How do bike shop owners see the map? A great interview with reflections was just posted by Sahra Sulaiman on LA Streetsblog.
Here’s a telling excerpt from the end:
Looking down at the Ride South L.A. map on the counter, I tried to bring the conversation back to how we might make a tool like that work for the residents themselves, not just outsiders.
There was no good answer to that question. We kept returning to the idea that taking on community habits, culture, and socio-economic constraints required a sustained commitment to community engagement, including extensive outreach, a visible presence, and even speaking directly with some of the families or youth that have clout and who are responsible for some of the safety problems in the streets.
But you do have to start somewhere.
“Ride with the explicit intent of integration,” he suggested. “If you ride for the goal of integrating people, and you are explicit about it, people will join and then more people here will feel compelled to ride.”
The store owner’s mention of integration is important, and reminds us why community projects must often go beyond the silos of city departments. Community projects gain their authority from the community itself, and so must be inclusive of people and look across social issues. A focus beyond bicycling to the whole community is not just a good tactic — it may be essential for the legitimacy of the project.