Last week, I wrote about “Trick Out My Trip” the innovative crowdfunding project being sponsored by In Our Back Yards (IOBY), a non-profit group, and the NYC-based TransitCenter.
These community-focused organizations are offering $4,000 in matching funds for local transit supporters across the country to make small but meaningful improvements to public transportation. What’s not to love about that?
Several of my fellow MARTA-ians got stoked by the prospect of working with our customers, grassroots organizations and affinity groups to make Atlanta’s hometown transit system better, one trip at a time.
But we also worried about IOBY’s fast-approaching Oct. 6 deadline for project submissions to the TOMT crowdfunding challenge.
So…we got busy.
Bit-by-bit, like the parable of “Stone Soup,” the makings of a great TOMT project for MARTA took shape with several employees pitching in.
Fueled by his daily ration of Chik-fil-A nuggets, Nicholas Gowens, a newly minted project manager for MARTA’s Chief of Staff, stopped by my office and casually suggested some sort of “bike project.”
Later that day, the unsinkable Shannon Kroll, a Georgia State University grad student who works in MARTA’s Office of Research & Analysis, linked up with fearless transit nerd Ryan VanSickle, of the Planning Department to kick around other quick and affordable possibilities.
Sitting in the closet-sized office of our colleague, Saba Long, we settled on a possible winner: A self-service bike repair kiosk, like this one, in Atlanta’s Woodruff Park. The kiosks would benefit transit customers who ride to MARTA stations and, for example, may need to inflate a flat tire, mend a broken chain or tighten a wobbly handlebar.
These bike repair kiosks are relatively inexpensive and, given the passionate cycling community here in Atlanta, we hope to garner their support to install one or more of these facilities at strategic MARTA locations for the crowdfunding challenge.
We’ve already had some promising conversations with our friends and allies at Central Atlanta Progress and the Atlanta Bike Coalition. Several MARTA-philes have also emailed us their pledges to help out. (Thanks!)
With less than two weeks left before the TOMT deadline, we’re still sorting out the logistics and trying to identify a Plan B for the bike repair kiosks, if necessary.
The bottom line is that we still want to hear from you. Let us know if you support the bike repair kiosks for MARTA and want to participate in the TOMT challenge or, if you have an even better idea, hit us up at #TrickOutMARTA.
No matter what happens, we’ll keep you posted. Stay tuned…