Seattle (PRWEB) October 15, 2005
Have a spare bike? Seattleites can help Hurricane Katrina evacuees get rolling again by bringing their unused bikes to Magnuson Park the weekend of Oct. 29 & 30 and Nov. 5 & 6 for donation to evacuees now living in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Spearheaded by Seattle cycling enthusiast Beryl Fernandes and Jerome C. Ringo, Chairman of the Board of the National Wildlife Federation along with the help of Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Bike Touring Club and public groups in Baton Rouge, the Katrina Bikes Partnership Project is a citizen-to-citizen bike donation program designed to help improve the lives of hurricane evacuees and to help relieve traffic gridlock in their new community.
Through the program, volunteers will collect bikes at Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way NE in Seattle, between 10am and 5pm during the last weekend of October and first weekend of November. Bikes will be checked by local mechanics and undergo minor repairs. Yellow Transportation, a subsidiary of Yellow Roadway Corporation, one of the largest transportation service providers in the world, will provide two 28-foot trailers to truck the bikes to Louisiana where they will be distributed through area recreation centers.
"On behalf of the Board of Directors of the National Wildlife Federation and their 4 million members, I want to let you know that we think this is a tremendous humanitarian effort,” said Ringo, whose family was evacuated from Lake Charles after Hurricane Rita. “This provides a very valuable means of transportation but also creates a new culture of environmental preservation by helping limit auto emissions into the atmosphere. This is a win-win situation for the people of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.”
Gridlock has become an increasing problem in Louisiana’s capital city where an estimated quarter million evacuees from New Orleans and other hard hit areas have pushed the city to its limits. “Our transportation system is flooded,” said Bruce Wickert, president of the Baton Rouge Bike Club, who is working together with others in Baton Rouge to distribute bikes.
“What was once a simple 10 minute commute by car is now 45 minutes,” added Wickert, who along with Seattle project organizer Fernandes, recognized an opportunity to help evacuees from New Orleans that have lost their cars or bikes to the hurricane or have no other means of transportation.
“Like everyone else, I wanted to help the people of Louisiana,” said Fernandes a Seattle urban / environmental planning consultant. “I saw a hurricane evacuee on TV who said he was taking his bike to get food and supplies - that prompted the idea,” she said. “After talking with potential partners in Seattle and Baton Rouge it was clear there was a huge wave of enthusiasm. That’s the beauty of a partnership. It’s self-propelled.”
In both Seattle and Baton Rouge, diverse community groups are chipping in. “Baton Rouge is excited and ready to distribute this much needed transportation that will not only transform lives but the city as a whole for the better,” said Michael McClanahan director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center that will help with distribution.
While in Seattle, students from local elementary schools have written personal notes to accompany the bikes to their recipients, while members of Nathan Hale High School’s bicycle club will inspect each donated bike and make minor repairs.
“This venture is a great merger of Seattle’s generosity and love of the outdoors,” said Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ken Bounds. “It will mean a real transportation alternative for many of the people who lost their cars in the storm or don’t have any other means of transportation.” An estimated 571,000 cars may have been destroyed following Hurricane Katrina according to Carfax.com, a publisher of vehicle history reports.
Katrina Bikes Partnership is one of several programs around the country that have already collected, shipped and distributed several thousand bicycles to residents of hurricane-affected communities. In September, with the help of actress Sandra Bullock, cyclists in Austin, Texas donated over 1,000 bikes in less than two days for hurricane relief. A similar program in Boulder, Colorado recently collected over 300 bikes for evacuees in Baton Rouge.
For more information please visit http://www.seattlebiketours.com.
What: Katrina Bikes Partnership Project is a citizen-to-citizen bike donation program where Seattleites can donate their unused bikes to evacuees of Hurricane Katrina.
Why: To help relieve traffic gridlock in Baton Rouge and improve the lives of evacuees in the community.
When: 10am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday Oct. 29 & 30 and Nov. 5 & 6
Where: Magnuson Park (Former Puget Sound Naval Air Station at Sand Point) 7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115 Hangar 30. Hangar 30 is on the left about 200 yards from the 74th Street entrance. Look for Katrina Bikes Partnership Project signs.
Acceptable Bikes: Bikes must be in good condition.
# # #