I don’t think I have ever been so happy/sad/excited/depressed in my life. I am giving up a great job, a passionate community, and the company of so many wonderful friends and colleagues to help begin and grow something new. I’m off to be the Director of the Bike Walk RVA initiative in Richmond, Virginia for an organization not unlike Cascade Bicycle Club – but one that is in the infancy of its advocacy movement.
My last day at Cascade will be Friday, Feb. 15.
In all the excitement, I can’t help but feel like I am leaving things somewhat unresolved here in Seattle. The Bicycle Master Plan has not been adopted and there is still much work to do before we have a world-class plan for bicycling. Shoot, there’s not even enough funding for implementation of the plan we have now. There are a bunch of projects coming up this season (like this) that will need your support in order to get built correctly. And there are pro-bike candidates we need to elect.
The good news is: Seattle in great hands. The reality is: we need more hands.
Between grassroots groups sprouting like weeds all over the city, both new and established bicycle advocacy organizations, capable city staff and visionary elected officials, Seattle is certainly on its way to becoming one of the best cities for bicycling in the country. Yes, there’s lots of momentum. But if we’re ever going to be the city we know we should be, Seattle still needs more people banging on doors of electeds, louder voices demanding more funding at budget hearings, and more butts on bikes.
The Richmond area – on the other hand – is more of a blank canvas. There are a few great recreational trails but there are even fewer bike lanes. I saw a couple sharrows when I was there. There are no neighborhood greenways or cycle tracks. If all goes well, that could change in the coming years (and then some), but it’s going to be a lot of hard work. Richmond doesn’t yet have a training program for bicycle advocates, or a neighborhood greenways movement – but it does have a lot of untapped potential that will take time to realize.
My point is, take advantage of what you have here, Seattle. If you haven’t gotten involved yet, what are you waiting for?! Now is the perfect opportunity to sign up for ways to get involved.
Seattle will always be my home. My friends and family are all here and I can’t wait to visit often and see how the bikeway network has grown, both downtown and in our neighborhoods. I’ll leave a bike at my folks’ house to use while I am in town, at least until bike share is up and running in 2014.
Okay, I digress. I want to thank all of my friends and coworkers at Cascade, all my colleagues on the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, and all my partners in the community for one hell of a ride. Nearly everything I learned about effective advocacy, I learned here. Now I get to go apply it to Richmond.
Watch out, Seattle – RVA is going to give you a run for your money!