First the bad news, namely the dates above. The bicycle industry coalition/foundation People For Bikes is closing its “Big Jump” application this Friday. “Big Jump” will fund 10 cities who submit applications geared to help “achieve a big jump in biking – a doubling or tripling of people riding – by building a network of safe and comfortable places to ride and engaging the community.”
Maybe Albuquerque is putting in an application, and Better Burque just doesn’t know about it. That would be great, really great, but BB has its doubts. If so, we probably would have heard something about it, particularly when one looks at the public/private/non-profit partnerships sought by People for Bikes:
WHAT DOES A STRONG APPLICATION LOOK LIKE?
Selection to be a Big Jump Project participant will be determined by several factors. Successful applications will demonstrate:
- Ambitious plans to implement an interconnected network of low-stress biking in a defined focus area.
- Evidence of strong political will from elected officials.
- Supportive and engaged city transportation staff and leadership.
- Evidence of strong community support.
- Evidence of support from the business community.
- Local funding participation at $50,000 per year or more.
We will also look for:
- Recent successes that demonstrate momentum.
- Recent changes in leadership, vision or funding that may prove catalytic.
- Clear articulation of why being part of the Big Jump Project will help.
- Leveraging local funding for support of local projects.
Yeah, one’s initial response to such a hefty list of “demands” might be to say “we didn’t want your stupid grant, anyway.” The more cynical might add that if we had all that, we wouldn’t need the grant.
Nevertheless, allowing the initial jealously, resentment and other negative human emotions to pass along, we can look at the bullets above as a “things to do” list engendering a very helpful process for Burque’s governmental/private/non-profit entities to undergo. What if we did connect all these bureaucratic and advocacy dots toward a low-stress bicycle network in Albuquerque? What if we started toward that with a single, targeted project that connected one of the gaps mentioned in the BB post/comments from last week?
As we all know, the real purpose of grants isn’t to get the money, it’s to get everyone thinking, both the funded and unfunded, on how they can change their behavior, employ more innovation in their thinking, and work together instead of apart. We won’t make Friday’s deadline. Nope, not even close. But perhaps those of us in Burque government, business and non-profits who think and care about cycling, safety, and how both can tie into a future city/county we want to see, can use the bullets above as a guide in building the needed coordination and commitment to make such a future happen.
And sure, I volunteer to write the application if any “Big Jumps” happen along while we achieve such coordination/commitment. That will be the easy part. Who’s in to do the hard work? BB is making a little late-October “resolution” to find out over the next few months.