Category Archives: Advocate

Want to get more involved? We’re seeking nominees to join our Board of Directors!

Oaks & Spokes will be electing five people to the Board of Directors, and you could be one of them! If you live or work in Raleigh, love bicycling, are a member of Oaks & Spokes, and want to be a decision-maker for Oaks & Spokes, apply here: https://goo.gl/forms/iFA2b0kMHxh2qMFk1

Applications are due on December 20th at 7pm. The current Board of Directors will notify all applicants of their candidacy on December 21st. Elections will be held at the Members Only Party on January 21st.

Not a member of Oaks & Spokes? Membership is only $25, lasts a year, gives you access to the Members Only Party, gives you voting power, and supports all of the work Oaks & Spokes is doing with events, outreach, education, and advocacy. Contact info@oaksandspokes.com to become a member today!

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Cranksgiving 2016 is this Sunday!

Join us this Sunday for our annual Food Drive Bike Ride, Cranksgiving! Last year more than 100 participants rode their bikes to area grocery stores to collect over 1400 lbs of food to donate to Raleigh Rescue Mission, more than double the amount collected in 2014. We hope you’ll come out this year to help us beat last years record. Find more information and RSVP on the event page.

This year we will also be collecting new or gently used winter coats to donate. If you are interested in volunteering for this event, please send us an email at info@oaksandspokes.com.

 

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Musings from this years NC Bike Summit in Asheville

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On September 16th and 17th, over 100 bicycling advocates, practitioners, elected officials, and government staff from across the state gathered in Asheville for the fifth annual North Carolina Bike Summit, hosted by BikeWalk NC and Asheville on Bikes. The Bike Summit consisted of presentations, group rides, a panel discussion about political partnerships, and a reception at the New Belgium brewery. The presentations were centered around the Bike Summit’s theme, Pedaling Toward Economic Development, and the presenters collectively:

  • made the case that bicycling is good for the economy,
  • emphasized the need for increased and sustainable funding for bicycle infrastructure, and
  • highlighted the role that local advocacy groups, e.g., Oaks & Spokes, can play in making communities more bikeable.

Our very own Evan Brigham, Kristy Jackson, Harry Rybacki, and Trung Vo attended the Bike Summit, and of particular interest to us were the discussions about tactical urbanism, marketing bicycling, and embracing diversity. Oaks & Spokes has big plans to leverage our inspiration from the Bike Summit to keep rolling towards a more bicycle-friendly Raleigh.

Also in attendance were Ally Clonch and Nate Seeskin, both students in UNC’s Department of City and Regional Planning who applied for and were awarded Oaks & Spokes conference scholarships. They had this to say about their experiences:

“The NC Bike Summit was a multi-disciplinary gathering of all people with a passion for bike and pedestrian infrastructure: planners, engineers, and activists. I was thrilled to converse with professionals and enthusiasts from a wide range of communities and learn about the challenges and innovations happening across the state. One of the repeated themes of the summit was the importance of inclusive community engagement in order to gain support for societal and infrastructural developments; for instance, tactical urbanism is a relatively cheap and effective tool that bike/ped professionals can utilize to garner public interest in proposed projects. I was also able to learn more technical information about funding, grant procurement, and navigating the legal framework of infrastructure development from public sector professionals. All in all, the NC Bike Summit provided insight to the dynamic evolution of active transportation around the state and harbored collaboration between all types of people to plan for more bike-friendly communities state-wide!” – Ally Clonch

“I am very thankful that Oaks & Spokes sponsored my attendance at the North Carolina Bike Summit. As a new graduate student at UNC’s Department of City and Regional Planning and as a newcomer to North Carolina, the NC Bike Summit was helpful in me gaining my bearings with both the planning and bicycle communities in this state. At this conference, I networked with a variety of planners, engineers, and advocates and learned about the bicycle policy and advocacy environment here. My favorite parts of the summit included hearing from Mike Lydon from the Street Plans Collaborative about tactical urbanism and participating in a breakout hosted by planners at the Wilmington MPO organization on prioritizing funding for bicycle infrastructure. I find it promising that there is a steady network of people advocating for better bicycle infrastructure here in North Carolina and I look forward to getting more involved!” – Nate Seeskin

Stay tuned to learn more about next year’s Bike Summit, Oaks & Spokes conference scholarships, and ways to get involved in bike advocacy!

Capital Blvd Redesign

Check out this video outlining improvements along Capital Boulevard including new bike/ped improvements at Wade Ave and Peace Street. O&S had a big part in pushing for these accommodations by attending meetings which occurred in 2014.

Red Hat Reacts to Bike Share Proposal

O&S Board Member Harry Rybacki and volunteer Jake Clayton sat down with folks at Red Hat to get their take on the recently-approved Raleigh BikeShare. Red Hat already has a small, private bike share; we mused on the potential relationships between smaller bike shares and the city-wide system. Read on for more from one of the the most recognizable businesses in downtown Raleigh.

Bike Share Interview #3: Red Hat

Red Hat Tower is difficult to miss. Among the most impressive buildings in Raleigh with its modern design and bright red roof, it stands as an apt symbol for one of the leaders in Raleigh’s booming downtown. Oaks and Spokes board member Harry Rybacki, himself a Red Hat employee, took a few minutes to sit down with Christi Turner (Facility Operations Program Manager) and Ben Thedieck (Office Coordinator) to talk about what the Raleigh BikeShare might mean for the tech giant.

Right out of the gate, Turner and Thedieck were excited to share Red Hat’s current alternative transportation initiatives, including their own bike share, Quick Spin. The Quick Spin program helps Red Hat associates  get around town for errands and meetings, much like the larger Raleigh BikeShare might. Turner recalled a recent outing during which “Ben [Thedieck] and I . . . went up to the museum and surprised my youngest son” one afternoon. The Quick Spin program makes sense for downtown commuters, our Red Hatters agreed, because it allows associates to bypass the tedious and time-consuming parking process that accompanies automobile use. Outings like Turner and Thedieck’s help associates get more done during the week, both personally and professionally.

Red Hat’s Quick Spin program incentivizes healthier modes of transportation, helps those who participate integrate with their communities, and takes cars off the road during busy workdays. However, it’s worth noting that most companies don’t operate on the same scale as Red Hat. For smaller companies, a privately-owned bike share may not make sense. In Raleigh’s vibrant start-up community, for example, there are countless talented professionals who stand to benefit from a more comprehensive transportation infrastructure. The Raleigh Bike Share could provide that growing group of professionals with a valuable resource.

While the benefit for smaller companies is obvious, Turner and Thedieck also suggested that the Raleigh Bike Share may have a positive impact on Red Hat’s own alternative transportation initiatives. For starters, the Quick Spin program doesn’t allow Red Hat associates to commute to work via bicycle; it isn’t designed to provide a last mile solution. By contrast, the principle of the last mile rests at the very heart of the Raleigh Bike Share project, which will position bike share stations near bus stops to capitalize on Raleigh’s existing alternative transportation infrastructure.

Along with giving people a range of bicycle options, the Raleigh Bike Share could actually make using Red Hat’s Quick Spin program safer. Turner suggested that “when the city of Raleigh focuses on bike riding in the city, that gets the bikers excited at Red Hat to share the road and give them the same treatment [as cars].” In other words, drivers may acclimate to bicycles. It seems paradoxical, but Turner isn’t the only one who thinks that more bicycles might actually lead to fewer accidents. Eric Lamb, the Transportation Planning Manager for the City of Raleigh, recently suggested that “[t]he more drivers see bikes on the road leads to better awareness and lower accident rates overall” (1). In terms of safety, then, users of smaller bike shares, like NCSU’s WolfWheels or Red Hat’s Quick Spin, actually stand to gain from the widespread adoption of transportation bicycling in Raleigh.

At one point or another, every discussion about bike shares turns to parking. Red Hat’s alternative transportation program, which incentivizes commuters who bike or take the bus, is partially motivated by the increasing demand for parking in downtown Raleigh. In the city’s adopted budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, more than $17,000,000 is designated for parking (2). However, the true cost of parking may actually be even greater. Sprawling parking, which transportation scholars have called a “subtle subsidy of the automotive industry” has been linked to a range of negative economic and environmental outcomes for cities (3). Red Hat’s Quick Spin program shows an investment in the overall well being of the community. It’s safe to say that Raleigh is proud to have innovative companies like Red Hat call our downtown home. When it comes to alternative transportation, the city could benefit by taking a page from Red Hat’s book.

 

(1)Gala, Christa. “Pedaling in Raleigh.” Raleigh Magazine 2 Feb 2016

(2)“City of Raleigh Adopted Budget 2015-2016” raleighnc.gov

(3)Davis, Amelie Y. et al. “The Environmental and Economic Costs of Sprawling Parking Lots in the United States.” Land Use Policy 27, no. 2 (2010). doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2009.03.002