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Congratulations to New and Renewed Bicycle Friendly Communities!
Kicking off National Bike to Work Week, today the League announced the largest round of Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) in the program's history. While communities from California to Connecticut joined the ranks of BFCs, the Mountain West rose above the rest, including two new Gold Level BFCs in Durango, Colo., and Missoula, Mont.
"We aren't surprised that this was the largest number of new and renewing applicants that we've ever had," said League President Andy Clarke. "The popularity of this program is clear evidence that simple steps to make bicycling safe and comfortable pay huge dividends in civic, community and economic development."
With this impressive round, there are now 214 BFCs in 47 states. By evaluating and recognizing investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies, the BFC program is revolutionizing the way communities evaluate their quality of life.
A long history of strong advocates working with visionary policymakers to create a comprehensive bicycle network boosted Missoula to the Gold standard -- a distinction reserved for just 16 communities nationwide. With the recent additions of protected bike lanes, path system signage and new bike parking, more than 7 percent of local residents commute by bike, making this city a model for the state and region.
"The City of Missoula, together with numerous citizen advocates, have worked hard for more than 30 years to integrate and promote bicycle commuting, and we're proud that our extensive off-street bike/ped trail system, together with our miles of bike lanes, and bike education and encouragement programs, reflect that," said Missoula Mayor John Engen. "It's an honor to achieve the Gold standard."
Durango, Colo., also joined the elite group of Gold BFCs. With 300 miles of mountain bike trails and a growing network of city bike lanes, bicycling has become integral to the town's culture and identity. "The City has worked hard to expand the bicycle footprint in our community," said Durango City Manager Ron LeBlanc. "We want everyone to know that people on bikes are given special status in our community."
Also in Colorado, Aspen earned a Silver award on its very first application. Aspen's network of bike paths, recent Comprehensive Bike Survey and increased enforcement of its Share the Road program have made cycling safe and comfortable. In Aspen, people choose to bike commute at roughly 10 times the national average -- and the next generation of cyclists are offered bicycling safety education in all of Aspen's schools.
"Obtaining this designation was a team effort," said Aspen Mayor Michael Ireland. "Everyone rose to the challenge because establishing the proper bike infrastructure, safety mechanisms and education are efforts we all embrace. Getting the Silver award allows us to celebrate our accomplishments, continue to grow in our bike friendliness and achieve even more as a community."
Click here for a list of the new and renewing awards, and honorable mentions, from the Spring 2012 round. Learn more about the program and view the full list of Bicycle Friendly Communities at www.bikeleague.org/bfa.