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8 Duluth Businesses now BFBs
This post comes to us from Shawna MullenEardly, active transportation coordinator at Duluth Area Family YMCA, Healthy Duluth Area Coalition, who was part of a team who encouraged and assisted eight Duluth, Minn.-area businesses apply and receive a Bicycle Friendly Business designation this round. Read more about the latest round of Bicycle Friendly Business awardees here.
Eighty new and renewing businesses were designated as Bicycle Friendly Businesses in this round of the League's program -- with 10% of awards going to just one community! At the westernmost tip of Lake Superior, eight businesses in Duluth, Minn., were awarded a Bicycle Friendly Business designation by the League. These businesses are the first, hopefully of many, to receive the award in Duluth.
Photo by Bryan French
During late summer of 2013, the Healthy Duluth Area Coalition partnered with our Greater Downtown Council to survey downtown businesses on their perception of how bicycling affects business. Much to our delight, there were over 70 respondents to the survey. This initial assessment helped identify which businesses to reach out to, as well as gauge general support of bicycling and learn how businesses are currently supporting bicyclists.
The overwhelming response from businesses was that they would support infrastructure improvements such as bike lanes, better public bicycle parking, parklets, and on-street bicycle corrals. Aside from sparse bike parking, Duluth does not currently have any of these amenities in the downtown area. Nearly 80% of survey respondents indicated that they thought these amenities would cause their business to either increase or stay the same. One business owner said of parklets, “[It would] get tourists and business workers out into downtown and boost local businesses and the overall Duluth image.”
While we were excited for the overwhelming business support of bicycling, Duluth still has a lot of work to do: while over 50% of respondents indicated they have employees who bike to work, over 75% of respondents do not have any incentives for bike commuters, and over 50% have no supportive amenities.
However, over one-third of respondents expressed interest in hosting a safe bicycling class for employees, learning more about incentive programs, or learning more about the League’s Bicycle Friendly Business program. Thus, recognizing what businesses are already doing with a Bicycle Friendly Business award is a crucial part of facilitating the culture change we hope to see.
These eight businesses have paved the way for numerous others who we hope to see gain Bicycle Friendly Business designation.