Building Political Will for Strong Bike/Walk Programs

November 3, 2009

America Walks’ Board Member Ian Thomas will be the speaker in a webinar on November 18, 2009 at 3 pm Eastern, discussing building political will for strong bike/walk programs and the effective use of the “three-legged stool” model in Columbia, MO.

This webinar will describe how elected officials, local government staff and independent advocates can work together to change the culture of a community. Each partner in this powerful and stable “three-legged stool” has its natural areas of strength, and these can be effectively leveraged by coordinating activities such as community outreach, media advocacy, government services, public funding, political support, legislation and others. Columbia, Missouri, where this approach is led by five-term mayor Darwin Hindman, the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, and the PedNet Coalition, is presented as a case study. Recent successes, such as complete streets legislation, a national model Safe Routes to School program, a $22 million federal Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program grant, and a silver level Bicycle Friendly Communities award, can be attributed to the model.


Ian Thomas, PhD, is Executive Director and co-founder of the PedNet Coalition, a non-profit advocacy organization whose mission is to create a network of bicycle, pedestrian and wheelchair-accessible paths throughout Columbia. From 2001 to 2004, Ian led PedNet’s successful street design standards campaign and developed a daily Walking School Bus program that now serves more than 400 children at 11 schools. He sits on the Safe Routes to School National Partnership Steering Committee and is on the board of America Walks.

Stacia Reilly, MEd, is a health educator with the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services. In 2003, Stacia initiated the partnership between the department and PedNet; subsequently, these two agencies led a community-wide effort to win an Active Living by Design grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She continues to bring institutional credibility and resources to Columbia’s active living efforts through large-scale outreach programs and social marketing campaigns. Stacia is also on the board of the PedNet Coalition.

Darwin Hindman, JD, is mayor of Columbia and a lifelong campaigner for walkable communities, public parks and recreational facilities. In the 1970s and 80s, he spearheaded statewide efforts to create Columbia’s MKT Trail and the cross-state Katy Trail State Park, the nation’s longest rails-to-trails conversion. Since his election as mayor in 1995, he has established the Columbia Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission, the Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health, the Mayor’s Challenge Bike, Walk, and Wheel Week Committee, and a publicly-owned Activity and Recreation Center (ARC).

APBP has applied for one CM credit from the AICP for this webinar. A certificate of attendance for those wanting to claim Professional Development Hours will be available.

Cost is $50 per site for APBP members; $60 per site for non-APBP members. Each site registration includes one phone connection (toll charges apply, or use VoIP), one Internet connection, one set of handouts, and access to the recording. An unlimited number of participants may attend at the same site. To learn how to register, click here.