June 18 2013

How the East Bay Bicycle Coalition is Making Ridership Accessible to all Residents

Promoting bicycle ridership has become a widespread mission across many regions, ranging from small towns to large cities. In California’s East Bay, the East Bay Bicycle Coalition (EBBC) has grown to be the primary advocacy group to make bicycling more feasible and safer on a large scale. The organization’s “guiding principles” include the following:

  • Make biking, walking and transit more accessible options to all communities, particularly those that have been underserved;

  • Engage diverse populations;

  • Enhance the health of residents, improve the quality of the environment and make communities more livable and sustainable;

  • Be fiscally and ethically responsibly with their resources.

The accomplishments of the EBBC are numerous. Currently, they are working with BART, the Bay Area’s primary transit service, to lift the ban on bikes on the BART at all hours, every day of the week. There are certain commuting hours, those being during morning and evening rush hour, when bikes cannot be brought on the carts.

Bikes on BART

They have already completed several successful short pilot programs. But on July 1st, the BART will begin a five month trial period when bikes can be brought on the carts at all hours of the day, every day of the week. I can say from personal experience that it will interesting to see how BART riders react to the extra bicycles dispersed around them at 8:30 in the morning.

Although I feel the EBBC has made many contributions to the East Bay communities, I was surprised and a bit disappointed to find how disconnected they are from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC). Although they share the same goals and are both part of the Bay Area, they do little work together. As a whole, I believe the San Francisco Bay Area could make a stronger effort to promote a greater sense of regionalism with transportation initiatives, versus looking at San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley as separate entities.

EBBC Bike Storage

Still, I am encouraged by the level of ridership I am seeing throughout the Bay Area. I believe the residents want to have the option to ride to their destinations. With that being said, what efforts are your local organizations making to enhance bicycle ridership?

Credits: Data linked to sources. Photos credit of EBBC and SPUR.

Robert Poole

Robert Poole recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in City and Regional Planning. He grew up in San Diego but now resides in San Francisco. He is intrigued by, yet concerned with the large discrepancies in socio-economic development within the Bay Area. He currently works at a non-profit organization in San Francisco that advocates for new housing development in the City through policy and legislation. As he continues his work, he hopes to gain a more in-depth understanding of the city’s public process in order to develop solutions that create more affordable housing options for the City's low to middle-income residents.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 at 9:52 am and is filed under Education and Careers, Environment, Land Use, Robert Poole, Transportation, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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5 Responses to “How the East Bay Bicycle Coalition is Making Ridership Accessible to all Residents”

  1. D Jan Says:

    MCBC has done some fantastic work also.

  2. Robert Poole Says:

    Thanks for the comment DJ. Do you believe there needs to be greater collaboration between these three organizations: SFBC, EBBC and MCBC? Is so, how? Or do you think this is more of a city by city case?

  3. Robert Prinz Says:

    Thanks for the blog article highlighting our coalition, Robert! With regard to our coordination with the SFBC, we certainly could do more, but there is already a lot of organization going on behind the scenes between us, the SFBC, the MCBC, and the SVBC in the South Bay. For instance, we all coordinate every year on the regional Bike to Work Day activities, collaborating on design and marketing materials, sponsorship, messaging, and more. Bike to Work Day is the largest membership day for most of our organizations, so it makes sense to work together to get the message out as much as possible. We also pool our resources when appropriate for efforts like the BART issue you referenced, or a recent grant for family biking education in each of our communities that we all pitched in on together to strengthen our application. Our organizations also communicate regularly to coordinate on regional issues, most recently on how the “phase 2″ of the upcoming Bay Area Bike Share program will expand out of downtown SF and the Caltrain corridor to connect to the East Bay and other areas as soon as possible.

    While regionalizing our efforts in some cases makes sense, in most ways it is beneficial for us to work independently to achieve the greatest gains for the areas we represent, which are geographically, politically and demographically very different. For instance, the SFBC represents a single city/county of 800k with one city government, whereas the EBBC represents two counties, 33 cities and city governments, and 2.6 million residents spread over 1,600 square miles. Even though our regions are so close together, such large areas and populations need unique representation and expertise to ensure that our organizations remain credible to the people we are serving, and to ensure that we have the capacity and local knowledge required to make the biggest impact.

  4. Robert Poole Says:

    Thanks for the inside scoop Robert! When I first found out about the Bike Coalitions a couple of years ago, I assumed they were all under the same umbrella and was surprised to find out they are entirely separate organizations. However, I understand your point about representing different geographical regions and demographics. It’s interesting how although the East Bay and San Francisco are so close to one another, it seems like they are perceived by the majority of the population as separate entities. Thanks again for the information and I’ll make sure to follow your work more closely. You guys are having a great impact on the Bay Area!!

  5. Robert Prinz Says:

    “When I first found out about the Bike Coalitions a couple of years ago, I assumed they were all under the same umbrella and was surprised to find out they are entirely separate organizations.”

    I think that happens a lot, and it is why we will be moving forward on some plans in the coming year to help us differentiate ourselves from the other Bay Area coalitions, encouraging more East Bay folks to sign up as members as well as SF, North Bay, and South Bay cyclists who bike in the East Bay too.

    If you are ever in the Jack London Square area of Oakland feel free to stop by our new office (419 Water Street) and say “Hi”. Thanks again!

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