He's a trailblazer for cyclists: Founder of One Green City gets things done Erin Madden, Winnipeg Free Press-City and Business, B2 Updated: May 10, 2008 at 08:29 AM CDT
He could easily be one of Winnipeg's busiest volunteers, donating his time to more organizations and committees than he can count on his fingers.
Thirty-year old Anders Swanson is dedicated to helping Winnipeg become a greener city by improving the cycling network, with more trails, safer lanes on roads and maps that will get beginner cyclists and veteran cycling commuters alike, from point A to point B.
The Mayor's Environmental Committee, the City of Winnipeg's Active Transportation Committee , Bike to the Future , BIZ Transportation Committee, and the Winnipeg Trails Association are just a few of the groups he's involved with. In addition, he helped form the North Winnipeg Commuter Cyclists, the West Central Commuter Cyclists and was the founder of One Green City -- a service which liaises cycling groups and encourages them to connect.
"I am essentially volunteering with as many cycling related committees and volunteer groups throughout the city as I can to try to bring them together around the idea of building a comprehensive network of cycling routes," said Swanson, a Corydon Village resident who hasn't owned a car for more than five years. "I really felt I understood why people weren't cycling. I wanted to address the reasons that they weren't rather than just telling them to."
His hard work is paying off. Since he became involved just a few years ago, progress has already been made with a $600,000 commitment from the city budget now dedicated to building a trail infrastructure and the creation of the Northwest Pioneer Greenway.
He said that with a larger budget dedicated to the issue, cyclists will be safer and the tensions between motorists and those riding bicycles will be lessened.
"The more cyclists you have out and the more cycling infrastructure there is, the less people get hurt," explained Swanson, who works as a bike mechanic at Natural Cycle. "I think the key is reducing conflict. I don't drive now, but as a driver I was scared of hitting cyclists. It's stressful."
Janice Lukes, co-ordinator for the Winnipeg Trails Association, said the work done by Swanson for her organization and the many others he volunteers for, has been nothing short of amazing.
"I have been involved in trail development since 2001 and have met a ton of volunteers, all passionate, all motivational," she wrote in an e-mail to the Winnipeg Free Press. "But Anders Swanson's commitment, dedication and passion to help others embrace the bicycle as a means of transportation and source of recreation is simply unprecedented. I know many of the trail and cycling organizations in Winnipeg would agree that Anders has been instrumental in helping secure more trails and bike pathways for Winnipeggers!"
For more information about the work done by Swanson, visit www.onegreencity.com. To learn more about the Winnipeg Trails Association, visit www.winnipegtrails.com.