Cool Things Wit Cool People is a monthly column by Akeem Dixon focusing on community development. To ask a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach out @akeemdixon.
As cities change, so too do the amenities that its residents desire.
This is certainly the case in Philly and many cities in transition like it. One such amenity going through a host of changes is bike lanes and the policies that not only affect the physical makeup of the streets but also transportation patterns.
In this edition of Dear Akeem, we will switch gears with Randy LoBasso, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s communications manager, and learn about the role his organization plays in many of the bike-themed changes occurring in the city. Here’s what’s transpired recently, how the org has worked to engage communities and why safer streets for cyclists mean safer streets for all.
Akeem Dixon: Let’s start with the training wheels on. Tell us all about the Bicycle Coalition — its origins and the role it plays in the city’s bike culture.
Randy LoBasso: The Bicycle Coalition began in 1972 as part of the environmentalism and Earth Day phenomenon. The idea, at the time, was that bicycling could be an alternative to the motor vehicle and make cities less clogged, less congested and healthier. I think that is still attainable, but the idea of how we do that has changed dramatically. There are still many members of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia who ride their bicycle because they’re doing their part to help the environment, but there is a much larger, more equitable goal of transportation options for everyone, and clean air for everyone.
Our members want a better and safer Philadelphia region for anyone who wants to ride a bike. Reaching that goal involves educating people on bicycling and advocating for safer streets through infrastructure, and all sorts of other cool stuff.
Why should non-bicyclists care about bike lanes (and everything else BCGP advocates for)?