Do you see walking and biking as important to our community, and want to learn about the health and economic benefits? Have you ever wanted to know how a new bike lane or sidewalk gets built? Have you wondered how you could make more active transportation possible?
If your new year’s resolution is to be an active participant in community change for walking and biking, join the Spring 2022 Class of Walk Bike Ambassadors. The City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) is looking to create a strong human network to support continued growth of our street network for safe walking and biking for all ages and abilities throughout Columbia. BPAC is seeking individuals with experience or interest in education, fitness, health, traffic safety, or community activism to serve as Walk Bike Ambassadors that will empower, train, and lead members of their neighborhood and/or community. Individuals may participate in the program as representatives of neighborhoods/community groups or as active citizens with a personal interest.
Individuals who live or work in the City of Columbia and who are motivated to become more informed, effective, and influential participants in planning and policy decision-making are encouraged to apply. Individuals will participate in a brief training series that builds skills around walking and biking promotion and introduces them to local resources to get involved in planning processes in the community. Following this training, Walk Bike Ambassadors are equipped to share their knowledge with others and can partner with the City’s BPAC and other organizations as a liaison for walking/biking concerns and volunteer for walk/bike initiatives.
To join the Walk Bike Ambassador program:
- Complete an application HERE (due March 21, 2022 by 5pm) – spaces are limited!
- Participate in the Ambassador Academy, a training/orientation hosted by BPAC and the City
o The three-class curriculum will be held on Monday evenings from 6-8pm, April 4, April 18, and May 2:
- How to Take Part in Plans for Walking and Biking in Columbia
- Making the Case for a Safe, Supported Walking and Biking Culture
- How to Be a Leader in Walking/Biking Initiatives in Your Community
o Group experiences include:
- Organized bike ride OR walk and learn (April 10)
- Open Streets Columbia (April 24)
o Class graduation will be held at the May 9th BPAC meeting
o Meetings are planned to be held in-person, pending COVID trends.
Expectations of ambassadors:
- Promote safe walking and biking on streets and trails and advocate on safe walking and bicycling issues, particularly in neighborhood or community group
- Collaborate with BPAC and other Ambassadors to plan a community walk/bike event or project, like a recreational walk or bike ride, walk to school or bike rodeo event for children, artistic sidewalk, or other neighborhood walk/bike projects
- Host educational workshops for neighborhood or other community group to promote walking and biking safety and education within their communities
- Complete one contact-free volunteer shift each year for the City’s annual bicycle and pedestrian counts in the area nearest you
To sign up, visit https://planninganddevelopment.columbiasc.gov/bike-pedestrian-advisory-committee/#Initiatives . If you have questions regarding the program, contact the Bike Pedestrian Advisory Committee at [email protected]. For information on multimodal transportation planning efforts at the City of Columbia, contact the Planning Division at 803-545-3222 or visit https://www.columbiacompass.org/transportation.html.