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The wheels of progress

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

BikePGH is now 10 years old and has become not just the leading advocate for a bike-friendly city but a motivator of public policy that addresses bicycle commuting and safety.bikelane

The non-profit, based near Doughboy Square in Lawrenceville, held its annual member meeting last night at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty and recognized numerous contributors to this cause.

As a mature organization with five full time staff members, BikePGH will be taking over the annual Pedal Pittsburgh event from the Community Design Center, which launched the bicycle festival more than 10 years ago.

Spokesman Lou Fineberg reports that BikePGH recently completed a strategic planning summit and a collaboration with the Allegheny County Health Department on a new program — Safe Routes to School — and is working on establishing a bike-share system like those in Washington, Denver, Minneapolis, and New York.

BikePGH recognized nine Pittsburgh organizations as Bike Friendly Employers (whose reps are shown in the photo below): Carnegie Mellon University, Deeplocal, Inspecttech, pair Networks, Pashek Associates, The Priory Hotel, University of Pittsburgh, and UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside.

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The Mechanical Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon also received recognition for the strides they’ve made to encourage bike commuting within their department.
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“The one thing all of these employers have in common is a commitment to make sure their workplace is creating a culture that supports the choice to ride a bike to work,” BikePGH’s executive director Scott Bricker said.

Other awards were made to:

Organization of the Year: Mullen Advertising in the Strip

“Since 2009, Mullen has been closely involved with BikePGH sharing expertise surrounding traditional advertising and public relations particularly around the launch of BikePGH’s Car Free Fridays and the Bike Friendly Employer program. Mullen also helped develop last year’s Car Free Calculator, positioning the Pittsburgh region prominently in this year’s National Bike Challenge. As regular sponsors of BikePGH’s programs Mullen has demonstrated an high level of commitment to bike advocacy in Pittsburgh."

Advocate of the Year: Michael Boyd, an associate professor of music at Chatham University

“Mike was instrumental in helping the University rank among the first recipients of BikePGH’s Bike Friendly Employers awards last year. Since then Mike has taken the lead in starting Share the Road East, a Bicycle/Pedestrian Committee made up of residents from Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs to promote bicycle improvements just outside the city’s borders. Mr. Boyd also recently earned a seat on the Board of Commissioners in Wilkins Township where he’s made clear that he wants to see more attention on bicycle facilities.”

Volunteer of the Year: Erica Peters of Bloomfield

“Erica’s commitment to BikePGH goes above and beyond,” explains Becca Susman, BikePGH’s Membership and Outreach Coordinator. “She is not only always willing to help out, but also finds ways to connect the work of Bike Pittsburgh with her other interests.”

Outstanding Commitment Awards: Nathan Swartz, of “ClickNathan Handmade Websites,” and Todd Derr of Squirrel Hill

“Nathan redesigned the organization’s website five years ago because of his dedication to safer bicycling conditions in Pittsburgh. BikePGH’s website has since received accolades and awards for it’s fun, easy to navigate interface. A new redesign is scheduled to take place by year’s end courtesy of Mr. Swartz.”

“As a BikePGH member Todd Derr volunteers and contributes regularly to the organization. He even staged a BikePGH membership campaign at his workplace, Google. Todd is also a regular contributor to BikePGH’s Message Board, an online community that welcomes and is supportive to all bicyclists.”

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