Friday, May 10, 2013

More Phoenix murals and a bike advocacy update

Because I spent the better part of this month preparing my final projects for the end of spring semester, I did very little blogging.  When I wasn't ironing my husband clothes (he cooks, I iron), or writing for a class, I was out there doing bike advocacy with the other Phoenix Spokes People.  On occasion, I went out to dinner.  Our new favorite place for Mexican food is the Barrio Café on 16th Street, near the corner of Thomas.  I can't believe we have lived so close by and never tried Barrio Café before April.  Anyway, I noticed they have some really amazing murals on the side and rear of the building.  I mean really amazing.  Here are just a few:

Just a small section of this wall.  So beautiful

So while you are enjoying the art, let me tell you how showing up and advocating for what you want and need pays off.  The City of Phoenix's initial proposed budget for bike infrastructure was $50,000.  Well, we at Phoenix Spokes People knew that just wasn't enough.  Tucson, our neighbor to the south, and a much smaller city, ranks fifth in the nation at per capita funding and Phoenix currently doesn't even come in within the top 20!  So we went to all of the City Manager's Trial Budget meetings and asked for more money for bike infrastructure and talked about how bike infrastructure supports economic development and makes bicycling a viable transportation option for all our citizens, including those who for whatever reason do not own a car.  I personally attended about four meetings, spoke at all of them and attended two or three city sponsored bike events.

We also talked with our elected officials one-to-one to let them know about our experiences biking in Phoenix and offered to partner on projects supporting bike infrastructure.  We sent letters, a petition and an informational packet supporting our requests.

Insanely creative!
Looks like our perseverance paid off.  The City Manager's Proposed Budget upped bike infrastructure funding from $50,000 to $1.5 million!  Will we get all that?  We don't know but we certainly aren't done making our case.  We've come to far to get lazy.  There are many competing interests, including a few that prefer the status quo.  We are grateful for a Mayor, City Council and City Manager that listened to what we wanted and who were actually pretty enthusiastic about incorporating more bicycle infrastructure in our city's transportation plans.

Nothing beats a dress for beating the heat. 
This is what I'll probably wear for next Friday's group ride.
So, if you work downtown or just want to enjoy a morning group ride, make plans to attend the International Bike to Work Day group ride on Friday, May 17 at 7 a.m.  City Bike Coordinator Joe Perez is leading the ride, which starts at the Jamba Juice at Park Central in Midtown and takes us to City Hall.  We'll end the ride with a pot luck breakfast so pack a little something to share.  Invite a friend who is interested in riding her bike more but unsure of how to get started.   We'll provide plenty of inspiration.

That Sunday, May 19 you could also make plans to attend the May meeting of Phoenix Spokes People, at the Phoenix Bike Lab, 740. W. Grant (NE corner of Grant and 9th Avenue).  We get started at 5 p.m. and we're doing an appetizer and dessert pot luck (we cyclist love our food!).  Don't worry if you don't have a bike yet or can't pedal that far from your home.  Drive your car - it happens!  We  just want you to show up.