January 18, 2011

BikeWalk Alexandria is becoming the BPAC

Short answer: BikeWalk Alexandria is reorganizing into the Alexandria Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC).

Longer answer: As of the beginning of the year, BikeWalk Alexandria is no longer affiliated with the larger BikeWalk Virginia. So the core of the old organization has been working over the past
few weeks with new people, the VeloCity co-op in Old Town, and Alexandria's bike/ped coordinator on a reorganization. We're becoming the BPAC.

Our role is still pretty much the same...advocacy and support of bicycle and pedestrian transportation in Alexandria, with interlinks into adjacent communities (which in part is where I come in) and working with the city's bike/ped coordinator. Our reorganization is modeled heavily on Arlington's Bicycle Advisory Committee, with a "committee" of up to 15 voting members, although all meetings will be open to the public and the public is more than welcome to provide input and comments.

Though most of the organization composes of bicyclists, we're still including pedestrians. If there's enough interest in pedestrian issues, there's the possibility of splitting pedestrians off into their own advisory committee. Arlington already does this.

We're also changing the meeting timeframe. Previously, BikeWalk Alexandria met on the first Monday of even-numbered months, while the city's Pedestrian and Bicycle Citizens Group meetings were the first Monday of odd-numbered months. We'll be incorporating both former meetings into the new structure and also changing the week. Since the city has a tendency to "frontload" city meetings into the first week of the month, we'll be having our monthly meetings sometime during the 3rd week of the month. Tentatively Monday, though that may change depending on whether that day will work with some of the other involved entities.

Not sure what we're going to do with the website, but we'll have other online presence as well...a Facebook page (and probably a Twitter account too).

"First" meeting tentatively scheduled for Feb 15. Looking forward to it. Would be remiss if I didn't mention that I've also been nominated to serve as the new Chair.


Allen Muchnick said...

Thanks for the write-up, Chairman Froggie. I don't understand the new "Advisory Committee" name, especially since--unlike Arlington--the group is not (at least not yet) formally recognized as an official advisory body for either the City Manager or City Council. (Arlington's sister Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committees are both formal advisory bodies to the Arlington County Manger.)

Moreover, Alexandria still very much needs a vocal, independent, and external organization for citizen bicycling, walking, and trail advocates.

I suggest using "Action" instead of "Advisory" in the group's name, at least until the *City Manager* or City Council formally establishes standing bicycle and/or pedestrian advisory bodies for the City. The group's first "action" might be to get the City to formally establish true advisory bodies for local bicycling and walking issues.

Furthermore, consider forming a "Political Action Committee" that would be active in local elections.

The fastest way to change Alexandria's political culture would be to elect more strong bicycling and walking advocates to City Council.

Susanna Schneider said...