April 19, 2011

Catching up - Alexandria BPAC minutes from Feb. 2011

It's been a busy month, to say the least. Combine that with some procrastination, and the result is no blog updates. So in an attempt to clear out the backlog, I'm going to start with what I hope will be a monthly occurrence: posting of the Alexandria Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) minutes. This first set is from the inaugural BPAC meeting (the group being realigned from the former BikeWalk Alexandria) on February 15. A lot of this initial meeting was procedures/charter/introductions/administrative-stuff/etc etc, but there were some nuggets (at the time) in the city update. Here's the basic rundown of the minutes:

Introductions By Committee

Jerry King, former President of BikeWalk Alexandria, presided over the introductory portion of the meeting. Eight individuals were accepted for membership based on the Committee’s previous meeting, and six of those individuals were present to introduce themselves.

Nominations for Committee and Officers

Several individuals were nominated prior to the meeting for the seven additional slots available for Committee membership as well as the three Officer positions. Four Committee members were accepted by a group majority vote, and three slots will remain open at this time. Members are encouraged to seek out individuals who could potentially fill these slots, especially those representing stakeholders in the community not already represented on the Committee (e.g. senior citizens, ethnic minorities, Trails for Youth, public school system, charity organizations and shelters). Final nominations and voting occurred for the three Officer positions.

Committee Charter

The new Committee’s Charter was circulated prior to the meeting, and its acceptance was discussed. To give additional time to review the Charter, its acceptance was tabled until the next meeting. It was noted that the Charter may be amended in the future as needed.

Future Meetings

Based on previous discussions, the Committee intends to meet the third Monday of each month from 7pm-9pm. The usual meeting place will be the Durant Recreation Center, located at 1605 Cameron Street, Alexandria VA, and Carrie offered to help coordinate the periodic reserving of this space. Andrea inquired about the availability of A/V and web capabilities in the space, and indicated she would call the Durant Center to gather more information about the space. Michael offered the periodic use of his portable projector system. A suggestion was made to consider meeting periodically on the west side of the City, to reach out to all areas of the community. Members were encouraged to research potential spaces for future meetings, such as public libraries. Suggestions for agenda items for future meetings should be emailed to our Chair and Vice Chair. Draft agendas will be circulated to the listserv prior to each meeting.

A discussion arose on the Committee’s standing, and whether the City would like an advisory committee. It was agreed that the Committee is not seeking to become a Commission at this time, and hopes to have a productive relationship with the City. This related to an earlier question on whether Committee Members needed to be residents of the City. The Charter outlines requirements for membership, and the Committee seeks a diverse membership to represent the interests of bicyclists and pedestrians traveling within and through the City.

City Briefing by the Carrie Sanders, Alexandria’s Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator

Carrie began by sharing that she envisioned her contribution to the Committee could be to provide updates on key projects and issues and to serve as a facilitator for communication between the Committee and the City. She encouraged Members to bring questions for her to the meetings. She then shared updates on several projects:

- Capital Bikeshare: the City is working with Arlington, DC, and Alta Planning to understand how Alexandria could bring CaBi to the City. Carrie indicated that several neighboring jurisdictions are competing for available grant funds, so speaking up at the MWCOG’s Bike-Ped Committee on behalf of Alexandria could be helpful. (Mike Farrell, 202-962-3760; see MWCOG for more information.)
- Commercial Add-On Tax: the City has held public meetings on the proposed tax that would be solely for use on transportation projects. Members are encouraged to write to the City regarding their position on the tax.
- Charles Barrett Safety: the City held a recent meeting to hear community concerns on a proposed reconfiguration of a key intersection adjacent to this public elementary school that the City proposes would enhance the safety of children crossing the street. The project would be grant funded and would greatly reduce the crossing distance.
- Safe Routes to School: a question arose on whether we have a Bike to School Day in the community. Members expressed interest in pursuing this further, either in conjunction with Bike to Work Day in May or with the international Walk to School day in October. A suggestion was made to target lower-income areas for a Bike to School Day and to seek out police support. Megan Brooks of Trails for Youth may be a good point of contact to begin this conversation.
- Complete Streets: the City will be holding an upcoming work session with the Transportation Commission to further the ongoing consideration of a Complete Streets Policy or Ordinance for the City. See the Transportation Commission for further information.
- Bike Friendly Community: the next application will be due in June, 2011. A suggestion was made for the Committee to select a subcommittee devoted to supporting the application to renew and/or upgrade the City’s status. Michael, Jonathan, Jerry, and Bruce volunteered. Carrie will send out a summary of the City’s major accomplishments since our last application and what is currently being planned.

Notice to Media

A determination was made to generate a press release on the new organization and its related activities and online resources. Andrea volunteered to draft the press release and share it with Members prior to the next meeting. A suggestion was made to consider waiting a couple of months before releasing a press statement, to give the Committee time to settle in. Andrea will generate a brief statement for the Committee’s consideration.

Events and Meetings

A list of upcoming events was included on the agenda, and Members were encouraged to participate in public meetings on the Potomac Yard redevelopment and other community meetings of interest to the Committee.