New Year, New Organization:
In an effort to better align the nature of its work with its institutional identity, the Newark Bicycle Committee is re-organizing as a State of Delaware nonprofit corporation with a new name, BikeNewark. The entity remains an independent coalition of city residents, non-residents, and partner liaisons—all of whom are passionate about Moving Bicycling Forward in Newark, Delaware. Current partners are the City of Newark, the University of Delaware, DelDOT, Newark Bike Project, WILMAPCO, Bike Delaware, and the Downtown Newark Partnership.
Why now? The Newark Bicycle Committee had grown exponentially over the past 18 months, in its membership, activities and scope. BikeNewark works collaboratively in the community to create safer bicycling conditions, support community members interested in learning more about how to use their bicycle for sustainable transportation, and normalize bicycling in the community as a realistic option for everyday transportation needs. Community engagement activities include monthly First Friday downtown slow rides, Bike to Work Day, Bike to School Day, UD bicycle education programs and bicycle safety checks together with many community partners. BikeNewark also works closely with its partners to create better and safer bicycle infrastructure and is currently focusing on the development of a low-stress, high-comfort bicycle network throughout Newark, accessible for persons between the ages of 9 and 90.
The decision to more formally conduct business as a nonprofit organization will help establish a sustainable framework for longevity and impact. Pragmatically, the new name change will help differentiate it from a valuable partner organization, the Newark Bike Project and also eliminate the misperception that, as a “committee,” it either fell under the auspices of the City of Newark or WILMAPCO.
With re-branding and re-organization efforts almost complete, BikeNewark is looking to grow its support base. As an all-volunteer group, all forms of assistance are critical to advancing its mission. Those who are interested in supporting BikeNewark’s work in any way should consider available volunteer opportunities and complete our online interest survey. Likewise, visit the website (BikeNewark.org) and/or follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/BikeNewark) or Twitter (@BikeNewark). BikeNewark is now accepting donations, which will be entirely and transparently invested in improving bicycling in Newark.
BikeNewark’s New Website
BikeNewark officially launched its new website—BikeNewark.org—on January 20. The dedicated site allows us to better communicate to the public about bicycling issues and projects within the City of Newark. Each page includes a “Contact/Interact with us!” section to help increase public participation in our efforts to improve bicycling in Newark. The “Blog” page will contain articles of interest on topics related to this mission. The “Resources” section contains useful information, including the Newark Bicycle Plan, maps, official BikeNewark documents, and other useful resource links.
We hope you’ll take a look at the site soon, browse our content, complete our online interest/support survey, offer suggestions for improvement and come back and visit often.
Upcoming Public Meeting on Cleveland Avenue Infrastructure Plans
On Monday, March 6, a public meeting is scheduled to explain the Florida-T concept that is under consideration for the intersection of Cleveland Avenue and Kirkwood Highway. Modeling results conducted by DelDOT will be presented, and anticipated benefits addressing traffic congestion at this intersection will be discussed. Presenters will also review additional curb-to-curb improvements recommended by the Cleveland Avenue Improvement Task Force, including bicycle amenities throughout the corridor.
Please consider attending this meeting to show your support of bicycle improvements in Newark and learn more about the project. This work is planned to be integrated into DelDOT’s upcoming pave-and-rehab project. The meeting will take place from 7-9 p.m. at the Newark Senior Center.
Save the Dates—
Mayor’s Fun Ride and Bike to Work Day
Planning is already underway for Bike Month events in Newark this May. We’re introducing some new twists on these popular activities, so mark your calendars now. We hope to see many old and new faces at both events this year!
Mayor’s Fun Ride
On Saturday, May 6, Newark’s Mayor, Polly Sierer, will be leading the 3rd Annual Mayor’s Fun Ride. The Mayor’s ride is a family-friendly community bike ride to celebrate bicycling as a fun and healthy form of transportation. More details in next month’s issue of The Messenger Bag.
Bike to Work Day
Later in the month, on Friday, May 19, we'll be celebrating National Bike to Work Day in Newark, our annual shout-out to local bike commuters everywhere. Planning is currently underway, and we anticipate a mix of the old and the new. This year, we’re making a special effort to connect with people who have considered using a bike to get to work but weren’t quite sure how to go about it. We’ll be posting commuting tips and information on our social media as well as a sign up sheet for anybody who’d like a riding buddy for their morning and afternoon commutes. Stay tuned!
If you’d like to help plan or volunteer at either of these events, please contact BikeNewark.
Despite Grant Disappointment, BikeNewark and Partners Are Taking the Jump (on Our Own)
This past fall, the City of Newark, with assistance from BikeNewark, applied for an ambitious new program offered by PeopleForBikes—The Big Jump project. The Big Jump is a strategic three-year effort to help show that quickly connecting good bicycle networks and encouraging use can result in a big jump in bicycling, even doubling or tripling the number of trips. Newark was one of 80 cities nationwide that applied with the hope of being one of the ten cities to benefit from The Big Jump project.
Awardees were announced on January 24. Unfortunately, Newark was not one of the ten chosen—Austin, Baltimore, Fort Collins, Los Angeles, Memphis, New Orleans, New York City, Portland, Providence, and Tuscon.
While we’re disappointed that Newark wasn’t selected, BikeNewark still looks forward to working with interested bicyclists and partner organizations to see expanded bicycling facilities and programs that result in less congestion and air pollution, greater comfort and safety, and enhanced health and economy. Want to share innovative ideas for expanding our bicycling network? Do you have artistic, social media, or marketing skills to help market more and safer cycling to our community? Would you enjoy building some demonstrations to show how neighborhood bikeways might function? Like to organize rides? We encourage you to get involved with BikeNewark, joining one of our subcommittees or helping with events.
Winter Photo Contest
Deadline Extended to Feb. 1
The deadline for BikeNewark’s Winter Photo Contest to showcase cold-weather riding has been extended to February 1. Help us make cold cool by sending us your best winter bicycling picture (snow not required), and we’ll display them on our social media and enter your name into a drawing for a gift card generously provided by Brewed Awakenings. Message BikeNewark on Facebook, post on Twitter with the hashtag #BikeNewark or email to email@example.com. Drawing to take place at the First Friday Ride on February 3.
February 3rd First Friday Ride
Thank you to the intrepid individuals, shown above, who joined us for our first community ride of the new year on January 6,and thank you Catherine Rooney’s for hosting us afterwards.
Our next ride is set for Friday, February 3. Open to bicyclists of all types, our monthly slow rides celebrate bicycles as a normal way to get around town and showcase our downtown businesses. February’s post-ride gathering will take place at the Wood Fired Pizza Shop. As always, we will meet up at the Newark Shopping Center at 5:15 p.m. before setting off promptly at 5:30 p.m.
Remember that front white lights and rear reflectors are legally required for night riding, and rear red lights are highly recommended. Need bike lights? Stop by Bike Line or Wooden Wheels anytime, tell them you need lights for the First Friday Ride, and you’ll receive a 10% discount and installation on the spot.
About First Friday Rides
These monthly slow rides through the center of town are organized to show support for bicycling on Main Street and downtown businesses. We meet up at 5:15 p.m. at the Newark Shopping Center and ride as a group on a planned route with an après-ride gathering at one of Newark’s finest establishments.
Rides are led by members of the Newark bicycling community. We emphasize following the rules of the road and engaging in civil encounters with motorists and pedestrians. We ride in pairs when in car travel lanes and single-file in bike lanes, and on shared-use paths we yield to pedestrians. We make sure not to leave anyone behind by stopping occasionally to re-group.
Seeking Treasurer for BikeNewark:
Become a Board Member
We are seeking a Treasurer (Board position) for our new and growing nonprofit organization. This is a volunteer Board role. We are looking for an individual who is enthusiastic about biking and community development and is able to set the groundwork for protocol in this new functional area.
Develop and maintain appropriate bookkeeping conventions.
Reconcile monthly banking statement.
Prepare monthly financial statement.
Complete check-writing as needed.
Complete and file all necessary tax and nonprofit reporting forms.
Receive and track donations and expenses.
Attend monthly meetings.
Prior experience in bookkeeping
Ideally, experience or high interest in nonprofit management
Ability to design and establish the basis for long-term growth
High degree of accuracy and attention to detail
Interest in mentoring/training others to assist with accounting/bookkeeping needs as the organization grows and ensure smooth succession planning
Get Involved A Little or a Lot:
Looking for a way to support biking in Newark but don’t have the time to attend monthly meetings? We’ve got a list of opportunities for you to consider. Come join our growing collaboration and help make a difference!
Membership Database Coordinator - keep track of our supporters
Photographer - document BikeNewark events
Social Media - develop and maintain multiple accounts to promote BikeNewark
Website - help maintain
Infrastructure Coordinator - help us stay on top of incoming development projects that might impact biking
e-Communication Coordinator - prepare bi-monthly BikeNewark mailing, The Messenger Bag
Event Coordinator - coordinate First Friday Rides
No experience? No worries! We’ll help you find your feet. These are great opportunities for anyone interested in supporting local biking, looking for a leadership position or just searching for a chance to collaborate with some like-minded friendly folks. Teens are welcome to participate. Email BikeNewark if you see a position of interest.
Help BikeNewark Grow
Our all-volunteer organization accepts and appreciates financial donations of any amount. All (100% of) donations are used to support our programs, purchase community bicycle amenities, and sustain our organization’s nonprofit status. At this time, donations are only accepted by check payable and mailed to:
75 West Mill Station Drive
Newark, DE 19711
Share our Connect With BikeNewark Survey
Help us connect with others who support better local bicycle-riding conditions by sharing the link to this short survey with your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors. Connect with BikeNewark by taking our survey
Subscribe to The Messenger Bag
Not yet subscribed to receive The Messenger Bag in your inbox? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scene Around Town
Since 2014, the Downtown Newark Partnership (DNP) has been working to transform the former CSX property at 0 South Main Street into the Downtown Art Walk, with landscape improvements and sculpture installations. The City of Newark and DNP’s Design Committee hope to make the site our newest visual attraction and provide a place for local artists to showcase their largest sculptures.
This past fall, the first sculpture was placed. The title of the piece is “Molecules,” and it was created by local sculptor Stan Smokler, who kindly donated the piece to the City. Keep on the lookout for an informational sign to be installed by the City soon. A formal dedication and kickoff ceremony are also in the works. Be sure to check it out the next time you are pedaling around town. Thank you, DNP and City of Newark, for these placemaking improvements to our city.
February 1– Deadline for Winter Photo Contest Entries
February 3–First Friday Ride, Newark Shopping Center, departs 5:30 p.m.
February 16– BikeNewark monthly meeting, WILMAPCO, 4 p.m.
March 6– Public Meeting on Cleveland Avenue Upgrades, Newark Senior Center, 7-9 p.m.
March 16– BikeNewark monthly meeting, WILMAPCO, 4 p.m.