Creating a Bike/Walk Community: What is a BPAC?

Chances are, if you are reading this, you may be interested in making your community a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly place. This will be a much easier process if you can work with others who are also interested in community improvements. Finding the right leaders to champion the cause can make all the difference. No one can guarantee immediate success, but there are tactics that have been successful in cities across the country. Assembling people to form a Bicycle and Pedestrian Action Committee (BPAC) is a common approach to making progress which connects community members with local authorities to assess conditions and create plans for improvement. These plans can then be submitted for adoption by government. Active SWV has been working with communities in Fayette and Raleigh Counties over the past two years to develop BPACs and prioritize the changes and improvements that are needed for more bikeable/walkable communities. The main idea is to invite everyone to the table and collect input from a cross-section of the community.

The community of Mount Hope, West Virginia is working to connect a network of designated walking routes that will include its historic downtown, a one-mile fitness trail, and a rails-to-trails project. These non-motorized trails will also link the Mount Hope to the New River Gorge and to the community of Glen Jean.

Bike/Walk Beckley is a group comprised of community members and leaders that has met each month for the past year to plan better connections for bicyclists and pedestrians in the Beckley area. Working alongside WVU Tech and Beckley Events, and Beckley Parks and Recreation, Bike/Walk Beckley has helped plan community events focused on bike safety and helped to install public bicycle and pedestrian amenities.

In Spring 2018, Active SWV published the first edition of its Creating a Bike/Walk Community guide. This guide was created to be used by Community Captains and members of BPACs as a tool for identifying and prioritizing bike/walk projects in their communities.

In addition to helping plan projects and improvements to bicycle and pedestrian facilities, a BPAC can also help plan events and activities that encourage and facilitate more physical activities in your community. If you are interested starting a BPAC in your community or know someone that may be, please let Active SWV know!

Click Here to View the Active SWV Bike/Walk Manual

Click here to view the Active SWV Creating a Bike/Walk Community Manual

Active SWV’s Mission Statement: 

ActiveSWV develops activities and programs to create a culture of exercise and physical activity in Southern West Virginia. Transforming Southern West Virginia into a more physically active community is our main purpose. A happy and healthy community will attract visitors, new businesses, and jobs. Active SWV seeks to improve the health of all southern West Virginians by providing opportunities for active lifestyles. This goal will help diversify our region’s economic development by attracting businesses looking for a community where living a healthy, active lifestyle is a priority.

This mission is achieved through community volunteers who lead regular physical activities around the four-county New River Gorge region. These Community Captain volunteers are seeking healthier lifestyles themselves and experience accountability in leading groups. These volunteers are provided training and certifications to facilitate quality programs while also creating the opportunity for Community Captains to obtain resume-building qualifications. Active SWV started its Bike/Walk Program to help provide interested volunteer leaders with a clear understanding of what  is needed to create more bikeable/walkable communities and the resources to help make this a reality.

Active SWV Bike/Walk seeks to help the communities of southern West Virginia reach their fullest potential in providing opportunities for people to be physically active. Communities are made up of people and communities should be accessible to people by all modes of movement! Active Southern West Virginia can offer support to the communities of southern West Virginia that seek to become more bicycle friendly. Our Bike/Walk program and its staff will work alongside members of your community to assess the best ways to plan the transition.

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