SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

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Innovative New "BikeMobile" Fix-it Service Launches as Part of Alameda County's Safe Routes to Schools Program

ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif., April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- On April 24, 2012, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) with partner Cycles of Change will launch the new BikeMobile program and the newly designed BikeMobile vehicle at an inaugural ceremony and bike "Fix-a-Thon" event at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Berkeley. The BikeMobile and its bicycle mechanic staff will visit schools and community organizations and events to deliver no-cost hands-on bicycle repair and bicycle safety training to promote riding bikes to school. While Alameda County children are the primary beneficiaries, the BikeMobile will also reach out to interested parents, teachers and community members, especially in low-income communities.

BikeMobile Fix-a-Thons are pre-arranged using an online signup form at www.bike-mobile.org. On the designated day, students bring their bikes to the BikeMobile, recognizable by its bright graphics, parked at their school or other pre-determined location. BikeMobile staff supply parts and expertise to help youth repair their bikes. Safety-essential accessories, such as locks, lights and bike helmets, are also available to increase bike safety, and encourage children's enthusiasm for riding bikes to school.

New Program under Safe Routes to Schools
The BikeMobile is a pilot program managed under the Alameda CTC's Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) program that will run through November 2013. The Alameda County SR2S program, started by Alameda CTC in 2007, continues to reduce traffic congestion and promote healthy habits by working with educators, parents and kids to increase walking, biking and carpooling to school. Seventy percent of the schools to be visited by the BikeMobile are partners in the SR2S program. The BikeMobile will also visit non-SR2S schools, community centers, parks and local events across the county.

BikeMobile in Action
The BikeMobile program is being implemented by Cycles of Change with Alameda CTC acting in an oversight role. Cycles of Change has promoted cycling as a primary means of safe, enjoyable, accessible, inexpensive, healthy, and sustainable transportation since 1998. Over the years, staff have learned that a large number of children are unable to ride because of broken or poorly-maintained bicycles, which are unsafe or uncomfortable to use. Many of these children do not live near bicycle shops, nor do they have resources to pay for bicycle repair.

The BikeMobile has already made several successful test visits to sites including: the Manzanita Community School's Wellness Fair in Oakland on January 21, 2012; the Malcolm X Elementary School in Berkeley on February 8, 2012 (a SR2S location); and Oak Center One Apartments in Oakland on February 18, 2012. The BikeMobile will be especially active during the "Bike to Work Month" of May with scheduled visits to Foothill High School in Pleasanton (May 2), James Logan High School in Union City (May 8), and other schools and locations.

The BikeMobile is expected to make up to 275 site visits over two years. Requests for a BikeMobile visit can be made online (http://bike-mobile.org).

How the BikeMobile is Funded
Both the BikeMobile and SR2S programs are funded in part through Measure B, Alameda County's half-cent transportation sales tax passed by voters in 1986, and again in 2000. Cycles of Change, a nonprofit organization and partner in the SR2S program, initiated the concept of the BikeMobile and approached Alameda CTC in August 2010 to apply jointly for a grant from the MTC Climate Initiatives Program. The majority of the program's funds come from the Climate Initiatives Program, an $80 million effort approved in December 2009 that aims to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. This program was one of four pilots funded by MTC to support innovative efforts aimed at getting children and their families to use alternative transportation as a means of reducing their carbon footprint.

A $500,000 grant was awarded by the MTC in mid-2010. The Alameda CTC is using Measure B funds to provide an 11.5% local match as required by the MTC grant, bringing the grant total to $565,000.

About the Alameda County Transportation Commission
The mission of the Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) is to plan, fund and deliver transportation programs and projects that expand access and improve mobility to foster a vibrant and livable Alameda County. Alameda CTC coordinates countywide transportation planning and delivers the expenditure plan for the half-cent sales tax approved by 81.5% of county voters in 2000. For more information, visit www.alamedactc.org.

About the Metropolitan Transportation Commission
MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

SOURCE Metropolitan Transportation Commission

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