People want to move, and not only do they want to move, but they are willing to put their money where their wheels are. Maybe the 28-slide presentation didn’t say that in so many words, but the City of St. Augustine Citizen Survey Review (click here for full info) performed by National Research Center (NRC) showed categorically, numerically and statistically what VeloFest has been promoting since April of 2011. We think our movement has had a lot to do with these results: People in St. Augustine want to be active bicycle users.
The timing of this survey’s results couldn’t be better as we look to taking on even greater challenges. We have now seen the success of bikes used as transportation at events such as the Gentlemen of the Road Tour, the St. Augustine 450th Celebration, holiday parades and running events, and the Beach Blast Off. This survey now provides hard data showing that when biking feels safe our community does in fact take to bikes! With the encouragement of VeloFest, our city, county, and beach communities took bold steps in making bicycle and pedestrian safety and mobility center stage at these events. These big efforts are changing our culture. We now have a golden opportunity to build on this success. The state has budgeted more than 83 million dollars for bicycle trails. VeloFest aims to be instrumental in securing some of those funds for our community.
We now know that St. Augustine is a good place to spend that money. The NRC survey shows us that 81% of 1,020 survey respondents, regardless of age, prefer to walk or bike instead of driving, and 85% support increased taxes or fees for improvements of bicycle and pedestrian mobility! VeloFest’s promotion and support of the bicycle culture has changed the car centric behavior of yesterday. With this paradigm shift, we gain an even more beautiful and healthy St. Augustine and St. Johns County ̶ a place where parents and small children go freely and safely to markets and schools. A place where our aging population has more access and freedom without needing the expense of motor vehicle ownership. And a place where safe interconnectivity and access lifts everyone up and opens doors.
We couldn’t be more proud of the impact we have had and will continue to have!
Data collection is key to finding the solutions and moving studies off the shelf and onto the road. Just yesterday, VeloFest submitted a letter of support to the state for our own River to Sea Loop in hopes that we can win funding for trail network completion in Florida. This funding could result in our River to Sea Loop extending from the Atlantic to the St. Johns River. Our letter to the state is at the bottom of this post.
You can help as well. Please take a moment and email Brian Ruscher (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Herb Hiller (email@example.com) with your note of support for this trail. If you want to see the route, please click here: http://www.flgreenway.org/content/sjr2c-st-johns-river-sea-loop
Let’s ensure we keep it moving for the future. We at VeloFest have determined our next steps, and we need you to help us all reach the goals you have made very clear for our community. Please consider a donation today to VeloFest and help us reach our $100,000 fundraising goal to support programs like Bike St. Augustine, the Wrigley Ride, the Let’s Get Pedestrian 5K, and the St. Johns County Bike Route Map. We are also working on new programs, including the “Road Ninja” PSA series, “It’s the Right and Left Thing to Do,” the “Keep it Safe, Keep it Cool” Bike Rodeo, helmet fitting, and so much more. You can donate, get your club or group to rent bicycle parking, contribute as a business to the map, or become either an annual sponsor or premier event sponsor. VeloFest is a volunteer organization so we only accomplish what the community is willing to support. Thank you for your support.
We would also like to thank the many staff, officials, residents and businesses who have supported VeloFest Community Initiative for the last 6 years. It is because of you, your time, funds, sweat, tears, frustrations but most importantly being ever present that the wheels of change are going. Thank you.