Commuter Challenge By the Numbers

Michael McCurdy

The 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge has wrapped up with some great results, thanks to you. The Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces. During the week-long challenge, participants track and report their sustainable commutes online; anything counts except driving alone.

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By Tyler Curtis

We already know that the 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge was a huge success and that Good To Go is positively influencing Blo-No commuters to commute sustainably year-round. However, we decided to dig a little bit deeper inside the 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge results to find more trends behind the numbers.

We found that the most popular mode of transportation in terms of number of commutes was biking (again), with over 600 commutes logged. Carpooling was second with nearly 500 commutes and nearly 400 walking commutes were logged. Over half of commuter miles came from carpooling and over 40% were from telecommuting.

Many participants got a little creative and decided to try multi-modal commuting. 128 miles were logged for commutes using both biking and riding Connect Transit. Many participants also combined walking and biking, walking and busing, and even carpooling and biking. 2013 participants showed that you don’t need to rely on just one mode to get to your destination!

The number of participating organizations matched that of last year, and 12 new teams got on-board in 2013, including several churches and departments at ISU, and a major area employer, AFNI, returned in 2013 to place third in the 501+ employee category.

And, perhaps the most exciting result we found was that of the 709 total participants, 454 participants noted that their typical work commute before the challenge was driving in a single occupancy vehicle. That means that Good To Go was able to attract not only people who were already choosing to commute sustainably, but also commuters willing to give more sustainable commuting a shot for a week.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2013 Challenge, and we hope you’ll compete next year so we can eclipse our 2013 totals!

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Tyler Curtis is the 2013 Good To Go Graduate Assistant through the Stevenson Center at Illinois State University. Mike McCurdy is WGLT Program Director and coordinates the community sustainable transportation project Good To Go. The next Good To Go Commuter Challenge rolls round the 3rd week of May, 2014.

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Good To Go Commuter Challenge Winners

Michael McCurdy

The 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge has wrapped up with some great results, thanks to you. The Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces. During the week-long challenge, participants track and report their sustainable commutes online; anything counts except driving alone.

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When it comes right down to it, we’re all winners because of the Good To Go Commuter Challenge. Less gasoline is used, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced and our community is a little healthier as a result of participation in the Good To Go Commuter Challenge.

However, there’s only one winner of the $200 Visa gift card.

The recipient this year, like last year, is a bicycle commuter. That’s not surprising. The number one mode of transportation in the challenge is bicycle. Surprisingly though, the winner this year works at the Normal Public Library — also like last year!

Peggy Peters commutes by bike and commuted last year through November. She chose a bike as her sustainable transportation option during the Challenge and out of the thousands of logged commutes, Peg was chosen at random as the winner of the $200 Visa gift card. She chooses a bike whenever it’s not too hot, not too cold or not too wet.

“I have to park in a nearby parking garage,” said Peggy.  “So I can actually get to work faster when I bike.”

She also likes riding on the Constitution Trail for a short portion of her commute, likes saying “hi” to people on the Trail…and likes seeing the occasional family of ducks on her way into work.

Congratulations, Peggy…and thanks for participating in the 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge.

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Mike McCurdy is WGLT Program Director and co-coordinates the community sustainable transportation project Good To Go. The next Good To Go Commuter Challenge rolls round the 3rd week of May, 2014.

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2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge Results

Michael McCurdy

The 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge has wrapped up with some great results, thanks to you. The Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces. During the week-long challenge, participants track and report their sustainable commutes online; anything counts except driving alone.

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A record number of Good To Go miles were posted by Bloomington-Normal commuters during the week-long, 4th annual Commuter Challenge. The final mileage total exceeded last year’s numbers by nearly 15,000 miles, with nearly 50,000 miles logged (or almost enough to circle the globe twice).

Good To Go™ is a year round community project from WGLT public radio and ISU Sustainability focused on healthy living and sustainable transportation. The Commuter Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces to find alternatives to driving alone. The Challenge is the initiative’s primary annual event.

Bike parking and bus display at the 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge kick off event May 4th.

709 people participated in the challenge. Despite participation numbers practically matching those of last year, this year’s participants exceeded the mileage, greenhouse gas impact, and calorie totals from a year ago. Almost 50,000 sustainable miles were accumulated and 20.9 tons of carbon emissions were avoided. Because some participants chose active modes like biking and walking, 290,000 calories were burned during the Challenge. Bicycling was the most popular alternative transportation choice, followed by carpooling and walking. Participants also logged over 100 commutes with Connect Transit.

Although many 2013 competitors participated in the Challenge before; numerous community members participated for the first time. If trends continue, many of these new participants will continue to commute sustainably year-round. A survey of 2011 and 2012 Good To Go participants conducted earlier this year found that 40% of participants increased their use of alternative transportation year-round following Challenge participation, and 15% ceased driving alone to work altogether.

Awards will be given to businesses and organizations based on percentage of employee/member participation in the Challenge. New winners in their respective divisions were ISU College of Arts and Sciences Administrative Office and New Covenant Community Church. Illinois State University Advancement and Conference Services, Uptown Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Vitesse Cycle Shop and COUNTRY Financial were repeat winners. 

Last year four area churches, Northside Church of Christ, Calvary United Methodist, Unitarian-Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal, and Mennonite Church of Normal, organized a friendly competition among the faith community. Those four churches participated again this year and two other churches, New Covenant Community and First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)-Bloomington also got in on the action.  New participants New Covenant Community edged out the competition and also won their respective division.

Vitesse Cycle Shop, O’Brien Mitsubishi and The Friends of the Constitution Trail are Good To Go sponsors. Good To Go also partnered with Carl’s Ice Cream, providing gift cards for free ice cream cones to those signing up for the Challenge. Connect Transit also partnered with Good To Go to provide a Free Ride Day on the last day of the Challenge along with free ride cards to anyone signing up.

Also special thanks to the Downtown Bloomington Association Farmers’ Market for hosting our Good To Go kick off event May 4th. The Good To Go area is really like a mini-sustainable transportation expo with a Connect Transit bus display, free and secure bike parking, EV test rides, and an EV charging station demonstration. Everyone who signed up on May 4th also got a coupon for $2 off anything at the market, thanks to the Farmers’ Market and more than 33 participants used the coupon!

For the second consecutive year, the Normal Public Library can claim the winner of the $200 Visa gift card, awarded at random. Peggy Peters is a regular bike commuter and says she can get to work quicker on a bike than driving. Thanks for participating Peggy, thanks to everyone!

Sponsors and Partners:

Vitesse Cycle Shop — Good To Go Sponsor
O’Brien Mitsubishi — Good To Go Sponsor
The Friends of the Constitution Trail — Commuter Challenge Sponsor
Connect Transit — Good To Go Commuter Challenge Partner
Carl’s Ice Cream — Good To Go Commuter Challenge Partner
DBA Farmers’ Market — Good To Go Commuter Challenge Partner
Plug-In Vehicle Solutions — Good To Go Commuter Challenge Partner.

Participants:

Advocate BroMenn Medical Center
AFNI
Bike BloNo
Bloomington Cycle and Fitness
Bloomington School District 87
Calvary United Methodist Church
COUNTRY Financial
Ecology Action Center
Family Challenge
First Christian Church Bloomington (Disciples of Christ)
Friends of the Constitution Trail
GROWMARK, Inc.
Heartland Community College
Home Sweet Home Ministries
Illinois State University
Illinois Wesleyan University
ISU College of Arts and Sciences Administrative Office
ISU Facilities
ISU Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development
ISU Student Health Services
ISU University Advancement and Conference Services
IWSS
McLean County Government Employees
Mennonite Church of Normal
New Covenant Community Church
Uptown Normal Marriott and Conference Center
OSF St. Joseph Medical Center
Pekin Community High School
Spokeswomen
State Farm
Town of Normal
Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal
Vitesse Cycle Shop
WGLT

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Mike McCurdy is WGLT Program Director and co-coordinates the community sustainable transportation project Good To Go. The next Good To Go Commuter Challenge rolls round the 3rd week of May, 2014.

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Blo-No Bikes Building Community

Michael McCurdy

The 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge is underway through May 17. The Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces. During the week-long challenge, participants track and report their sustainable commutes online; anything counts except driving alone.

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By Tyler Curtis, Good To Go Graduate Assistant

The popularity of the bike as a viable form of transportation and a hip tool for community building is growing rapidly. Bloomington-Normal is no different, with a growing group of bike commuters lobbying for better bike infrastructure and awareness and bikes being used as a tool to tackle other major issues in the community.

Two such issues are youth literacy and the availability of healthy, locally-grown produce. That’s where the West Bloomington Book Bike and the Illinois Wesleyan “Veggie Bike” have come in to fill the void.

The veggie bike is a project of former IWU environmental studies major Alex Kim. The bike helps provide support to IWU’s Peace Garden, whose mission is to provide locally grown produce to BloNo community members while also promoting community connectedness. The Peace Garden provides produce for Sodexo, IWU’s food provider, and for the greater Bloomington-Normal community. Alex says that the goal of the Veggie Bike is to assist the IWU Peace Garden “in its efforts to exemplify and maintain sustainable principles through practice. In short, it will help the Peace Garden be as green as possible.”

Illinois Wesleyan’s Veggie Bike. The bike was the brainchild of former IWU student Alex Kim.

The bike took six months to complete with help from IWU’s Action Research Center (ARC). What’s great about the bike is that it is funded completely through donated materials and the labor of dedicated volunteers. The bike is still in use, and the ARC is planning to deliver the produce to the Normal trailside market during the summer and to the IWU campus market in the fall.

The Book Bike, a project of the West Bloomington Revitalization Project (WBRP), had similar beginnings to the Veggie Bike, as it developed from the creativity of dedicated community residents. Bloomington City Council member and administrator of the Book Bike, Karen Schmidt, explains that numerous teachers have recounted stories to her about students who do not have access to books in their homes. “I have a hard time getting my head around a home without books,” she says, and it is for this reason that Karen has remained committed to promoting the use of the Book Bike throughout Bloomington-Normal. As she affirms, it’s all worth it when she realizes “every time a child or an adult goes home with a free book that they own, we just tipped the scales a little bit in the right direction.”

The West Bloomington Book Bike in action at the Irving School.

The hope is that the book bike will be brought out every weekend, weather and venue permitting. This goal would not be possible without dedicated volunteers, including IWU students, the McLean County Wheelers, and the ISU Bike Club, who are willing to ride the bike, which can weigh up to 200 pounds when fully-stocked, around the community week after week. Along with riders, the Book Bike project also relies on the generosity of book donors, including the Bloomington Public Library and various residents throughout Bloomington-Normal.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Another major bike initiative, also a project of the WBRP, is the Walk-In, Bike-Out program. The program utilizes volunteers to repair bicycles donated by community members, Illinois State University, and the Bloomington and Normal police departments and then gives those bikes away to individuals in need. There is no “needs testing” to the program; anyone who comes in and wants a bike can get one.

During the April 27, 2013 give away volunteers spent several weeks repairing the bikes and provided on-hand assistance with bike-fitting, bike lock and helmet distribution, and answering residents’ questions about bike safety and commuting, and in the end giving away more than 120 bicycles.

The much publicized National Bike to School Day bike ride, marking the grand opening of the Airport Road extension all started with the efforts of NCHS students who wanted a safer bike route to school. Efforts like next week’s Blo-No Bike Week, Ride of Silence,and Blokes & Spokes will bring more awareness to the importance of promoting bicycling as a healthy, inexpensive, and environmentally-friendly mode of transportation.

All these bikes found homes on April 27, 2013 through the WBRP’s “Walk-In, Bike-Out” Event.

If there’s anything that initiatives like the Book Bike and Veggie Bike show is that biking isn’t just great for commuting, but bikes can also be used as powerful tools for community development.

By the way, if you need to tune up your bike but can’t find the right tool, there’s always the Tool Library.

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Tyler Curtis is WGLT’s Graduate Assistant, helping to coordinate the community sustainable transportation project Good To Go. The 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge is underway through May 17.

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Good To Go’s Favorite Blog

Michael McCurdy

Registration is open for the 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge, May 11-17. The Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces. During the week-long challenge, participants track and report their sustainable commutes online; anything counts except driving alone.

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If you don’t know Sara Hoffee, you may know her bike: a green Civia Twin City Step-Through. A lot of regular BloNo cyclists will recognize it because Sara rides it practically everywhere. And she’s sharing her experiences in her blog: Little Bike on the Prairie.

It’s a blog I wish I had the time to write.

Her most recent post nudges Downtown Bloomington to become as bicycle friendly as Uptown Normal.

“I hope with the new mayor and the influence of Bike BloNo (if you don’t like them on Facebook already you should do it now!) that Bloomington can turn itself into a more convenient cycling destination. The city boasts quite a few great local businesses that seem to get overlooked by the cyclists I run around with because it’s so much more convenient to utilize Uptown Normal. One of my summer resolutions is to take advantage of Downtown Bloomington…especially since I live and work nearby anyway.”

She’s also working to dispel myths.

“While I had a gut feeling that it was faster for me to bike than drive, I was honestly surprised when I saw today’s results. I save about eight minutes a day by cycling rather than driving and actually end up covering more miles in the car than on the bike thanks to parking locations–you can see the breakdown at the end of this entry. Couple this with my financial savings (for example, if I drove to my freelance job at ISU every day I would spend about $850 a YEAR on parking alone) and the real question is: ‘Why wouldn’t I ride my bike every day?’”

And Sara is always thinking about her safety on Bloomington-Normal streets.

“I wish more people knew about/obeyed this particular law, and honestly am tempted to keep the yardstick tied to my bike indefinitely to raise awareness of it. I can think of dozens of times in the past few months where I’ve been nervous about how closely an automobile comes, and I hear stories all the time of cyclists getting buzzed by angry drivers. It’s no joke and no way to “teach a lesson”, as one particularly charming man in a van yelled at me last year. I really wish all drivers were familiar with the “three feet” law, and that they  understood how terrifying (not to mention dangerous!) non-compliance is from the cyclist’s perspective.”

Subscribe to Little Bike on the Prairie. Unless you’re on a bike, it might be the only way you can keep up with Sara.

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Mike McCurdy is WGLT Program Director and co-coordinates the community sustainable transportation project Good To Go. The 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge is May 11-17.

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Questions Answered at GLT’s Sustainable Transportation Fair

Michael McCurdy

Registration is open for the 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge, May 11-17. The Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces. During the week-long challenge, participants track and report their sustainable commutes online; anything counts except driving alone.

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The Good To Go Commuter Challenge kick off is Saturday, May 4th. Where else can you find nearly all of the major elements of sustainable transportation and the experts to answer your questions in one place?

Vitesse Cycle Shop owner, Chris Koos, accepting an award for his business' performance in the Good To Go Commuter Challenge

Look for the Good To Go area at the northeast corner of the square in Downtown Bloomington during the first outdoor Farmers’ Market of the season. You can’t miss it. Just look for the parked Connect Transit bus. This is your chance to get your questions about Bloomington-Normal’s mass transit system answered. You can also try out the bike rack out on the front of the bus. Every fixed route bus has bike rack.

The Friends of the Constitution Trail (a Commuter Challenge sponsor) are on hand, offering free valet-style secure bike parking. They’ll offer their expert advice about bike commuting.

New Good To Go sponsor O’Brien Mitsubishi will be providing test drives of the new iMiEV, Mitsubishi’s all-electric car. They can answer your questions about electric cars and Rod Sabick with Plug-In Vehicle Solutions can tell you what you need to know about charging your electric car.

Electric cars, buses and bikes are all acceptable modes of transportation in the Good To Go Commuter Challenge. Learn more about the Challenge at the GLT tent. Register and you’ll get a Good To Go collapsible shopping bag stuffed with a card good for one free Connect Transit bus ride, a certificate for a Carl’s Ice Cream cone, and a coupon for $2 off anything at the Farmers’ Market.  Log at least one sustainable commute May 11-17 and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $200 Visa gift card.

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Mike McCurdy is WGLT Program Director and co-coordinates the community sustainable transportation project Good To Go. The 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge is May 11-17.

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Good To Go Impact Survey Results

Michael McCurdy

Registration is open for the 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge, May 11-17. The Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces. During the week-long challenge, participants track and report their sustainable commutes online; anything counts except driving alone.

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We’ve been studying the results of our Good To Go Impact Survey and discovered the annual Commuter Challenge is having an impact on you. Good To Go Graduate Assistant Tyler Curtis developed the survey and contacted  the 2011 and 2012 Challenge participants. The survey was designed to gauge the impact of the Commuter Challenge in promoting year-round sustainable commuting among Challenge participants.

The results reveal that the Challenge appears to be successful in influencing travel behavior change among those who participated.

Overall, 40.4% of respondents increased the frequency in which they chose sustainable transportation modes after having participated in the Challenge. Moreover, after participating in the Challenge, 15% of respondents completely ceased commuting by driving alone. Bicycling saw the greatest increase in usage of any particular mode, with 19% of respondents who were not bicycle commuters before the Challenge choosing to try the bicycle after the Challenge.

The survey results indicate that the program positively impacted year-round commuting behavior among Bloomington-Normal Commuter Challenge participants, which underscores the importance of continued promotion of the program  in the community by you and your organization. Help boost participation and awareness by getting your organization or workplace involved in the annual Good To Go Commuter Challenge.

You can also take a look at the full survey report for more detail.

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Mike McCurdy is WGLT Program Director and co-coordinates the community sustainable transportation project Good To Go. The 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge is May 11-17.

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Good To Go Events Calendar

Michael McCurdy

Registration is open for the 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge, May 11-17. The Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces. During the week-long challenge, participants track and report their sustainable commutes online; anything counts except driving alone.

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Spring is the busiest season for Good To Go as we register participants in our annual Commuter Challenge. We’re working hard to boost participation and increase the results. In 2012, 743 people logged almost 34,000 sustainable miles. As a result 14.5 tons of carbon were curbed. Because some participants chose modes like biking, 406,000 calories were burned during the Challenge.

Log at least one sustainable commute May 11-17 and you could win a $200 Visa gift card!

You can register anytime online or talk with an expert and register at one of the registration events below:

1. State Farm Earth Day Expo – April 9th  from 11:00AM to 1:00PM at Corporate Headquarters. (And we signed up 27 people!!)

2. Bike Buddies – April 10th at 6:30PM. This program will take you from “car commuter” to “bike commuter.” Enroll now and join us us at Vitesse Cycle Shop on Wednesday evening.

3. State Farm Earth Day Expo – April 11th from 11:00AM to 1:00PM at Corporate South H Building.

4. Good To Go Registration event – April 12th from 11:30AM-1:30PM at Illinois State University Alumni Center (Room 117). Get your questions answered and register for the annual commuter challenge. This event is organized by Good To Go Ambassador, Kathy Alexander.

Good To Go's Mike McCurdy talking with potential Commuter Challenge participants at the 2011 Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo.

4. Illinois Sustainable Living and Wellness Expo – April 13, 9:00AM-4:00PM at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center. Explore the many aspects of Living Well & Living Green with up to 100 exhibitors and 20 presenters. Sustainable transportation represented with free bike, secure bike parking from the Friends of the Constitution Trail and booths from Bike BloNo, Connect Transit and Good To Go!

5. State Farm Earth Day Expo – April 24th at Illinois Operations Center in Bloomington.

6. Country Financial Registration Events. Details, TBA (May 1st through 8th).

7. Good To Go Commuter Challenge Kick-Off, Saturday, May 4th at the first Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market of the Season. Everyone who registers gets a free $2 dollar certificate good for the Farmers’ Market that day, plus a Good To Go collapsible shopping bag stuffed with a certificate for a free Carl’s Ice Cream cone and a card good for one free Connect Transit bus ride! Commute sustainably, to the challenge and we’ll count it so you can get an estra chance to win a $200 Visa gift card. Every day you log a commute during the challenge is an entry to win the card!

8. Heartland Community College Spring Fest-May 1 & 2, 10:00AM-2:00PM.

9. The Commuter Challenge – May 11-17 more events, TBA

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Mike McCurdy is WGLT Program Director and co-coordinates the community sustainable transportation project Good To Go. The 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge is May 11-17.

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Normal Mayoral Candidate Victor Connor Talks Bike Policy

Michael McCurdy

Registration opens soon for the 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge, May 11-17. The Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces. During the week-long challenge, participants track and report their sustainable commutes online; anything counts except driving alone.

Victor Connor is a retired computer science professor of at Illinois State University, and has also worked for IBM and State Farm as a computer programmer/analyst. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in electrical and computer engineering.

We asked Victor a series of questions regarding bicycle policy for the area. This is part six, and the final installment, of our series of interviews with Bloomington and Normal mayoral candidates. Thanks to Scott Richardson and Tyler Curtis for helping to make this series possible.

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What role should bicycles play in a community’s overall transportation plan? 

If I were designing the layout for a new town and had plenty of money to work with, I’d design it very bicycle-friendly to be a more attractive option for people based on safety, convenience and less pollution.  Although I spent ages 10 to 19 using a bicycle as my main mode of transportation (each year biking at least 2,000 miles), and many years since then have bicycled when possible to avoid using the car and for exercise and the environment’s sake, practically for most people it is difficult to commute to work and to run errands via bicycle.

Riding bikes leave the rider open to the elements so is limited by weather, safety, there isn’t much space to transport items, it’s hard to transport children to daycare and back, and often a commute leaves the rider sweaty and smelly which is frowned upon in working environments.  Bicycle transport is not an option for many citizens… too young, too old, disabled, too pressed for time.

Also, we’re talking about the town of Normal here which has an established layout. This community has not been built up with bike transport in mind, so there would need to be a lot of renovation done to facilitate space for bicyclists through and around town which would cost a lot of money. The town of Normal is over $90 million dollars in debt. Normal has 170 miles of surface streets to use, the Constitution Trail, and bicycle-friendly sidewalks around town. If I were mayor I would listen to my constituents, and I don’t see the majority of the townspeople wanting to spend a significant amount of money making the town more bicycle-friendly than it already is with so many other needs competing for taxpayer money.  So until we get much closer to paying off our debt, I see bicycles playing the same part in our communities overall transportation plan in the near future as they do today. I do think the town should spend the money needed to fix potholes and maintain the streets in a much better manner, and this would help all bicyclists, walkers, and drivers.

Normal has a Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan that’s slowly being implementing. What do you like about this plan and what do you think the Town should implement after the Southern Corridor, currently under consideration?

I’ve skimmed through the Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan and it looks like it will cost the town roughly $30 million to implement. We have so many other town expense needs that to spend that much taxpayer money for this would not be the best use of our funds. A much more cost-effective solution would be more attention paid to improve our streets by fixing potholes, seams, and create flatter and wider sidewalks in areas where it makes sense.  Once the town pays off a large part of our debt, then we can consider upgrading and lengthening Constitution Trail and entertain other ideas.

What are the benefits or problems created in making our community more bicycle-friendly?

The benefits of making our community more bicycle-friendly would encourage its use, therefore lessening environmental stress by replacing car and other means of transport with a non-pollutant method. More use would give riders more exercise (but depending on how much pollution they’re breathing while biking may or may not make them healthier).

Problems created mostly involve costs; for example adding space for bicycle paths on existing streets would reduce space for cars, increase liability for the city, and increase costs for streets and sidewalks – creation, maintenance and signage. Keep in mind, when making bicycle paths and encouraging their use, if a pothole has not been fixed or a grate in the road causes a horrendous bicycle accident, who pays for it? Is the town liable?

Let’s talk about law enforcement and education. What sort of effort is needed on both fronts as it concerns bikes, cars and the two sharing the road?

I don’t really know what is emphasized in young people’s driver education these days, but when I took it not much time was spent on cars sharing the road with bikes or pedestrians. This topic should be dramatically increased so drivers would be much more careful with bicyclists around.  Drivers need to be more aware of cyclists, give bikers more street space and be more patient, and if any accident occurs because of a driver not doing so then the driver should get fined or worse.

Do you think bicycle infrastructure, things like bike lanes, can attract businesses and jobs? Do you think Uptown Normal is headed toward Bicycle-Friendly Business District status with its bicycle amenities? And what would you do as Mayor to make Uptown or other parts of Normal more bicycle-friendly?

Possibly to a small degree, but they may actually hurt businesses more than they help them. I’d have to spend a lot of time analyzing this.

With all the other demands for taxpayer money, I think there has already been enough done in this area for now.  Again, we still need to fix road potholes and seams so the streets will be better for all– bicyclists, drivers and people walking.  Of course, if a plan were written up and put in a ballot and the town voted for it, then by all means we should do it.

For now, with our town over $90 million in debt (with taxes rising significantly) and being land-locked, the bicycle friendliness of Uptown Normal needs to be left as is.  Where would the space come from?  How would it be paid for?

We asked our Facebook community for questions and someone wants to know if you consider yourself a cyclist and if you bike regularly for recreation or errands or work or all of the above.

As a youth I was a major cyclist which I did for transportation’s sake. In my 20’s and 30’s I did it more for exercise and the occasional errand/recreation.  In my 40’s and 50’s I slowed down dramatically and in my 50’s I started walking with my wife a lot more instead, probably walking 3 to 5 hours a week in the spring, summer and fall. In total, I’ve easily biked more than 25,000 miles which is the circumference of the Earth.

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Mike McCurdy is WGLT Program Director and co-coordinates the community sustainable transportation project Good To Go. The 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge is May 11-17.

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Normal Mayoral Candidate JeVaughn Martin Talks Bike Policy

Michael McCurdy

Registration opens soon for the 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge, May 11-17. The Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces. During the week-long challenge, participants track and report their sustainable commutes online; anything counts except driving alone.

JeVaughn Martin is a business analyst at State Farm. He is also the owner of JVM Productions, an entertainment, event planning, and consultation business. Martin has lived in Normal since graduating from ISU as a political science major.

We asked JeVaughn a series of questions regarding bicycle policy for the area. This is part five of our series of interviews with Bloomington and Normal mayoral candidates. Thanks to Scott Richardson and Tyler Curtis for helping to make this series possible.

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What role should bicycles play in a community’s overall transportation plan?

Bicycles are an important aspect to the community’s transportation plan.  Bicycling provides a safe and healthy mode of transportation in our city and every accommodation should be made to ensure protection for those who choose cycling as a means of transportation.

Normal has a Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan that’s slowly being implemented. What do you like about this plan and what do you think the Town should implement after the Southern Corridor, currently under consideration?

Although I support the plan outlined for the city, I would appreciate hearing from those residents who will be directly impacted by the implementation of the plan.  If I am for the plan, but if the cyclist and residents are against it, then why should we try to force it into production?  I would like to hear from residents and upon their reasoning and concerns, proceed forward or take a step back and adjust so that we are creating a solution for those negatively impacted.

What are the benefits or problems created in making our community more bicycle friendly?

The only problem I can see is if spending money on a solution does not provide adequate safety for cyclists and brings more headaches to our traditional motorist.  There is a balance and we must find that balance so that everyone feels they are able to enjoy the streets of Normal.

Is there any sort of municipal responsibility to create a safe place for bicyclists on the street?

It is the responsibility of the city and residents to create a safe place for cyclists on our streets.  We all have a right to be safe and secure while enjoying the habits we love.

Let’s talk about law enforcement and education. What sort of effort is needed on both fronts as it concerns bikes, cars and the two sharing the road?

We begin by saturating our community with knowledge.  We will make sure that every educational resource is available so that drivers and cyclists in our area are aware of the procedures put into place to protect all of our residents.  The police will be necessary in this effort as well.  Not to harass.  Not to intimidate.  But those in law enforcement should enforce the law while making residents feel better about their decision to learn from mistakes and “educate-forward.”  Our city is not in need of more tickets and fines… we need patience and support!  The Council and those charged with protecting our residents should provide that support.

Do you think bicycle infrastructure, things like bike lanes, can attract businesses and jobs? Do you think Uptown Normal is headed toward Bicycle Friendly Business District status with its bicycle amenities? And what would you do as Mayor to make Uptown or other parts of Normal more bicycle-friendly?

I would like to see more research to support the idea of bike lanes attracting business and jobs.   In my opinion, bike lanes should be in place as a matter of common sense. Downtown Normal should be available for all residents to enjoy.  There should be a reward to those who chose the economically-friendly mode of transportation throughout our great city.  I will make every effort to continue to grow Normal into a town that we all can say is friendly for those who chose to access and enjoy our city with their wheels or with their feet.

We are a Bicycle Friendly Business District when everyone who chooses to ride a bike feels safe.  We are a BFBD when businesses make their products available for anyone who frequents their establishment… no matter how they arrived.  As we continue to worry about becoming a BFBD, we must remember that this city must be a PFBD first… “Person Friendly Business District!”

We asked our Facebook community for questions and someone wants to know if you consider yourself a cyclist and if you bike regularly for recreation or errands or work or all of the above.

I miss riding my bike.  I enjoyed my days on the trail and enjoying the beautiful clean air and impressive scenery that is “Normal”.  This past summer, I was able to teach my 9 year old daughter and 6 year old son how to safely ride their bike.  This upcoming season, as the flowers begin to blossom and the snow melts away; I look forward to many family trips through the wonderful town of Normal.

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Next week read what Victor Connor has to say about Blo-No bike/ped policy.

Mike McCurdy is WGLT Program Director and co-coordinates the community sustainable transportation project Good To Go. The 2013 Good To Go Commuter Challenge is May 11-17.

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