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Advocacy Works

Norte works to keep people moving and connected to their communities. We start with young riders in programs like Mountain Bike Team, Summer Bike Camp, and Balance Bike Club. You’ve likely seen the impact of these programs shredding through the woods and rolling through our neighborhoods.

Expanding ridership is part of how advocacy works at Norte. A bike train full of smiling, happy riders conveys that the bicycle is a mighty vehicle for health and connections. Many local communities are embracing it with investments in sidewalks, trails, bike lanes, safe crossings, and policies that create transformative benefits for individuals, businesses, and the world.

To that end, we also work to make northern Michigan walk-and-roll friendly by design — through citizen action and direct partnerships. Norte’s advocacy works because we always start with the same question — how can we help?

Advocacy works on three fundamental pillars at Norte:

  • Education — we host two advocacy academies, lead walking audits, and support citizen advocates on specific issues.
  • Partnerships — we foster relationships with municipal, nonprofit, school, and business partners to better understand the obstacles and opportunities in the way of better streets.
  • Encouragement — we help people see that to #bikethere is to be a leader in one’s community. More people on bikes — young and old — is the most effective advocacy out there.

Advocacy works because we turn all three into solutions. Of course, it may not always lead to precisely what we would set out to design if given a blank slate, unlimited resources, and complete buy-in. But advocacy works because we’re at the table having challenging discussions with patience and empathy.

I’ve served as the advocacy director at Norte since 2019. It’s a privilege to apply my experience and knowledge of urban planning and public policy to a mission that is so critical. I can do so because of generous supporters who give to Norte. And I’m also not alone. The Norte staff, board of directors, supporters, and mentors are all part of the discussion. It’s a team effort with the community, and that means you.

If you see a needed improvement in your community but don’t know where to begin, let’s meet and find a path forward. How can we help?

Engage and represent,

Gary
Advocacy and Communications Director

P.S. In early 2019, Norte formed an advocacy committee. A global pandemic cut it short. As we move from pandemic to endemic, the time is now to reconstruct it. Let’s talk if you’re a citizen advocate interested in improving walking and rolling! 

Shoot me an email and let’s talk!

 


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