Big news for Bike Walk RVA: The local advocacy arm of the Sports Backers beat out eight competitors to win Bicycling Magazine’s People’s Choice Award at Tuesday night’s Advocacy Awards ceremony, presented by the Alliance for Biking & Walking. The Alliance is a national coalition of more than 200 state and local organizations that promote healthy and sustainable transportation and recreation options. This is the seventh year the Alliance has hosted the Advocacy Awards, held each year during the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C.
“Bike Walk RVA is an organization that’s been ramping up the last several years, and 2015 is shaping up to be a pivotal year in Richmond to bring bicycling to the forefront with everything from trail development to hosting the World Road Cycling Championships,” said Jeff Miller, president and CEO of the Alliance for Biking & Walking. “Bike Walk RVA’s work at bringing together different interests for the common good can be a model for the country.”
Bicycling Magazine’s webpage devoted to Bike Walk RVA’s accomplishments of 2014 clearly impressed voters.
Bike Walk RVA started 2014 the year by successfully campaigning to increase the Richmond city budget’s allocation for new bikeway and trail projects to $4.5 million (a 90-fold increase from the $50,000 in the mayor’s proposed budget). They worked closely with City Council and the Richmond community to build support for the funding increase. By the end of the year, the money was already beginning to be spent, paying for the city’s first buffered bike lanes.
Throughout 2014, Bike Walk RVA also helped drive the vision behind the city’s first Bicycle Master Plan. In October, the city adopted its first Complete Streets policy and is now moving toward implementing a bike-share system.
In Chesterfield County, Bike Walk RVA has been working on a project team with county staff to draft the Chesterfield County Bikeways and Trails Plan, which lays the groundwork for a network of 350 miles of paved shared-use paths and on-road bikeways. The plan is up for adoption later this year.
Finally, the organization launched and completed its first Bike Walk RVA Academy in the fall of 2014, a program designed to develop passionate residents into effective, empowered advocates for comfortable and connected walking and biking infrastructure in their communities. The second session is underway.