Our mission is to make bikes accessible to everyone
. Many of our customers depend on their bike as their main mode of transportation, which is tough in a car-centric community. The City has made strides to implement bike-friendly infrastructure (as controversial as it may be)...but the bigger-picture questions also need to be acknowledged: WHO participates in the transportation planning process, and WHO benefits from it?
Old Spokes Home is working to create a Transportation Equity Coalition so we can better advocate from a variety of transportation perspectives. Our goal is to amplify voices that have historically been (intentionally AND unintentionally) barred from the field of community planning, and to better understand how Burlington's different populations get around. In order to accomplish this, we have hired a group of diverse community representatives to inform our advocacy and the advocacy of major players in Burlington's transportation scene. In addition to acting as transportation equity consultants, our reps are working with us and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission to implement a mobility audit in Burlington's Old North End in the fall of 2020.
What is transportation equity?
Different people have different transportation needs, but most of our transportation infrastructure is designed to meet the needs of those who have access to their own vehicle. When transportation needs are met, getting around is not a big deal. Many Burlingtonians, however, don't have access to their own vehicle and struggle with transportation each day. Transportation equity involves understanding and striving to meet the needs of everyone, not just a certain section of the population.
A good way to understand how transportation relates to equity is the concept of "trips not taken". It could look like this: skipping a much-needed grocery trip because you can't get to an affordable supermarket; missing a job interview because your ride fell through; or, not being able to make an important community meeting because you don't have enough time to get there on the bus from your place of work. These trips not taken are products of transportation inequities, which add up to further disadvantage the already disadvantaged.
Transportation equity looks different for everybody. Our intention is to listen, learn, and provide insight regarding how more people's needs can be met in our community.
The ONE Mobility Audit
The Old North End is our community. We work, serve, and ride in this neighborhood every day – it's important to us to understand the transportation needs of our neighbors, even if they don't include bikes. Fewer than 70% of households in the ONE own a car, so how do they navigate life in Burlington? How do they get to work, the grocery store, their doctors, their friends, and their schools? OR not? We are interested in hearing about their transportation struggles and solutions so that we can advocate for them as an organization with a policy platform.
Stay tuned for the results of our audit and the full report. Our plans are to run the audit in December 2020 through March of 2021.
Old Spokes Home's equity work is supported by a Burlington Electric Department grant from The Funder's Network, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, and Vermont Natural Resources Council. If you are interested in hearing more about it, want to meet our reps, or even get involved (yea!), just call the shop at (802) 863-4475, stop by, or e-mail Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.