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Municipalities in SW Pa: Grant Opportunity to help create a more bike-friendly community

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Pedals & Pedestrians – Request For Proposals

From the Sustainable Pittsburgh RFP:

“An active community is a healthy community.” This statement applies not only to physically active communities, but also to civically engaged communities concerned about their region. Numerous committees, like Parent-Teacher organizations, legislative assemblies, and boards of health, play significant roles in communities throughout the state. However, emerging issues such as cyclist/pedestrian safety also require advocates. With the formation of such a committee, concerned community stakeholders can effectively and responsibly advocate, educate, and promote bike and pedestrian safety while simultaneously building and strengthening communal roots and foundations.

With gas prices rapidly increasing, alternative modes of transportation, especially walking and cycling, are steadily growing in popularity. Unfortunately, the lack of designated areas for people to walk or bicycle may make these activities unsafe for individuals in their communities. In the United States alone, nearly 64,000 pedestrians are injured in road accidents each year, resulting in approximately 5,000 deaths.

Medical costs related to the subsequent injuries and fatalities amount to nearly $4 billion. Municipalities that promote safe biking and walking practices create foundations for healthier, more civically engaged neighborhoods. We believe that a friendlier, safer, and more accessible community for bikers and walkers will benefit all residents. While once-smoky Pittsburgh has shed its moniker of “Hell with the Lid Off,” the city still has some of the worst air quality in the nation. In a May 2012 study conducted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Pittsburgh ranked as the fourth- worst city for asthma sufferers. Using alternative modes of transportation will help cut harmful emissions and improve the quality of air in Pittsburgh, enhancing overall regional health.

In addition to reducing air pollution, the promotion of alternative transportation can help to address many of the city’s other lingering problems: public transportation cuts, high obesity rates, and low activity levels. An increase in pedestrian-cyclist safety and advocacy will help the region and its municipalities become a far more sustainable and attractive place to live.

Funding Opportunity

The Heinz Endowments Summer 2013 Youth Philanthropy Interns, in conjunction with Sustainable Pittsburgh and the Local Government Academy, are pleased to announce a new, innovative grant opportunity: “Pedals & Pedestrians.”

After exploring many challenges affecting the region today, we, the Sustainable Pittsburgh-based interns, are interested in increasing the popularity and accessibility of biking and walking in southwestern Pennsylvania. To achieve this goal, we seek to create formalized municipal bike/ped committees, boards,etc. (referred to as “committee” henceforth). These committees will help plan, program, evaluate, and advocate for biking and walking as a safe, prominent means of transportation. The funded committee should work to: (1) ensure the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians; (2) educate the community about the advantages of sustainable transportation methods; and (3) promote positive motorist-bicyclist and motorist-pedestrian relations. Committees should prioritize teaching joint driver-pedestrian-cyclist safety protocols, as well as the benefits of alternative, non-polluting modes of transportation.

Through these efforts, funded municipalities will enhance their communities through more sustainable practices in terms of air quality, community engagement, alternative mobility, and many other long-term benefits. In addition, the municipality will serve as a positive local example of sustainability through civic engagement, which other communities can replicate.

We seek to award funding from a total available pool of $25,000 to municipalities and/or their recognized nonprofit partner(s) to create or expand upon a bike and pedestrian advocacy and safety committee, as well as an education/safety campaign within the community. Grants will be awarded based upon a proposal’s potential long-term benefits to the community. We welcome novel but feasible ideas for grant funds to further the proposal goals. These ideas may include leveraging other resources as well as other unique, innovative ideas not mentioned in this document.

Project Goals

Community Capacity: Creation of sustained committee through civic engagement (specifically a committee, council, group, etc.) to regularly discuss, plan, program, and advocate for bicycle/pedestrian safety, awareness and community amenities.

Suggestions:

  • Formalizing a community bike/ped council, committee, board, etc. that meets regularly to plan, program, evaluate, and advance bicycle/pedestrian safety and protocol.

Education: Educating the public about bicycle and pedestrian safety, ensuring that both automobile drivers and alternative commuters will be more aware, safe, and secure.

Suggestions:

  • Providing bicycle/pedestrian safety and awareness classes to large groups.
  • Posting road signs to notify automobile drivers of bike/ped access.
  • Facilitating increased awareness of areas that are bicycle/pedestrian friendly or designating as such.
  • Creating education initiatives to inform the community of safe, sustainable transportation.

Infrastructure: Adapting locations to accommodate walking, biking, and other similar transportation modes.

Suggestions:

  • Creating more bicycle/pedestrian-friendly areas, such as separate bike/walking lanes.
  • Extending, adding, and/or renovating sidewalks for pedestrians.
  • Promoting the benefits of sustainable practices of biking and walking.

Who May Apply

Any municipal government in southwestern Pennsylvania (within the 10-county region) may apply for the grant opportunity. Nonprofits who partner and work with a specific municipality may also apply; however, in said case, substantiation (by the municipality) of the partner relationship (in structure and depth) must be included in the completed grant application.

Application Prerequisites

A condition of eligibility for this grant opportunity is that the municipality that is applicant (or partner to a nonprofit applicant) has either earned on-line certification or pledged on-line to become certified through the Sustainable Community Essentials Certification (by the due date of this request for proposals). The sustainable municipality certification is based on an online self-assessment points and verification system to recognize municipalities for their performance across essential sustainability categories and criteria (ex. public safety; water use, conservation, and quality; thriving local green business; mobility, etc.). The certification website is: www.sustainablecommunityessent.....ials.org.

To begin the certification or pledge to become certified process, a municipality will need to access the password, obtainable by calling: (412) 258-6643.

For more information, see the complete Request for Proposals:

www.sustainablepittsburgh.org/....._FINAL.pdf

Sustainable Pittsburgh

425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1335

Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (412) 258-6643

cgould@sustainablepittsburgh.org

or

mwall@heinzinterns.org (412) 335-2976

Grant applications are due by 5 PM, August 2nd, 2013.

Proposals received after the above time will not be considered for funding.


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