By Alejandra Alvarez, LACBC's Project Manager
The sudden demand for delivery services offset by the COVID-19 pandemic met small business owners with yet another challenge in their withstanding battle against large corporations who had the means to meet new delivery service needs. And now, gas prices are rising, cities have less parking, and traffic is worsening.
E-bikes are the great equalizer for small businesses right now because they don’t require costly fuel, they solve parking scarcity, and they are better for the environment. With grant funding, LACBC purchased a fleet of 43 Himiway E-bikes to lend to small businesses and independent contractors that either live or conduct service in San Pedro, Wilmington, and Harbor City. In exchange for the loan, we’re asking participants to transition their delivery services from personal vehicles to our e-bikes!
Community within the community
We knew that our E-bike pilot could change the futures of business owners in District 15 but we needed the support of trusted community leaders to share the vision. Enter the Promotores.
Their decades of community relationship building has accelerated our outreach efforts because the community trusts and values the Promotores.
Los Angeles Walks’ Safe Street Promotores are community leaders with
extensive knowledge and lived experience in community organizing and advocacy. They’ve been instrumental in recruiting participants, and a few of them have signed up for the pilot themselves! Many Promotores have lived in San Pedro and Wilmington for over 25 years and know plenty of small businesses – from mom and pop shops to independent contractors.
Their decades of community relationship building has accelerated our outreach efforts because the community trusts and values the Promotores. Safe Street Promotores effectively deliver bilingual E-bike pilot information by leveraging not only their knowledge and experience, but also their passion for safe streets in Wilmington. Their vision of safe streets includes seeing more small businesses using e-bikes to increase their reach throughout the neighborhood. Working with Promotores has taught us the value of inviting community members to support project implementation and they will continue to demonstrate to the rest of us that we are no greater force individually than we are together.
How To Sign-Up and Get Involved
On the ground, word-of-mouth effort is a key component in advocacy and developing opportunities like this program. Please help by sharing the E-bike Pilot with your networks as we are in the process of recruiting for a second cohort! If you yourself are a small business owner or an independently contracted delivery driver interested in participating in our E-bike Pilot, sign-up here: https://lacbc.salsalabs.org/e-bikepilot
About LACBC E-bike Pilot for Small Businesses
The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) in partnership with LA Walks Safe Street Promotores is launching an e-bike lending pilot program for small businesses in the San Pedro and Wilmington communities. This E-bike Pilot for Small Businesses will lower the barrier of entry for small business owners to choose more sustainable methods of transportation while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions in disproportionately polluted communities. E-bikes are the greatest equalizer for small businesses since they are a cost-effective, time-efficient, and a healthier alternative to driving alone. The program is funded by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Community Emissions Reduction Program and in-kind support is provided by Metro and Duke Center For Advanced Hindsight through the Travel Rewards Research Pilot for research and data evaluation support.