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Release Date: 03.26.2012 | Location: All Metro Atlanta | Organization: The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

Blank Family Foundation Event to Launch Atlanta Campaign for Bicycle Friendly Community

March 29, 2012, Program & Webcast Will Feature Nicole Freedman, Boston's Bike Czar

In partnership with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation (AFYF) and The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series will host a program on March 29, 2012, featuring cutting-edge approaches Atlanta can use to win designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

The Speaker Series program, "Better Biking for a Safer, Healthier, More Competitive City," will feature Nicole Freedman, Director of Boston Bikes, an innovative city-led effort to make Boston a world-class bicycling city by creating safe and inviting conditions for all residents and visitors. Boston Bikes focuses on improvements in all five planning areas: Engineering, Enforcement, Education, Encouragement, and Evaluation.

As the city’s Bike Czar, Freedman has launched a bike-share program, Hubway, created more than 50 miles of bike lanes and elevated Boston to one of the top Bicycle Friendly Cities in the country.

"I applaud the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation for their leadership in pursuing a Bicycle Friendly Community designation for our city," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. "Creative initiatives such as bike-sharing fall squarely within our Power to Change program and supports our efforts to become a Top 10 sustainable city."

The March 29 program is part of a National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) series, "Cities for Cycling," that catalogs, promotes and implements the world's best bicycle transportation practices in U.S. cities. Planners and engineers from Washington, D.C., Austin, and Boston will converge on Atlanta for two days of workshops and interactions with City of Atlanta staff.

The event will be held at The Historic Academy of Medicine at Georgia Tech, located at 875 W. Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30309. Seating at the event is limited, and individuals interested in attending should contact Hamzat Sani (hamzat@atlantabike.com) to reserve a place. Registration and a reception will run from 5 – 6 p.m. ET. The program will run from 6 – 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition (ABC) will provide free, on-site bicycle valet parking at the venue.

The Blank Family Foundation will produce a live webcast of the Speaker Series event beginning at 6 p.m. ET. Online viewers may participate in the discussion via Twitter, using #bike.

For information on the webcast, go to http://blankfoundation.org/bike. No registration is needed to view the webcast.

"Biking is a simple, inexpensive solution to so many issues, from health to transportation to stronger communities. More and more Atlanta residents are hopping on bikes to get places, gain fitness, and have fun," said ABC Executive Director Rebecca Serna, who will moderate a discussion as part of the March 29 event. "Investment in the city’s bike network is critical to the development of bike- sharing programs and other exciting opportunities. We are partnering with the city to identify new funding options and ensure Atlanta is healthy, vibrant, and attractive to residents and visitors for years to come."

As part of its commitment to promoting physical activity in Atlanta, AFYF has awarded a $20,000 grant to the ABC to assist Atlanta in gaining designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community from the League of American Bicyclists, which currently recognizes more than 150 U.S. Cities as bicycle-friendly.

ABC will use this grant to research the possibility of developing a bike-share program for Atlanta and Decatur. Automated bike-share programs, which make it possible for users to rent bicycles day or night, have spread quickly in the U.S. over the past few years. These popular programs allow residents and tourists to travel around the city with ease, reducing traffic congestion and air pollution.

The number of residents biking to work, not traditionally part of Atlanta commuting, has more than doubled in recent years New bike trails are set to open this year in city parks and along the BeltLine. A start-up firm, viaCycle, has launched a next-generation bike sharing technology serving the Georgia Tech campus.

From the innovations documented by NACTO, ABC can identify the solutions that fit best in Atlanta. NACTO takes inspiration from the most bike-friendly cities in the US and around the world and packages the information for use by urban planners and engineers.

Organizations partnering with The Blank Family Foundation on the Speaker Series event include: viaCycle, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the City of Atlanta, and the City of Decatur.



About The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series:

By convening individuals around issues, innovations and ideas that will shape the quality of life for families in Atlanta and beyond, the Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series aspires to spur civic action and citizen involvement for positive change in people's lives. Visit the Speaker Series web page for more information: www.BlankFoundation.org/speaker-series.

About The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation:

Formed in 1995, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation promotes innovative solutions to improve the lives of youth and their families, seeking results that move communities beyond what seems possible today. The Foundation invests in early childhood development, education, green space, and the arts and leads giving programs for each of the Blank Family of Businesses, including the Atlanta Falcons. Mr. Blank co-founded The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, in 1978 and retired from the company as co-chairman in 2001. Through the foundation and his family’s personal giving, Mr. Blank has granted more than $250 million to various charitable organizations. Visit the Foundation web site for more information: www.BlankFoundation.org.

About the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition:

ABC’s mission is to create a healthier, more sustainable Atlanta by making it safer, easier, and more attractive to bicycle for fun, fitness, and transportation. Bicycling helps everyone by creating a higher quality of life through improved public health, cleaner air, less congestion, and stronger communities. Our programs include bike safety classes, advocacy for better conditions for cycling and greater investments in bicycle infrastructure, bike rack installation, valet service at festivals, events including the BeltLine Bike Tour and Atlanta Streets Alive, monthly social rides, and member discounts at local businesses. To learn more visit www.AtlantaBike.org.

Contact Info

Contact Name: John Bare

Company: The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

Phone: 404.367.2062

E-mail: jbare@ambfo.com