news Executive Director’s Corner: If Not Now, When?
This summer will mark one year as Executive Director at MCBC and there is still no place I’d rather be.
Thank you for the warm welcome and for your commitment to MCBC’s work. Many of you called in to the session where we publicly released MCBC’s newly-created five year strategic plan. And though things have changed slightly in the delivery as we adjust to life during a global pandemic, our two main goals remain as urgent as ever: to make Marin County a mecca for bicycling and to increase the power and influence of the bicycling movement in Marin.
The pandemic presents Marin with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Cities and towns worldwide are re-envisioning streets to make more room for people. The access to Marin’s paths, trails, and open spaces are essential to maintaining our mental health. They provide kids a place to “get the jiggles out” and essential workers a safe way to get around. With the growing number of people riding bikes, bike shops are also busier than ever.
But I have to admit, I have a heavy dose of FOMO (fear of missing out) for Marin right now.
Cities and towns across the world are making room for people over cars, removing thru-car access to many neighborhood streets while saving access for residents, deliveries, and, of course, emergency vehicles. These projects, these temporary emergency measures, can be implemented with nominal cost to taxpayers. In the Bay area, six of the nine counties, including many towns of similar size to ours, have chosen to use this opportunity to create easy wins for their communities.
Unfortunately, there are no plans for this in Marin.
We realize that Marin streets are a challenge – we are not built on a grid like Oakland or other cities. But if towns all over Europe and South America, towns of equal size to our small towns with all kinds of squirrelly streets, have done this, so can we. In fact, each town has at its disposal a bicycle master plan. The ideas are vetted and available for the taking. And, with your support, the MCBC team is doing its best to carry this message to decision makers countywide.
Our message is clear: If not now, when?
These next few months can be the most innovative of our lifetime and we cannot let this opportunity pass us by. With the closure of many park roads to cars, many people have taken to riding their bikes to places they never would have before. We are working to ensure people will continue to have this opportunity to ride these roads car-free in some form after SiP is lifted.
I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and that you’ve been able to get out for some car-free rides on Marin’s iconic trails and roads. You, our members and friends, are helping make riding in Marin safe, fun, and accessible. Thank you.
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