Another Success in Atlanta: Q&A with Action 2020 Workshop Participants
Earlier this month, the Advocacy Advance team had a wonderful experience — and a great bike ride — at the Atlanta Action 2020 Workshop. A group of more than 50 advocates, agency staff, and elected officials from across the region met to learn more about federal, state, and local funding sources and practices, and how to make bicycles and pedestrians a local priority. It also provided a unique and productive chance for professionals from different sectors to network and share information.
The workshop was hosted by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and the Atlanta Regional Commission. To provide some insight on the impact and take-aways from the workshop, I spoke with Brent Buice, Executive Director of Georgia Bikes! and Fred Boykin, Decatur City Commission, District 1.
Advocacy Advance: What did you know about federal funding coming into the workshop?
Brent Buice: I knew a lot about Transportation Enhancements (TE) and Safe Routes to School (SRTS), and an emerging awareness of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). I had heard a little bit about Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ), but didn’t know anything else about the other programs.
Fred Boykin: I had some knowledge about TE and the local Livable Cities and Centers initiatives from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). Outside of that, I wasn’t too familiar with the other sources that were presented. It was really beneficial for me to see the statistics and comparisions between Georgia and other states.
AA: What are some lessons you learned at the workshop?
BB: The presentation on how to institutionalize bicycling and walking really stuck with me, particularly the idea of a budget being a moral document. This underscores the fundamental importance of advocacy. It’s about social and economic justice for citizens to have access to transportation choices.
FB: It was interesting to hear that others can get just as frustrated with the time and effort needed to do a TE project as myself. Talking with our counterparts at ARC about this frustration was really helpful.
AA: Did you make any beneficial connections with other workshop participants?
BB: I was very excited to see advocates from Augusta, GA whose organization we helped start. They were there dedicating time and energy to hit the ground running. I also got to meet the Atlanta Beltline folks, who are working on a great project that everyone in Georgia can be proud to see built.
FB: I knew a lot of folks, but don't get to see them often, let alone in one room! It was a good opportunity to chat with Bryon [Rushing, ARC Senior Planner, Bicycle and Pedestrian] in his new role. Plus, I got to meet the people in charge of a great greenway project up in Woodstock, GA.
AA: How the workshop will impact your work going forward?
BB: I’m going to be more effective at a base level because I have more knowledge. On another level, I expanded my group of contacts, from the federal down to local levels. I’ve got a lot more tools in the toolbox for our next discussion with GDOT.
FB: The workshop was timely given the federal transportation bill difficulties for bicycles and pedestrians. It was a chance to learn what funding opportunities are available and how our region can make bicycle and pedestrian projects a meaningful part of the competitive funding process.
Action 2020 Workshops are part of the Advocacy Advance program – a partnership of the League of American Bicyclists and Alliance for Biking and Walking. The workshops are designed to ensure advocates, agency staff, and elected officials have the knowledge, skills, and resources to access untapped and under-utilized federal funding sources. To learn more, visit our Trainings page.