As I noted last week, there are lots of ways to make a difference in cycling in Arlington. One of the more formalized - and important - ways to do it is to get involved with the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC). It meets on the first Monday of every month, and every meeting is open to the public.
The BAC is formally set up by Arlington County as an advisory body to the County Manager. What that translates to is that the BAC regularly meets with Arlington County staff from the transportation, planning, and parks departments. Discussions range from planning for the next big project (say, the Washington Boulevard Trail) to maintenance needs for our trails (something tells me that snow clearing will be back on the agenda in the near future).
While much of the BAC's work is reactive - that is, giving feedback on new development proposals or addressing problematic facilities - it also develops a forward-looking agenda. The BAC recently elected a new chair and is in the process of setting and examining its goals for the next year and a half.
I've got a lot of confidence in the new chair - Jakob Wolf-Barnett - and other long-time members of the BAC. But it's important that, like the new cyclists added to our streets, new voices and perspectives are added to the BAC. One look around the room tells you that the BAC doesn't yet reflect the diversity of Arlington's cyclists, and that's something the BAC would like to change.
While there are formal BAC members, the BAC actively encourages and considers feedback from anyone at a meeting. So your attendance need not be a mere exercise in listening to what's going on, but in actively helping shape cycling in Arlington.
The BAC's next meeting is tonight (Monday, November 5th) at 6:30 p.m. in the first floor conference room at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. Come lend your voice.
Of course, in-person meetings aren't the only way to participate and help cycling. More of an online type? Head over to the Washington Area Bike Forums and jump right in.
Mark Blacknell is a member of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee, president of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and a League Cycling Instructor.