10 Tips to Advocate for Biking and Walkability

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” –Mahatma Gandhi

Walk Score's walkability advocacy tipsWant to advocate for improved walking and biking infrastructure, but not sure how to start? Anywhere you live, there is likely to be a walking or biking non-profit ready to help you get involved or be a voice for change. From group bike rides to lobbying tools to encouraging kids to walk or bike more—a bevy of resources is at your fingertips.

Get started improving walking or biking routes in your area with these tools, tips, success stories and inspiring ideas.

  1. Do a neighborhood walkability audit. Use Walk Score’s iPhone app as organizing or grassroots vehicle for community or policy improvements (see how nonprofits used Walk Score for a walkability audit). Many community members and organizations take the grassroots approach to improving their neighborhoods. Join Walk Boston, for instance, and volunteer to document pedestrian problems by taking pictures and other activities. Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood locals rallied to take photos of sidewalk problems, broken pavement and overgrown shrubs to send it to the city of Seattle for fixes. Another active citizen used Walk Score tools to document barriers to walkability.
  2. Connect with local advocacy groups. The Alliance for Biking & Walking has assembled an impressive list of bicycling and walkability/pedestrian groups across the United States and Canada. Find your local advocacy non-profit group and learn how to get involved.
  3. Be a walking tour ambassador or join a group walk: Seattle’s Feet First has opportunities for walking ambassadors to lead public walks around neighborhoods across King County. Colorado’s Walk2Connect offers guided individual or group walks where you can learn about the land, meet new people and get fit.
  4. Advocate for better biking and walking infrastructure. New Orleans citizens and Bike Easy organization helped get biking and walking street and sidewalk improvements built into the Super Bowl transportation upgrades in 2013. See how biking and walking advocates won victory with increased biking lanes and pedestrian improvements in New Orleans.
  5. Rally and ride together: Bike San Diego offers opportunities for people to join a walk, bike and rally event to advocate for change, meet fellow people-powered enthusiasts and get outside (sans car).
  6. Snap photos of your missing effin’ sidewalk: Feet First Philly has a photo contest called “Where’s my effin’ sidewalk?” Share photos of obstacles for pedestrians and bikers across Philadelphia. A uniquely Philly-attitude-celebrated activity that could be replicated in other cities.
  7. Meet with professionals to discuss bike plans and make a difference: League of Illinois Bicyclists is hosting a Bike Summit on May 15 in the town of Normal, IL. Meet with more than 100 engineerings, planners, local bicycle advocates to discuss the state bike plan, how to overcome barriers to bicycling and more.
  8. Get kids walking and biking: Join Safe Routes to School local movements such as using League of Michigan Bicyclists education toolkits, safety tips and legislative advocacy support. Join a local walk to school effort with other parents and kids.
  9. Promote walking with wayfinding signs. Do it yourself. See how New York City introduced wayfinding signs to encourage walkers. There’s even a crowd-funding wayfinding venture started to build more wayfinding signs and the Atlantic labeled a Raleigh, North Carolina initiative “guerilla wayfinding.”
  10. Promote safety with crossing flags. Learn about DIY crossing flags for neighborhood intersections. Some companies like Key Bank support walkability grassroots efforts to keep streets safe—like this crossing flag set in a Seattle neighborhood.

More inspiration and success stories happen every week. Learn more about walkability. Get outside and get involved.

1 Comment

  1. Uh huh I don’t think I have family in Colorado Springs. Wouldn’t hurt to visit, and maybe do a litlte research. I’m sure they’re all cyclists, so that race seems like a perfect place to find them.

Leave a Reply