ShiftStPete works to improve transportation infrastructure at the community level
ShiftStPete is a grassroots organization seeking structural change and improvements to mobility conditions for all bicyclists and pedestrians in St. Petersburg. The St. Pete community is a vibrant and progressive one, and ShiftStPete is one of many examples of people coming together to advocate for what matters to them. For the folks at ShiftStPete, what matters is that everyone in the city has safe access to a connected network of roads, sidewalks, and trails.
ShiftStPete was founded one morning over coffee in November of 2014 by Alec Smith, Vanessa Wheeler, Camille Stupar, and Andy Chirch—four citizens who shared the same vision for a healthy, connected, sustainable St. Petersburg. Aside from the founding members, leadership is currently comprised of a working Board of Directors and numerous volunteers. ShiftStPete relies on funding through paid memberships and donations, and depends on local volunteers to do the not-for-profit, good work they do.
For instance, ShiftStPete hosts a series of “BlockbyBlock” signature family-friendly walk or bicycle ride events each year. The organization typically attracts around 50 people to participate in the events and works with neighborhood associations, business districts and local businesses to highlight existing infrastructure, and inspire a vision for the future of transportation in St. Petersburg. A recent BlockbyBlock event highlighted the little-known Lakewood Connector Trail in the Skyway Marina Business District; the goal was to inspire community interest in utilizing and improving the trail. A trail adoption plan is now on the list of envisioned advocacy projects for ShiftStPete to take on.
Current fruits of the organization’s efforts are the result of ShiftStPete negotiating a compromise between business owners and the bicycling community, in order to smooth the way for the City to install much needed bike parking in a small business district in the Old Northeast neighborhood. The installation should be complete in the next couple of weeks.Quote from Vanessa here to close the story.
Click here to learn more, become a member, or donate today!
Jason Jackman, Researcher for the Center for Urban Transportation Research at University of South Florida, teaches an in-person safety course to high school students shortly before classes were moved online.