Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Critical Manners, BACA, and the National Bike Summit

Tonight marks the 5th Critical Manners ride in downtown Little Rock. Cold weather in January and February have kept the numbers down a bit, to the point where it's been mostly me and Willa out there aggravating the local motorists with our presence on the streets. Willa and a sizable portion of the BACA Board are in Washington, DC this week at the National Bike Summit, so it will probably be an even smaller crowd this evening as well, but we'll be out there at least making our presence known and getting motorists accustomed to seeing cyclists behaving nicely.

Jonathan Maus, the director of Bike Portland, is also attending the Summit and keeping us stay-at-homes updated via the group's web site. It's a good means to get the gist of what's going on up there, at least until the local folks come back to share their experience. The Bike Summit is being held at the Ronald Reagan buliding, which houses a number of the functional offices of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (Note: EPA's administrative and media specific program staff groups are called "Offices..." not just the real estate where these folks work.)

I was particularly interested to see Maus' description and photograph's of EPA's bike storage area, since a significant number of the EPA staff are bike commuters.

ADEQ is EPA's local counterpart here in Arkansas, and recently won BACA's "Bike Friendly" award for January '08 for the fitness facilities and bike-friendly conveniences built into the agency's new headquarters building in North Little Rock's Northshore Industrial Park.

Our facilities aren't as large or as fancy as EPA's, but then the cycling culture and convenience in Little Rock/North Little Rock isn't as well ingrained as it is in DC yet. Here's part of our bike parking area as it appeared last fall:


... and a little closer look at one of the racks themselves:


Daylight Savings Time, and hopefully warmer weather should be around the corner, and with it strong encouragement to use our Bike-To-Work options more, not only to save gas money ($3.16 per gallon this morning at the two closest stations on Crystal Hill Road), but to reduce our significant footprint on central Arkansas's air quality as well.

Coming soon, an analysis of the impact of commuting by one state agency...

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