Erie, PA Cyclist Creates Commuter Friendly City

18
Nov
2011

What do you do when you’re a bike commuter who lives in a city with no bicycle culture?  Well, if you’re Steve Shepard you take things into your own hands and start building up that culture.

Steve Shepard is a family man and daily commuter in Erie, PA…located in northeast Pennsylvania on the shores of Lake Erie.  His love for cycling digs deep and he enjoys getting out on his bike, even during the conditions found in the harsh winter months.  Steve is happily willing to deal with the elements, but the one thing he is avid about is making Erie a more commuter friendly city.

Lack of bike lanes

Lack of Bike Racks

 

 

 

 

 

 

When asked about his motivation to get more of his community on bikes, Steve says: “Well, let me say this city is perfect for cycling to and from work.  It would be better for everyone if more of us rode bikes. We have a bike route that leads directly downtown and a Seaway trail that passes along the shore of Lake Erie and right by the 3 largest employers we have.  Also located on the Seaway Trail is the Erie Intermodal Hub, perfect for commuters.”

A Bicycle Parking Lot and Bike Station Would Be Great

The hub that Steve mentions currently being used as office space and bus stops.  His idea is to make it into a bike parking area equipped with all the accommodations needed for commuters.  Having things like a Bike Repair Station set up would be a great idea to go along with the parking area.

Steve goes on to explain that the buses and trolleys all roll into this area and could easily transport people to and from the hub if they are not in biking distance to get there.  All of the cities primary amenities are located in walking distance of the hub, and the city’s largest employer (General Electric) is only 5 miles away. Steve is one of the GE’s employees and chooses to ride there from home, but he feels that anyone could make the commute from the hub to the company.

In addition to his ideas for the Hub, Steve would also like to see more bikeways and paths that connect to the two that are already existing.  His current route to work is partly by way of the Seaway trail that already exists, but getting to and from there can be a nightmare on some days.  The lack of cycling options definitely makes things more difficult than it could be, but Steve refuses to give up and start taking a vehicle.  He is currently looking into this and is going to find out why there are not more bike lanes in Erie.

The Seaway Trail

The current situation in Erie, or what happens there in the future may not be of much care to many us around the country, but when I heard about Steve’s concern and passion to make things better…I just had to write about it.  I am nowhere near as Car-Free as Steve, but is it something I desire to be and am moving myself in that direction.  But this story doesn’t end here.  I will continue to follow Steve’s progress and brainstorm with his as to how to achieve the goals he is looking for.  What lies ahead for Steve?  Why not let him explain what steps he has planned next:
Hopefully with the help of fellow cyclists and advice from national organizations, we will turn Erie into a cycling friendly city for all to enjoy!  So I ask that you please follow along and watch as the transformation takes place. Who knows maybe I will inspire you to do the same in your community!

Steve would love your ideas and support

Progress:

Since first talking to Steve about his story and what he plans to do in his hometown, a lot of progress has been made.  He has taken this issue to a local cycling club (Presque Isle Cycling Club) and gained their support in achieving his mission, and now they plan on taking this to their city council.  He’s also arranged for a meeting with the HeathAhead Leader at his employer, GE.  The ball is now definitely rolling and it will be very interesting to see things fall into place.

Any advice, tips, or words of encouragement you have for Steve and what he is doing would be gladly appreciated.

 

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