Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News
Last fall, we highlighted how bicycling means business by boosting revenues at bike-accessible businesses. Now there’s a free opportunity for qualified businesses and organizations in Keene and Swanzey to make bicycling mean business for them, through a community-based bicycle rack initiative called “Rack It Up!”
Not only does bicycling bring extra business to businesses, biking contributes more to our local economy than driving — on average, only sixteen percent of our car expenses stay in our local economy.
Interested businesses located in bicycle-friendly areas — with existing bicycle traffic or destinations for people traveling by bike — will receive free or subsidized bicycle racks. Participants are also encouraged to offer incentives and amenities that support bicyclists, such as covered bike parking, Bicycle Benefits and other meaningful perks for employees and customers traveling by bike. Learn more about Bicycle Benefits, a volunteer program that provides bicycle customers special discounts or buying privileges.
The Rack It Up! program is an initiative of the Monadnock Region Transportation Management Association (MRTMA), a community coalition implementing sustainable transportation solutions in the Monadnock Region. In 2014, the program brought 90 new bicycling parking spaces to Keene at the Monadnock Food Co-op, Savings Bank of Walpole, United Church of Christ, Keene Housing, Southwestern Community Services, Community Kitchen and City of Keene Department of Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries.
“We’re doing this for a whole host of reasons,” says Chuck Redfern, board member of Pathways for Keene, which is a member of the MRTMA. “With this initiative we are improving conditions for community health, providing a solution for areas with limited parking, reducing greenhouse gases and providing the public a more convenient and affordable transportation choice that can save residents hundreds to thousands of dollars every year. We are trying to normalize bicycling as a legitimate form of transportation in the Monadnock Region.”
Funding for the program comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through a grant called Partnerships to Improve Community Health, awarded to the Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth Hitchcock Keene on behalf of Healthy Monadnock 2020. This initiative supports a multi-sector coalition in Cheshire County working to address the leading risk factors for the major causes of death and disability in the United States: tobacco use, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity.
“Rack it Up! is a great program that helps us build a stronger community by making bicycle transportation more user friendly,” says Michael Faber, the general manager of the Monadnock Food Co-op and past Rack It Up! participant. “The benefits of having bike transportation more commonly used are going to be huge for us in the future, both in terms of reducing our dependence on automobiles and promoting a healthy community where we are all actively exercising and living a healthy lifestyle.”
“Our goal is to create 100 new secure bicycle parking spaces throughout Keene and Swanzey,” says Mari Brunner, Planning Technician for Southwest Region Planning Commission, which is a member of the MRTMA. “We will be at the Kiwanis Kool Wheels event on May 2nd at the Keene Parks and Recreation Center on Washington Street from 10 am to 12 pm to promote the program and get the word out. This is a great opportunity, so if you are interested, don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more.”
For more about Rack It Up!, please visit monadnockTMA.org/rackitup or contact Mari Brunner from the Southwest Region Planning Commission at email@example.com or 603-357-0557.
Ready to become a “Rack Star?” Fill out the Rack It Up! Interest Form at monadnocktma.org/rackitupform. Learn more about MRTMA’s other efforts such as Complete Streets, Green Bikes and Safe Routes to School: monadnocktma.org/programs.
While we have business owners’ attention, the deadline is fast approaching for locally owned businesses to join Monadnock Buy Local in time to be listed in our 2015-2016 Buy Local Guide. Distributed throughout the Monadnock Region, the Buy Local Guide provides an opportunity to show off that you’re locally owned and proud! Join Monadnock Buy Local today.