend the Trace into downtown Hattiesburg further increasing the city’s development. He states, “The same Transportation Enhancement investments that have driven my business for a decade will soon be the primary engine that drives the economic prosperity of Downtown Hattiesburg”.
You can see James Moore’s full article on the League of American Bicyclist’s blog here!
We understand that we are in a time where Congress is working to cut programs and save taxpayers money; therefore we want to show that in these tough economic times, bike and pedestrian projects are a fiscally responsible choice! We must invest in solutions that solve multiple problems while working to increase our quality of life! When we were in D.C., we did not ask for increased funding but instead our “ask” to Congress was that continued dedicated funding for programs such as Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to Schools and the Recreational Trails Program will help the state of Mississippi create jobs, increase economic development, health and so much more!
We know that in Mississippi, increased biking and walking allows a multifaceted solution to:
- Fight Obesity (Still #1 in the Country),
- Create Jobs
(Studies show that bike lane projects can create twice as many jobs per dollar as road resurfacing projects)
- Provide an alternate transportation option in an age of rising gas prices (Mississippi spends the biggest percentage of our wages on gas)
- Empowers communities
(Using biking and walking for transportation AND recreation) and Increase Tourism
Here is an great PDF of how federal funding affects biking and walking in Mississippi: HERE
If you’d like to see videos of some of the presentations from the 2011 Bike Summit, we have included them here:
- Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood:
- Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC DOT Commissioner:
- Robin Schepper, Executive Director of “Let’s Move Campaign”:
- Earl Blumenauer (Oregon) at the Closing of the Summit:
- Congressional Bike Ride: http://www.streetfilms.org/national-bike-summit-2011-ride/