Friday, February 10, 2012

Memphis to Washington DC In A Day

Mid-morning this past Tuesday the caller ID on the ringing phone in my hand said Bikes Belong. I answered with professionalism, not sure who might be on the other end. "This is Tim Blumenthal from Bikes Belong." he said. Two days later at 6AM I was flying to Washington D.C.

For the past several years the Transportation Bill has provided funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements all over the nation. The effect of this money for Memphis has led in part to 36 miles of bike lanes/sharrows, 7 miles of rails to trails, and many more planned improvements. For the Peddler Bike Shop we have seen our business double.

The original bill had a 2 year life on it and we have been getting extensions for the past two years but now that the bill is up for vote again there have been some rewrites that take out the language providing funding for transportation enhancements such as recreational trails and bike lanes. This money has been essential to the health and safety of Memphis, a city which in the past has topped many "Worst Of" lists.

I met Mr. Blumenthal and Ivette Rivera, head of the Bikes Belong Government Relations, along with Taylor Keaton, manager of the Trek Store in Chattanooga, at the Senate Dirksen Building. We traded stories of the progress our cities have made and went over our strategy for the meetings. We first met with Senator Lamar Alexander's Energy and Environment LA Curtis Swager and later met with Senator Bob Corker's Chief of Staff Todd Womack and his Energy, Environment, Transportation and Budget LA Hunter Bethea. Both conversations were very productive. I feel that we have kindred spirits in our Senators; when Corker was Mayor of Chattanooga he installed their River Walk a 7 mile bike/ped trail. Senator Alexander recently opposed Senator Rand Paul's proposal to overturn the Clean Air Rule.

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But even though we all seem to be on the same page with Tennesseeans health the battle isn't over. (And it was super exciting being on the front lines!) We can all do our part in the good fight. Send a letter to the Senators today and let them know that it's not just two bike shop managers that want funding; it's the whole state!

To contact Senators Alexander and Corker go here: http://capwiz.com/lab/issues/alert/?alertid=60975341&PROCESS=Take+Action

2 comments:

Planet MarTay said...

Way to go, Cort!! Sounds like a good, albeit quick, experience!

Click, click, done! Just sent an email using the provided link.

Anthony Siracusa said...

Cort! This is excellent! Let's get a beer soon and talk about your trip - I'm so happy you made it up to Chicago and met with our senators. Kyle and I are headed to Washington in March, and we certianly look forward to it each and every year. Maybe you should join us at the National Bike Summit?