Bike coalition cares about community


Courtesy of Ames Bicycle Coalition

Participants listened to a variety of speakers discussing safety for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

Alisha James

The Ames Bicycle Coalition works to advance safe and healthy transportation through biking and walking; part of this includes spreading awareness at events like the Ames Bike Summit on Friday afternoon.

This event was co-sponsored by the Ames Bicycle Coalition and Healthiest Ames in partnership with The Ames Public Library.

The focus of the summit was to improve access to all users of transportation throughout Ames and provide insights into how other communities have been tackling similar issues.

Tony Filippini, transportation planner with Ames Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, hoped to “educate and to reach out with the community in terms of what the planning processes are with the city of Ames and transportation.”

A discussion panel wrapped up the summit, including Eric Snyder with the Ames Police Department.

Snyder enjoys seeing events like these pop up and attending them because he gets to listen to people’s struggles on a more personal level.

“I get to hear from people that are actually out there doing these things and out there moving through the community and trying to travel and dealing with the troubles of doing that,” Snyder said.

Steve Libbey, vice president of Ames Bicycle coalition, hoped to use this summit to continue conversations about what’s going on in Ames to improve safety for biking and walking as well as drivers.

For him, the main point of the summit was to continue the conversation and help people communicate a bit better about safety and concerns with biking and walking.

Citizens from Mason City also spoke at the summit, partly about their ‘blue zones’ project. The city set up blue zones committees, whose goal is to improve community health through better diets and more physical activity.  

Although Ames originally tried to get in on the project, they were not selected.

“We had some members from the Mason City Blue Zones down here to talk a little bit about what they’ve done and how that’s worked for them and that process there as well,” Libbey said. “We had someone from ISU’s facilities management talking about what ISU is doing as far as the biking and walking as well.”

Libbey believes that drivers, cyclists and walkers “need to be respectful of each other,” which he says would help reduce incidents.

“It was a lot of the same issues we regularly hear about transportation and the way the different modes of transportation interact,” Snyder said in regards to common concerns.

“What was most surprising was the number of questions about pedestrians and walkability. At a bike summit, I expected more of it to be focused on biking. But I think we’re dealing with people that are just active and out and moving more than the average person.”

According to Snyder, many people wanted to know what the city is doing to help congestion, often complaining about lights.

“…we all have to realize we’re all in this together and we have to respect each other,” Snyder said. “We have to be patient with each other and respect each other.”