MCBC Launching New Advocacy Effort Marin Local Teams: Where The Rubber Meets The Road
At MCBC, we know that advocacy works. The bikeability of Marin that we enjoy today was fought for, tooth and nail, by the devoted activists that came before us. Every day we enjoy the fruits of their labor. Learn more about MCBC’s newest advocacy effort with Marin Local Teams.
But, like riding in a headwind, momentum only gets you so far. We need to keep pedaling, pushing against the forces of the status quo, to build on what we already have. Only by doing our own part do we honor the legacy of past advocates and ensure that we pass a better world to our children.
At MCBC we are always asking, “How can we use our members’ contributions as effectively as possible?” While we have had recent successes, there have also been losses. Two riders have been killed on Marin’s roads already this year, and last month a group of loud neighbors successfully blocked a win-win safety improvement on Point San Pedro Road. What, we wondered, could we have done differently?
Local Teams: Started by our neighbors in Silicon Valley
Our colleagues at the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition run a highly successful program they call Local Teams. They facilitate 12 separate teams across San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, each team focusing on one or two cities. These teams are composed of a core of 5-10 people, with many more members on each team’s mailing list. Team members meet once a month to develop plans and strategies, and develop longer-term goals on an annual basis.
SVBC staff provides technical assistance to the team, leading trainings on how to become an effective advocate, helping with campaigns and goal-setting, and providing talking points for individual projects. Participation can range from sending emails to leading a team.
Local Teams lead to local successes
Working on the ground hand-in-hand with their neighbors, SVBC’s local teams have notched some impressive wins. They got Los Altos to commit to bike lanes on El Camino Real, a dangerous and busy state highway. In San Mateo, an hours-long city council meeting ended with the decision to install 2+ miles of bike lanes, even though it removed 214 parking spaces! These successes would have been impossible without robust, on-the-ground organizing.
Bringing Local Teams to Marin
Using SVBC’s program as a model (why reinvent the wheel, right?), we want to start rolling out Marin Local Teams. We’re going to start small, with San Rafael as the first city.
Why only one team to start? Well, (1) we want to work out the kinks and (2) we have limited capacity to take on new projects without hiring additional staff, and (3) it’s what SVBC recommended we do.
What Do Local Teams Do?
Whether you’ve got 5 hours a month or just 5 minutes, there’s lots you can do to improve biking in Marin. As stated above, we’ll be looking for people who can meet on zoom once a month to plan advocacy and set goals. But even if you don’t have time for that, we can add you to the Local Team mailing list so you’ll know actions are needed.
Here are some of the activities Local Team members can help out with, depending on their interest and availability:
Meeting monthly via Zoom to plan campaigns
Drafting written communication
Keeping notes during meetings
Recruiting new people to join
Welcoming new members and bringing them up to speed
Giving spoken comments to the city council (in-person or on Zoom)
Emailing/writing public comment
Posting on social media
How Can You Help?
Want to learn more about your Local Team?
First, start by filling out this survey. If you live in San Rafael, we’ll be in touch with you soon about opportunities to learn about your newly-formed local team. If you live elsewhere in Marin, hang tight, because there will be local teams coming your way soon.
Second, if you missed our kick-off meetings and Bike Advocacy 101 + 102 trainings, check them out on the MCBC YouTube Channel here. While you’re there, why not subscribe too?
If you have any questions about Local Teams, email email@example.com
Don’t have time but would like to contribute financially towards the Local Teams effort?
Marin Local Teams needs to raise $83,000 to start rolling out this program countywide possible 2022/23. Grants and well as gifts from people like you will help make this work possible. Please consider a donation to help strengthen Marin County’s bicycle advocacy movement today.
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members make it happen
We’re working to make Marin more bike-friendly for people of all ages and abilities. Are you with us?