Phoenix Spokes People: 2014 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Urban Vision (VIDEO)
You submitted nominations for awards given to the Valley's emerging creatives and the results are in. Introducing our 2014 Big Brain finalists.
Heather Hoch Libby Coyner, Lisa Parks, and Anna Allebach-Warble pose with their bikes outside of PHX Bike Lab.
Anna Allebach-Warble started Phoenix Spokes People thanks to a car accident.
After totaling her car in fall 2011, she decided to use her two perfectly good bicycles to get around town. And she hasn't looked back since. She quickly found that poor cycling conditions made her commute tough. Almost every day, she arrived at work angry about the state of biking in Phoenix. That is, until one day she decided to "stop complaining and start talking to like-minded people about how to make it better."
Phoenix Spokes People: Inside the Big Brain 2014 Finalist's Creative Space from Voice Media Group on Vimeo. Video by Evie Carpenter.
A little over a year after the first meeting, Phoenix Spokes People has accomplished more than just talking about making it better -- they've taken decisive action to improve the landscape of cycling in Phoenix through fun group rides and a lot of (admittedly boring) budget hearings.
During 2013's City of Phoenix budget hearings, PSP's Lisa Parks made sure representatives from the biking community attended each meeting to stand up for cycling. All of that work and time paid off when the city's funding for bicycle infrastructure rose from $50,000 to $1.5 million. That increased budget has been used to create Grand Avenue's green bike lanes and traffic calming measures, as well as the soon-to-be-unveiled Grid Bike Share program. Phoenix's bike share will join the ranks of other major cities like New York in cementing cycling's lasting place as a major form of transportation.
PSP also coordinated with the Welcome to America Fund to build 100 bicycles for refugees who use the bikes as their main, if not sole, form of transportation in the city.
Meanwhile, initiatives like the weekly Bike to Work Friday group rides and a holiday bike bell choir, mostly led and organized by the group's coordinator of all things fun, Libby Coyner, demonstrate a dedication to making the cycling lifestyle appealing.
Operating out of one desk in the downtown cooperative bicycle command center PHX BikeLab, which also houses Grid Bike Share and Rusty Spoke Community Bicycle Collective, PSP's main goal is to be out riding around town and speaking at events to act as a voice for cyclists and increase their visibility in the community.
Courtesy of Phoenix Spokes People Attending budget meetings can be boring, but it did a lot of good.
"Our office is our saddles," Allebach-Warble says.