Earlier this year, MassBike teamed up with WatsonActive with support from the Mass in Motion program to offer grants up to $1,000 to organizations for bike-related activities. These grants sought to expand access to bicycling through local capacity building and support projects that work within the framework of the Four E’s of Bicycle Advocacy: Encouragement, Engineering, Education, Evaluation and Planning. Each of the E’s is viewed through the lens of “Equity and Inclusion,” with the goal to increase participation in bicycling for transportation, fitness, and recreation.
MassBike was thrilled to award six organizations across the state with mini-grants to further bike-related activities across the commonwealth. We provided technical assistance to the implementation of the mini-grants through periodic check-ins to ensure the projects stayed on track in the extra challenging year that was 2020.
The Friends of the Mystic to Charles Connector (FM2C) were awarded a mini-grant to fund the translation of the of a multi-use path feasibility study. The funding supported the translation into Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, & Haitian Creole. The translation of these materials is a top priority of the Friends of the Mystic to Charles Connector as immigrant populations are often underrepresented in planning and development processes due to barriers caused by linguistic isolation and lack of subject knowledge. They hope that by translating the materials they can overcome the knowledge and language barriers to engage and activate community members towards the advancement of the connector. The study, a survey, and multilingual public outreach is currently being translated, fliers being made, and the FM2C are looking to launch outreach in spring 2021 throughout the fall 2021.
The Old Colony YMCA and Mass in Motion Taunton were awarded funds to produce a bike map and create a youth bike rodeo video . The funds will help the Old Colony YMCA create and disseminate a bike network map to spotlight safe biking roughouts throughout Taunton as identified by residents. With the help of the Pathways Committee, the bike map has been created and they are planning a survey to go with the map to engage feedback on biking in the community. The bike rodeo videos were delayed due to COVID-19 considerations but are on track to being produced early in 2021 with youth already selected to participate in the videos.
Get FIT’chburg was awarded funds for a bike art mural in downtown Fitchburg near a future rail-trail. They proposed an art installation that would highlight the importance of active living in bicycling in their community. The placemaking initiative would coincide with the City of Fitchburg’s new Rail Trail Project, where bike lanes are slated to connect the rail trail and recent public mural installations. The mural will represent a welcoming and inviting experience for all residents and visitors of Fitchburg to go for a bike ride, walk, or otherwise use the rail trail. We are currently working with our partners to identify the proper location for the mural and exploring bike-themed artwork from local artists to be included in the mural.
Rad Springfield was awarded a mini-grant to help cover stipends for youth training and workplace skills development. The mini-grant helped to fund their “everybody bikes” campaign to strengthen the work of Rad Springfield Community Bike Shop by partnering with Mass in Motion Springfield. Rad Springfield intended to use the money to directly fund stipends for youth to engage in collaborative learning and skill development. By putting money directly in the hands of Springfield’s youth, Rad Springfield hoped the program would help the youth on their way to gainful employment as they learn bike mechanics and leadership skills. The mini-grant funded stipends for the youth who worked through the summer on Rad Springfield’s earn a bike programming. They are currently working on future youth programming to teach rights and responsibility as cyclists and to teach the youth about bike advocacy/engagement with a mentoring aspect to the program.
Cape Ann Mass in Motion was awarded funds to support outreach for a potential Cape Ann Regional Bike Master Plan. Their proposal was to fund an alternative to in-person public meetings so that they could gather input from community members to aid the Regional Bike Master Plan process. Cape Ann Mass in Motion proposed creating an online survey tool to be distributed to their four target communities through the mail and digital means to start the conversation with residents regarding the bike plan. The 12-minute online survey has been created and was distributed to residents for initial feedback. The survey is paired with an online interactive map where participants can mark bicycle routes and mark destinations, barriers, and potential bike share locations. They’ve received over 200 survey responses, which will be available for residents to take through the month of January. Cape Ann Mass in Motion also hosted a series of four virtual forums in November to solicit feedback from residents about the planning process. Residents of all ages participated in these virtual forums and they hope to get residents of all ages whether they bike or not to participate in their Bike Survey and Bike WikiMap.
Worcester Earn-A-Bike’s mini-grant award funded curriculum development and training for youth mechanics. The mini-grant allowed for the development of a hands-on curriculum to teach youth bike mechanic skills. The Worcester Earn-a-Bike program’s philosophy is to put the tools into the hands of the participant which will empower them to make their own repairs and in turn spread bike repair knowledge throughout the community. The youth trained through the mini-grant participated in mobile repair workshops where they assisted earn-a-bike participants in making repairs to their own bikes. By the end of the season, Worcester Earn-a-Bike had distributed over 232 bikes, hosted 17 pop up shops, repaired 112 bikes, and donated over 200 bikes. The youth workers were essential to staffing the program this summer and the bikes distributed helped participants with both commuting and recreational needs.
MassBike is excited about the work we were able to fund with the help of WastonActive. We are looking forward to how this work is able to grow in 2021.