Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Help Us Put Berks County PA on the Map

The City of Reading is writing the second phase of the Bicycle Friendly Community Application.

Emily Weidner says she wants nothing more than to put us on the map -- Bicycle Friendly Map, that is. She wants see a "Reading is Bicycle Friendly" sign posted as she rides into the city on one of her regular commutes, "in my lifetime." At 82 years of age, Emily has been a leader in community education and encouragement for bicycling most of her life. She is a former President of the Berks County Bicycle Club and a retired League Cycling Instructor. She has done many bicycle education projects and was instrumental in leading Bike to Work 2009 for our county.

Emily is now the Bicycle Community Committee Chair appointed by Mayor McMahon to lead the Reading to become a Bicycle Friendly City. Emily initially organized a small committee of volunteers in 2007 and has been working steadily to gain support and information to complete the application. Andrew Miller, Planner I, worked hard to finalize the phase 1 application and submit it to the League of American Bicyclists.

With increasingly busy schedules, hiring freezes, and the general state of the economy, the writing of the Bike Friendly application phase II has been delayed, for obvious reasons. City staff are also loaded with the stimulus frenzy that has directly effected their project planning and implementation -- causing them to have quite a lot to do in a very short amount of time.

Undeterred, Emily continued to ask, "How can we get this done?" The project has gained new partners and increasing community support because of her commitment.

Now, Juan Zabala, City Intern, is coordinating efforts among city and county stakeholders to complete the paperwork and submit the application perhaps as early as August. If that deadline is missed, the BFC Committee will work to reach the next LAB deadline in March 2010.

Certainly, your input and contributions are always welcome. Write the Mayor's office and thank them for their time and willingness to make Reading, Berks County, PA Bicycle Friendly.

Well done Emily! Well done!

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