Admit it: is there a neighborhood in your city that seem to be culturally impervious to accepting bicycles? Someplace where, perhaps, bike lanes have been put in but have been completely ignored by everyone living, working and hanging out there? In NYC the nexus is the area that comprises Chinatown and the lower east side (affectionately referred to as the LES). Further complicating matters, there’s 3 languages involved: Chinese, Spanish & English. Not to mention not a lot of money to spend on fancy PR campaigns or other top-down ways of changing things.
In this area, it’s even more important because it’s a major artery for Brooklyn Cyclists coming in and out of the borough via the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. And the congestion is… epic. People and cars have ruled the streets, but often with tragic collisions that happen in that kind of intense condensed groupings. Scary! A huge problem with little support and yet a remarkable thing has come out of it: Local Spokes. Comprised of 9 organizations representing 2 neighborhoods with 1 goal: engaging local residents to envision the future of bicycling.
How are they doing it?
- First, they talked to people in their neighborhoods and asked them what they thought
- There are “visioning sessions” where volunteers get together and imagine positive solutions
- They hold open invitation community meetings
- Local Bike Tours
- & their report on Recommendations for a New Development Model is coming soon!