Team NWEA: From the Suburbs to the Heart of Portland

(Taken directly from the BTA’s Blog:

Editor’s note: We’re excited to welcome new BTA business member Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) as the first contributors to the Business Member Guest Blog series. Businesses and “super advocates” (as NWEA refers to their biking champions) keep pushing the bar to encourage more bike commuting and better serve customers and workers who ride bikes. Enjoy! -MM

Guest author: Paula Funatake, NWEA

Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) moved December 20, 2010 from Lake Oswego to downtown Portland in to the former Port of Portland building at NW 2nd & NW Everett. While this is Team NWEA’s 3rd year participating in the BCC, this is their first year at their new location. Bike commuting growth has been phenomenal, to say the least!

Super advocates at NWEA helped add more bike parking to keep up with the growing number of bike commuters.

What bike facilities are provided at NWEA?

We were fortunate that the building already had a secure, indoor bike storage room and we had full support from Operations and Facilities during the build-out to preserve this space. Within the bike room there are lockers and rack space for 15 bikes.

Post-move and as the weather began drying out, we were starting to run out of space for more bike commuters. Working with Facilities we were able to re-purpose an old, fenced storage area for a new overflow rack. Staff now have access to this overflow area during the week, and they can use it to keep their bike on-site for weekend riding. With the increase in bike commuters plans are in the works to expand our bike parking capacity.

The NWEA facilities include additional lockers and showers for all staff, including bike commuters.

How are cyclists supported at NWEA?

This has been the fun part. Tom Orth and Paula Funatake could spend hours just talking about bikes, cycling, bike racing and the fun of bicycling. Their enthusiasm along with the new building sparked a cooperative effort to encourage more staff to try bike commuting as well as just making connecting with each easier. Through coordinating an organizational event for the Bike to Work Week and Day back in May, they held an informational bike commute brown bag and arranged a breakfast for bike commuters on the Bike to Work day. There were a few first time bike commuters and that was really great!

A NWEA Bicyclist email list was created for people to ask questions, share stories and expertise and just have some fun around the general topic of cycling, not just commuting. Over the past months Tom and Paula have become the informal bike advocates and contacts when questions, issues or concerns come up. Many of our cyclists are also roving advocates encouraging and helping other newer or interested bike commuters.

Recently, one of our VPs has done some bike commuting and has become our Super Advocate, Anne Udall. Together we have had a great time looking into expanding bike parking and we have been able to have NWEA become a business member of the BTA. We are very excited about the possibilities and helping to increase bike commuting even more at NWEA.

NWEA's bike commute challenge wall

NWEA’s Bike Commute Challenge wall recognized employee bike commuters.

Adding to the fun of the Bike Commute Challenge, we developed a major bike tour race game that includes jersey competition for overall leaders, weekly stage winners and we recognize those who have a 100% commute rate for the week. We hold weekly stage awards ceremonies and have a BCC Wall of Fame where we post all the award winners.

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