League Names Portland a Platinum Community
First Large City in U.S. to Receive Designation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bill Nesper
League of American Bicyclists
Washington, D.C.—April 29, 2008—The League of American Bicyclists congratulates Portland, Ore. on achieving platinum Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) status – Portland is the first large city in the United States to gain the designation and joins Davis, Calif as the only other platinum BFC in the country.
More than 200 communities have applied for BFC recognition since 2003, and 84 currently have a bronze or higher designation. An announcement of additional designations from the most recent round of applications is scheduled for release Thursday, May 1, to mark the first day of National Bike Month.
Portland’s BFC award is recognition of the incredible progress the community has made to encourage more people to bicycle and to ride safely. “When Portland received the gold award in 2003”, said Andy Clarke, President of the League, “We challenged the community to increase ridership to get to platinum. Bold leadership, community-wide involvement, and a lot of hard work has resulted in a 144% increase in bicycle use since the 2000 Census – impressive results by any standard.”
“We are honored that the League has recognized Portland’s work to become a better, safer place for people to bicycle”, said Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams, who has spearheaded the initiative to achieve platinum status. “This is integral to our broader vision of Portland as a world-class, sustainable, and economically vibrant city that attracts families and businesses because of the quality of life on offer to all. Bicycling helps us achieve all that and more. We are not content to rest on our laurels. Platinum status is just the beginning and we realize that the eyes of the nation are now upon us to keep pedaling forward!”
BFC reviewers noted that Portland has coupled modest but smart investments in infrastructure, with outstanding education, promotion and encouragement activities to make bicycling a practical and safe option for many more Portlanders than ever before. Education and enforcement programs are now helping drivers and pedestrians interact more safely and predictably with the increasing numbers of cyclists on the road.
Other highlights from the 27-page application included:
• Portland’s bikeway network includes 270 miles of on-street bike lanes, bike boulevards, and paved trails; another 6 miles of singletrack and 40 miles of mountain bike accessible trail offer mountain biking opportunities in city parks.
• A city ordinance requires bike parking in new development and redevelopment projects; another provides a huge incentive for developers to provide showers and locker rooms
• Six bike corrals have been installed, each replacing one on-street car parking space with 12 bicycle spaces
• 400 bikeway destination signs have been installed (with 400 to come) on the bikeway network
• More than 1,000 traffic offenders (including cyclists) have been through a two-hour “Share the Road” Safety Class
• More than 400 bicycle light sets are distributed annually to low-income bicyclists by the city, Tri-Met (the transit agency) and the Community Cycling Center.
• 2,250 elementary students annually receive a 10-hour bicycle safety course as part of a larger Safer Routes to School initiative. The course is delivered by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and has helped increase bicycling to school by 5% in just one school year.
• The city distributes 35,000 citywide bicycle maps and another 35,000 local area maps. The citywide map is also reproduced in the Portland phone book.
• More than 9,100 people participated in the 2007 Bicycle Commuter Challenge, including 1,700 first-time bike commuters
• A Tri-Met survey found that three-fifths of area employment sites provide bike parking and ten percent offer incentives to employees who bicycle.
• 20,000 participants in the Providence Bridge Pedal make Portland home to the second largest community bike ride in the United States (after Bike New York)
• 2,000 hardy riders fill the annual Worst Day of the Year ride in early February
• The Bicycle Transportation Alliance boasts 3,000 members in the city and is just one of many advocacy and riding groups that organize thousands of rides, events and bicycling activities year-round
• Creation of the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovations at Portland State University will help ensure technology transfer and much-needed research into innovative ways to encourage bicycling
• The city boasts 40 bike shops and more than 150 bicycle-related businesses that provide thousands of green-collar jobs and with an economic benefit of more than $65 million (2005)
“Portland has had the courage to lead, to innovate, and to pursue a vision of their community that emphasizes choice, equity and quality of life,” continued Clarke. “The job isn’t done, however. Platinum status isn’t forever, and it carries with it the responsibility of setting a high standard for other communities to follow. We recognize that compared to other world class cities for cycling, Portland still has a long way to go.”
Among the recommendations made by the League to the City to maintain their platinum status are:
• Ensure better access to city parks and recreation areas for off-road riding
• Strengthen ties to the police and enforcement community to ensure motorists and cyclists are following the rules of the road
• Increase investments in the city’s bikeway network, particularly bike boulevards and signature projects that overcome major barriers, to open up the city to cyclists of all abilities
• Continue to innovate and demonstrate leadership with projects such as the new bike boxes, colored bike lanes, and Sunday Parkways program
About the BFC Program & the League
The BFC program was initiated in 2003 and has received applications from more than 213 communities. Currently 84 cities and counties are designated Bicycle Friendly Communities. The program is generously supported by Trek Bicycle Corporation and Bikes Belong. Applicants complete a detailed on-line form with numerous questions in five key areas: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation/planning. Local cyclists, national experts, and League staff review the applications.
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of 57 million American cyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org or www.bicyclefriendlycommunity.org.
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