Good ideas for safe streets abound. To paraphrase environmental writer Edward Abbey, "the idea of safe, friendly and affordable mobility needs no defense; it only needs more defenders".
Voting in our local elections is critical, but what happens between elections is equally important. Our City leaders need to hear from people who want to make this vision a reality. We will speak up as individuals, and collectively as neighborhoods, business owners and employees, members of school and faith and civic communities.
At present, we are fortunate to have good representation on our City Council and City Staff. They are committed to transparent public process. As Safe Streets Petaluma, our job is to monitor and cultivate opportunities for effective public engagement and bring our voices to the discussion, at the right time with the right message. We support good ideas, and bring new ideas to the conversation. When our elected representatives and their staff are on the right path, we support and thank them. When they need nudging, we provide it (see How to Advocate).
What does this look like? Our first project was in the spring of 2022, convincing the City Council to make Safe Streets (as defined by our Policy Platform) a top City goal for the coming fiscal year. In the course of a month, our volunteer leaders mobilized our existing networks and gathered over 300 signatures on an online petition. We contacted individual Council Members personally, published letters in the local paper, and presented our case at the May 2 Council meeting. We succeeded.
How to advocate
Borrowing from the Core Values of Citizens' Climate Lobby, we strive to take the most generous approach to other people as possible — appreciation, gratitude, inclusion, and respect. From that foundation, it's a matter of learning and applying proven technique. See our "Active Transportation Advocacy 101"
Stay informed. Subscribe to our news/alerts. Pay attention to the print, online, and social media. Subscribe to the City's Newsletter bulletin. See our Resources pages to learn the basics and see examples of what's being done in the US and around the world.