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Posts tagged "youth"

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First-Ever Sunday Streets Event Transforms Downtown Berkeley

Some 40,000 people flooded downtown Berkeley on a brilliantly sunny day in October, as the city became the latest in the San Francisco Bay Area to host a "Sunday Streets" open streets-style event.  Organizers closed 17 blocks of Berkeley's Shattuck Avenue to cars––and opened them to pretty much everything else. Cyclists pedaled, hula hoops turned, children frolicked, climbers scaled a mobile rock wall, and musicians inspired scores to break out in dance.  Families took leisurely strolls through streets transformed, while restaurants in North Berkeley's "gourmet ghetto" turned a brisk business.  Residents surveyed a demonstration "parklet" that could soon see Berkeley parking spaces transformed into temporary green spaces, and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition showcased plans for a major upgrade to the city's bicycle network at Hearst Avenue.

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Gaining Momentum: Youth Bike Summit 2012

More than 275 people from 20 states and three countries came to the second annual Youth Bike Summit over the weekend of January 13. Organized by pioneering NYC community bike shop Recycle-A-Bicycle, the three day conference was a chance for young bike advocates to share strategies and draw inspiration from the keynote speakers, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Youth Leader Alpha Barry. Said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists: “It’s nice to see a movement grow with events like this… inspiring the next generation of bicycle advocates.”

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Self-Reliance Grows in the Utrecht Traffic Garden

In the Dutch city of Utrecht, kids start learning about traffic safety long before they prepare for a driver's license. And not just "look both ways before you cross the street."

The school curriculum includes regular field trips to the local "traffic garden." The City of Utrecht has used this facility, a streetscape in miniature, to teach kids the rules of the road since the 1950s. Students take turns as cyclists, pedestrians and car drivers, learning how to take other types of street users into consideration. The hands-on experience navigating the traffic garden gives kids the skills and confidence to get around the city under their own power as soon as their early teens.

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The First Annual Youth Bike Summit

Pasqualina and organizer Helen Ho send the following report from the proceedings:

More than 200 participants from 14 states and two countries came to New York this past weekend to swap ideas, learn bicycle advocacy best practices and build nationwide momentum in the country’s first-ever Youth Bike Summit, sponsored by Recycle-A-Bicycle. The youth spent three days learning everything from map-making techniques to political organizing strategies, participating in roller races and developing an action plan to advance biking in NYC and places beyond.

To kick things off, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan acknowledged the event’s female leaders by evoking Susan B. Anthony’s 1896 quote, "I think the bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world." She then introduced Kimberly White, an 18 year old intern at Recycle-A-Bicycle as the Summit’s keynote speaker.

Kimberly related her personal transformation from a 16-year-old couch potato watching 36 hours of television a week, whose 4-year-old sister had superior bike handling skills, to a comfortable cyclist who had built her very own bicycle. This led to an opportunity to attend the 2010 National Bike Summit, where Kimberly and other NYC delegates asked legislators to make biking and walking safer for kids. She now seeks to empower other youth by urging legislators to keep streets safe for all young people in New York City.

In one workshop, Dr. Edward Fishkin, the director of medical services at Woodhull Hospital, spoke about his creation of a Kids Ride Club 15 years ago. From spring through fall, Dr. Fishkin leads weekly rides ford kids ages 7-19 with fun destinations and healthy lunches. Their motto is “Have fun and ride safe.” Fishkin calculated that in the 2010 season the Kids Ride Club burned a collective total of 1.5 million calories on the rides.

On day three of the conference, all of the participants formulated a plan based on what they'd learned during the weekend on topics such as education and advocacy campaigns, infrastructure designs, and diversity-boosting strategies. They vowed to band together to research the issues, publicize their findings, and create change. Clearly, this is a young group with a lot of energy. Legislators and decision-makers, watch out!

To follow the progress of the youth bike advocacy movement, go to www.recycleabicycle.org, and for more information on how to get involved contact Pasqualina Azzarello, Executive Director of Recycle-A-Bicycle, at director[at]recycleabicycle[dot]org.

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Walk To School Day NYC with Rahzel

In New York City, about 80 percent of kids walk to school. This is amazingly high compared to the national average of about 13 percent.

On October 7, over 40 countries celebrated International Walk to School Day. In New York City, Livable Streets Education and the National Center for Safe Routes to School hosted a walk to school celebration in Washington Square Park in conjunction with the Walk 21 Conference.

After students participated in activities promoting better urban mobility, Gil Penalosa spoke to the students and beatbox master Rahzel performed.

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The Prospect Park Youth Advocates

The Prospect Park Youth Advocate Internship Program is Transportation Alternative's first youth led campaign focused on making Prospect Park car-free.  Four talented Brooklyn high school students worked hard all summer to rejuvenate the car-free Prospect Park campaign while learning first hand about advocacy and community organizing. They blogged (check out http://youthforcarfreeparks.org/), performed street theater, met with New York City Council members, appeared on television, recorded cars breaking the speed limit in the loop drive, and gave out free lemonade and ice tea to park goers.  On September 15, 2008, the Youth Advocates, joined by supporters from Freedom Academy High School, the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment and the Brooklyn Steppers Marching Band, marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to rally at City Hall and hand deliver more than 10,000 signed postcards asking Mayor Bloomberg for a car-free Prospect Park.  Simply put, these young Brooklynites are awesome.