Just a quick shout-out to Ward 18 in the city’s west end. They’ve released the minutes from their latest meeting and there are some things in there other groups (or wannabe groups) can learn.
FUN! Ward 18 has really stood out for me during the past year as I try to keep abreast of bike stuff in Toronto (and in turn pass it along to you here on BikingToronto) as they run unique and fun sounding events. A Garden Ride, a Polka Ride, a Portugese Custard Tart Ride. Fun is how you get people involved and engaged. Not politics, not advocacy. Fun. Politics and advocacy are a by-product of engaged and committed people… brought together by fun.
ENGAGEMENT: Ward 18 pays attention to infrastrucure – where bikelanes are needed, and how to improve access to existing trails, but they realize that infrastructure is only 1 of many agenda items. I’ve read too many Ward group minutes that talk only about bikelanes and nothing about engaging the ward community. With enough engagement, the infrastructure is easier to get.
PARTNERSHIPS: Ward 18’s first item under planning events for 2014-15? “Keep W18 events free and accessible to all.” This is followed by an idea to engage with cyclists in nearby apartment buildings by working with supers to get access to party rooms and lobbies, perhaps working with Bike Pirates to offer free tune-ups. Ward 18 understands that partnerships often make things easier.