Add 32 new cities to the League of American Bicyclists’ list of Bicycle Friendly Communities.
The advocacy group announced the new communities Tuesday morning, noting that suburban centers are gaining traction among the 291 Bicycle Friendly Communities in 48 states.
In Washington state, Anacortes made the list as a bronze-level bike friendly community. The city on the shores of Puget Sound is visited by hundreds of touring bicyclists every year as a trailhead on the Northern Tier Bicycle Route created by Adventure Cycling Association.
More importantly for the League, the city created the Anacortes Bike/Pedestrian Advisory Committee in 2011 to promote bicycling and walking. The city then set about creating a grid of bicycle routes to encourage residents to use bicycles for commuting and errand-running, as well as recreation. Some are bike lanes, some are bike paths, and others are routes on low-traffic streets.
According to the 2012 Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for Anacortes, city planners referred to the 5 E’s that cities must follow to achieve bicycle friendly status — Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning.
You can see in the document that it’s a painstaking process. But the reward is that Bicycle Friendly Cities have a higher rate of bicycle use among their residents. That translates into less traffic congestion, improved environment, better health among residents, and more recreational opportunities.
Surburbs have arrived
In announcing the newest communities, League president Andy Clarke called out the new suburban members — Menlo Park, Calif., Elmhurst, Ill., Reston, Va., and Richfield, Minn.
“One of the great challenges in envisioning a truly bicycle-friendly America is the need to transform suburban communities. Well, that transformation is evidently underway.”
The cities achieving silver and bronze level designations are:
Broward County, FL
Cleveland Heights, OH
Grand Marais, MN
Jekyll Island, GA
Stevens Point, WI
West Sacramento, CA
See the complete list of all Bicycle Friendly Communities. Bicycle advocates that are interested in achieving bicycle friendly status for their communities can find a more details at the Bicycle Friendly America website.