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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bicycle-Friendly Community Workshop Held at SU June 6

SALISBURY, MD---Want to make Salisbury a more bicycle-friendly community?

Organizers of the bike-SBY initiative hold a community workshop at Salisbury University on Wednesday, June 6, from 6-9 p.m. in Henson Science Hall, Room 103.

Matt Wempe, advocacy coordinator for the League of American Bicyclists, discusses what it means to be a bicycle-friendly community. He also explains how Salisbury can develop a local program centered on the 5 E’s:  engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement and evaluation.

“By the end of the night we hope have more organized groups of volunteers who can help us take the next steps,” said Matt Drew, executive vice president of AWB Engineers and bike-SBY founder. The group is working to create a safe and useful network of bike lanes within Salisbury.

For Drew, the initiative started last fall as project for an SU geographic information systems class he took as a continuing education requirement.

“We had to use GIS to solve a real-world problem,” he said. A recreational cyclist who recently moved into the city, Drew decided to explore the potential demand for bike lanes for riders like himself, and for utility cyclists who use bikes as daily transportation. 

Using data about SU staff, he plotted residents within the reasonable commuting distance of two miles. He also used State Highway Administration data to find roads that met criteria for lanes. The model worked; he had a tool to examine and justify the need.  

This spring, once his class was over, Drew partnered with the Wicomico Board of Education, Peninsula Regional Medical Center and SU to get more data about where employees and students live to project the possible usage of lanes. 

“We’re not just saying, ‘We think this is a great idea,’” Drew said. “Through my GIS study, I can prove that the demand for bike lanes is there because I’m basing it on real-world information about where people live, work or go to school. We’ve been successful so far because we are able to use GIS to make a very strong case with facts, not just opinions.”

Drew said Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton, who also speaks at the workshop, sees the concept as a way to support downtown redevelopment, and connect SU and the hospital.

Bike-SBY organizers are awaiting notification of a grant request for construction funding. SU and its Sea Gull Century bike ride have offered matching support.

The workshop is supported by Bike Maryland, a nonprofit devoted to helping communities, businesses and universities achieve bicycle-friendly status from the League of American Bicyclists. For more information, visit www.bikemd.org.

To RSVP for the workshop, or learn more about bike-SBY, visit www.bike-sby.org. To view the Bicycle Friendly America Blueprint visit: www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/bicyclefriendlyblueprint.



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