Webinar Watch: The joys and challenges of crowdfunded bikeways

May 17, 2017

Michael Andersen, PlacesForBikes staff writer

Was: rails near Union Point, Ga. Will be: a trail, thanks in part to crowdfunding. Photo via Ioby.

Cities keep turning to crowdfunding to get big biking plans going.

Online donation campaigns have been part of Portland's huge Gateway Green bike parkMemphis's revitalizing Hampline and now the planned Firefly Trail in small-town Georgia. And though they're never big enough to fully fund a project, they seem to be the spark that ignites public excitement. Public interest, in turn, brings in the public funding that's required to put progress on a steady boil.

But there's also risk. Cities that let private donations directly shape public policy are, in some ways, playing with fire.

Ioby, a nonprofit civic crowdfunding platform involved with the Hampline and Firefly Trail projects, is here to help. In a series of webinars launching tomorrow, they'll share advice on how to do crowdfunding right.

"We'll be exploring the field of civic crowdfunding through the lenses of government responsibility, long-term planning, and liability," Ioby Executive Director Erin Barnes said in an email Wednesday. "The first in the series ("Civic Crowdfunding for City Government: How Does It Work?" on May 18) is an introduction to the field, meant to introduce city employees to some case studies and to share some best practices for cities that are interested in integrating crowdfunding into their community engagement strategies. Each webinar after that will get deeper into the weeds."

The one-hour webinar is noon Eastern time on Thursday, May 18. You can register here, and in the meantime you could check out our archive of webinars about protected bike lanes.

PlacesForBikes helps U.S. communities build better biking, faster. You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook or sign up for our weekly news digest about building all-ages biking networks. Story tip? Write michael@peopleforbikes.org.

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