It's news to me. The Boise Weekly is reporting a first-ever meeting in late May of the Boise Bicycle Congress. The apparent objective is to gather cyclists from disparate interest groups, with a common purpose of "advocacy."
The motives for people attending, other than beer and pizza, were diverse, according to the article. "For some, it was disappointment with what they considered toothless laws or absent infrastructure. For others, it was the lack of a decent bike map. What united them was their frustration that despite Boise being thick with bike organizations, there was little advocacy."
Apparently the bicycle organizations are focused on their specific interests - recreational mountain biking, racing, bike recycling, etc. I always thought of the Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance (WEBSITE) as an advocacy organization, but apparently they "aren't interested in advocacy, only in community events." A more recent group - the Idaho Pedestrian and Bicycle Alliance (WEBSITE) seems to be picking up momentum, and in fact the article says that the director of that group chaired the event. (It also says she's moving away.)
IMO, part of the challenge (for people trying to gather the troops) is that cycling isn't really all that bad in these parts. In fact, our situation would be envied by cyclists in most places. Yeah, there are some streets that take some courage to navigate. And there are some Neanderthals out roaming the streets, that could benefit from some "eye-opening" in the form of education or enforcement. But they are the exceptions, rather than the rule.
Strength in numbers. If one or two voices in the wilderness are crying out for stepped-up enforcement or education or bike lanes, it's not as likely to garner attention, as if somebody can tell ACHD or the Boise Police, "I represent 2000 voting, taxpaying bike riders, and we feel..." So I'm supportive of an active advocacy group. (Whether I'd rather spend time going to group meetings or riding my bike? That's another story! For me and most cyclists, I would reckon.) I guess we'll see what shakes out.
(Did you attend the organizational meeting? If so... what happened? Anything?)
This definitely has potential. We do need an organization that not represents the bike riding public (and I mean all including recreational riders, families, kids, disabled, commuters, etc.). We'll attending the meeting this Weds.
Citizens for an Open Greenbelt
It's a Boise thing. There is a group, organization, informational presentation, public input gathing event, educational mailer, huge media campaign and general yakkity yak for lots of things non-car in Boise and the Treasure Valley. However, the car mentality sits on the highest limb and is there to stay. The Treasure Valley tax dollars are destined for the cars.
Sometimes, it makes me want to cry.
I was a high school kid in Philly where we could get anywhere we wanted sans drivers license. A few years ago I visited the netherlands and was amazed at the alternative transportation network.
Upon my retirn to my Garden City home, I found a few post cards about workshops and events sponsored by valley ride and compas, but no climate for any ttransportation that didn't have four tires and steering wheel. More lanes, more parking spaces, more drive-thrus. It is the Idaho way.
However, on a lighter note - I think we are seeing more brave two-wheeled souls grace our streets every day. Soldier on ye handlebar heroes! Alternative transportation in the Treasure Valley is like BSU football in the BCS - you have to play the long game over decades to see the progress.
Keep up the good work.
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