Hello, my name is Tim Brackett and, aside from being a board member on streets.mn, I am also serving in the MN Greencorps this year and my host site is the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN). One of my roles at BikeMN is to coordinate Bikeable Community Workshops (BCWs). These BCWs are an important tool to help communities in Minnesota become more bike friendly, and I am writing here to highlight the program for the streets.mn community.
BCWs have been going strong in Minnesota for a decade now. These workshops are coordinated and facilitated through a partnership between BikeMN and the Minnesota Departments of Health (MDH) and Transportation (MnDOT). At a BCW, local and regional staff, community leaders, and local bike champions are trained on strategies they can use to create a more bike friendly community. Through discussions, presentations, and an on-bike mobile workshop, participants assess and evaluate their community’s current bicycle friendly efforts and facilities, and work together to create a personalized community action plan. Typical workshop participants include public health practitioners, engineers, planners, school administrators, elected officials, community leaders, and local advocates.
“The Bikeable Community Workshop came at the perfect time for the community of Fergus Falls. They had just started the development of a bicycle and pedestrian plan, and the BCW was an integral part of helping the community prioritize the policies and projects that ended up in the plan.”
–Wayne Hurley, Director of Transportation Planning, West Central Initiative, City of Fergus Falls
We know that 2022 is the time for action! The pandemic has changed how communities view and value transportation. In response to social distancing efforts, biking and walking replaced many vehicle trips for both commuting and leisure. As we rebuild our systems, making it convenient for people to bike and walk is an opportunity to develop safe, healthy and more resilient communities.
This year, Bikeable Community Workshops will be held via a two-session hybrid format. The first session will be virtual for every community, and will occur during late-April or early-May of 2022. Individual communities will be able to choose from a morning, afternoon or evening time slot for this virtual session.
The second session will be specific to individual communities and can be held virtually or in-person, depending on your preference and current Covid guidance. This session will include a community bike ride and audit, as well as creation of an action plan to make individual communities more bike friendly. These second sessions will occur in May and June of 2022.
The first step to hosting a Bikeable Community Workshop is to assemble a team – a few friends or professional acquaintances in your community who have a similar passion for biking. Next, your new team will want to review the 2022 BCW Planning Guide. This planning guide is available for download at bikemn.org/bcw. After you have reviewed the 2022 BCW planning guide, reach out to the 2022 BCW Coordinator with any follow-up questions at email@example.com. The final step in the process of having your community selected to host a 2022 Bikeable Community Workshop is to apply. The 2022 BCW applications are due January 31st.
Have fun riding in 2022!
Disclaimer: The author of this post is a Minnesota Greencorps member serving at BikeMN, and also serves on the board of streets.mn.