Tuesday, May 10, 2016

4 messaging tips for walking and biking advocates

Last week, the American Heart Association’s Voices for Healthy Kids initiative hosted a communications training for Investing in Place and its partners. We refined talking points and personal stories to better advocate for improving sidewalks, crosswalks, adding protected bicycle lanes and supporting new investments in the Los Angeles region that make it safer and easier to travel the region without relying on a car for every trip.

As we’re continuing to make big investments in our Los Angeles regional transportation system, and with a potential transportation ballot measure this November, here’s 4 messaging tips for walking and biking advocates (#metrofundwalkbike) to keep in mind:

  1. Speak from personal experience. It’s powerful to connect a personal story with the changes you are advocating for. Whether it’s because of your concern for an aging parent and their quality of life, or because you were traumatized with a death or injury in the family from a car crash, know that whatever story you tell, can be a powerful one.
  2. Use language that people of all ages and abilities would understand. Sam, a volunteer with AARP California, talked about the next transportation ballot measure as an opportunity to improve our quality of life. Megan McClaire of Advancement Project framed public transit as a lifeline — not just as an infrastructure issue.
  3. Know your audience. Whether it’s speaking to the Metro Board of Directors, to a radio reporter, or to your neighbors, know what language and messages are appropriate to achieve the result you want.
  4. Find your source of confidence. Whether it’s a personal crusade to right some wrongs, a reminder of the constituency or residents you help to advocate with, or an idealized vision of the type of community we should all live in, find that source of confidence and speak truthfully.

In the next 6 weeks, Metro will be proposing an ambitious transportation ballot measure. You have an opportunity to advocate for more walking and biking investments by signing the Investing in Place/Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition letter here, or speak at two crucial meetings:

  • May 18 2pm at Metro board room: Metro’s Active Transportation Strategic Plan will go before the Planning and Programming Committee 
  • May 26 9am at Metro board room: The Active Transportation Strategic Plan will go before full Metro Board.

Thank you to our partners — AARP CA, Los Angeles Walks, Multicultural Communities for Mobility, Advancement Project CA, Day One, BikeSGV, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and Safe Routes to School National Partnership —  for joining us and special thanks to those who volunteered to be recorded on camera. Last, we really appreciated the sound guidance from our trainers from Burness, Chuck Alexander and Elizabeth Wenk.

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