Note: This is the first in a series of posts documenting the efforts of a previously unorganized group of Manchester, New Hampshire, bicyclists to advocate for improvements to the city’s bicycle infrastructure.
It started innocently enough.
On Sept. 7, I posted a picture on my Facebook page of three bicycles (the one in the foreground being mine) parked within 50 feet of each other on a single downtown block here in Manchester, New Hampshire:
The point I made was that it is high time this city of 110,000 make minimal investments in bicycle infrastructure like bike lanes and bike racks. Demand clearly exists. And you can see from the flurry of likes, shares and comments this photo elicited, a number of my fellow Mancunians agreed. It was suggested in the comments that we meet to discuss what we might do to advocate for said bicycle infrastructure improvements.
To help us coordinate a mutually-convenient time to meet, I set up a Doodle poll and we soon found that the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 20, would work for a majority of us. One of my fellow Manchester bicyclists then set up an event page for the meeting on Facebook, through which additional people were invited.
I then promoted the meeting on goodgood manchester, a community site I operate.
This initial group of organizers then began reaching out to other groups and individuals we thought might be philosophically inclined to support this effort, or otherwise want to know what was going on. In addition to inviting individual local bicyclists we all know, representatives of the following groups were invited to the meeting:
- Manchester Community Bike Ride
- Manchester Moves
- New Hampshire Bike-Walk Alliance
- Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission
- City of Manchester Public Works Department
- City of Manchester Planning and Community Development Department
- Commute Green New Hampshire
Given that the meeting’s taking place at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, and given the relatively short meeting notice, not all invited parties will be able to attend, but they did all express appreciation at being asked/included. We promised to keep them in the loop as events progress.
To date, eight people have committed via the Facebook event page to attending, with another couple of people giving me a verbal commitment. We’ll see if anyone else shows up. Not that we or anyone needs a groundswell to show up at a first meeting. Indeed, it’s sometimes better to have a small, dedicated group to organize an initiative,which can then be launched to the larger community.
To be continued…