Philly Naked Bike Ride.
Its first year, the Ride drew disbelief and confusion as it seemed to many to be more obscure than anything with riders encouraged to BYO message. Riders took stands on environmental issues, gay rights and of course the importance of sharing the road, but a cohesive statement was tough to identify.
Make no mistake – there has always been a solid cause within the group of scantily clad, painted and full-on naked riders. But it wasn’t until last year that the media and the city fully understood that underneath all the nakedness, there was a message.
“There’s something really natural about the human being moving himself,” said Greer. “Using a bicycle for every-day transportation is a great choice that people can make. You’re not using fuel, you’re not harming the environment and your taking your destiny onto your own hands.”
With the growing number of PNBR participants and the visibility for the cause that they provide, organizers, including Greer have taken up the cause of a more mainstream bike advocacy group. They’ve begun pedaling the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s message, seeking support for specific policies and pending legislations.
For months, PNBR has been reaching out to its 1,600 facebook fans and those who have signed up to receive newsletter updates, in order to spread the word.
“Transportation legislation came to our attention and it makes sense for us to do our part and share the information with the riders,” said Greer. “It was our responsibility because we’re cyclists. As cyclists, we know that cycling is the future. If we do a bad job at stewarding a cycling friendly environment, we’ll have less cyclists and move backwards.”
“It’s a very big bill that gets reauthorized every 6 years,” she said. “In 1990 there was a huge cultural and political shift, orienting itself on all forms of transportation; making it federal policy that all forms of transportation were necessary, as opposed to only cars.
The bill wasn’t reauthorized in 2009 and without the support of local riders, taxpayers, and elected officials, the bill may meet a similar fate again because of the republican run House of Representatives, she explained.
local support is going to be an integral piece of pushing this legislation through. After the BCGP / PNBR announcement asking riders to contact their local officials, there were over 600 people who took action, sending letters and emails to their congressman and senators.
The Bicycle Coalition, and cycling advocates nationwide, are all pulling for support of this legislation. They’re confident that the democratic Senate will be able to help fight for their cause, and will be keeping an eye on the bill’s progress.
The Naked Bike Ride is set for September 4, and details of the route and after-party will be revealed, as the date gets closer. Sign-up here for updates.
*Naked Bike Ride Photos were taken at the 1st Ride.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Every 10 years, the Government collects census information. The most recent 2010 Census data is then taken and analyzed. Municipalities across the country use the data to better understand its neighborhoods.
For us, here in the ever-evolving landscape of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, that means redistricting. The Philadelphia City Charter mandates that within six months of the release of the census data, the City Council must meet and decide on the new boundaries. Though the new boundaries aren’t put into effect until 2015, and are open to changes over the next four years, the lines must be drawn.
This year, a computer program called Fix Philly Districts has been made public to our area, giving everyone the tools and information needed to create their own rendition of the boundaries.
Azavea, the company behind the program in collaboration with Newsworks, Penn Project for Civic Engagement, Philly.com and The Daily News are calling for participants in a contest to “Fix Philly Districts.”
The contest ends on August 28 and winners will be announced in early September. There are prizes for the winner, provided by the programs sponsors and all of that information is available here.
Members of Philadelphia’s City Council including Bill Green, Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Freshman, Mark Squilla were at a public orientation for the program and the competition earlier this week at WHYY.
Quinones-Sanchez promised to do her part in getting the winning maps in front of Council. So there’s a real possibility that a new map could help to change the face of Philadelphia.
There are many factors to take into consideration when “fixing” Philadelphia’s districts. Some are social, many are political and others are fiscal. But for the pure exercise of attempting to do what Philadelphia’s City Council seems to unsuccessfully do each and every decade, this program lets you give it a go.
The program seems most comparable to Photoshop, so with some basic computer skills, jumping into the competition either solo or within a group is a real possibility. For those not so familiar with computer programs, there are training webinars scheduled.
Those interested in giving the program a try, just for fun or for the competition should check it out at fixphillydistricts.com.