Los Angeles, Miami and Nashville gain national designation for bicycling progress
Washington, D.C. – October 18, 2012 – Three of the nation’s largest cities joined the ranks of Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC)today.
Showcasing the progress and potential of major U.S. cities to make bicycling safe and accessible for millions of Americans, Los Angeles (Calif.), Nashville (Tenn.), and Miami (Fla.) are among the 28 new cities to attain BFC status from the League of American Bicyclists.
“This latest round of BFC awards proves yet again that any city — regardless of size or geography — can take cost-effective steps to increase bicycling in their community,” said League President Andy Clarke. “From Bentonville, Arkansas, to Bethesda, Maryland, cities are embracing biking as a means to save money, reduce congestion, improve health and boost their economy.”
The League awards Bicycle Friendly Communities at five levels (Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze) and, with this diverse round of applicants, there are now 242 BFCs in 47 states. With the guidance and expertise of the BFC program, these communities are propelling the growth in bicycling nationwide. According to recent census data, bicycle commuting grew 80 percent in the largest BFCs, but only 32 percent in non-BFC cities, from 2000 to 2011.
Thanks to significant progress over the past five years, the nation’s second largest city — Los Angeles — has now attained Bronze BFC status. “Los Angeles is honored to be recognized by the League of American Bicyclists for our work making LA a more bike-friendly city,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “From building 1,600 miles of bikeways over the next 30 years to increasing the number of bike racks in the city by 80 percent, we’re making it simpler and safer for Angelenos to get around on two wheels.”
The strong bicycle culture in LA has grown up, thanks to countless individual cyclists and advocacy organizations like the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, the Bicycle Kitchen, and Multicultural Communities for Mobility. Validating the work of diverse stakeholders, Mayor Villaraigosa has supported and spurred the success of the 2010 Bicycle Master Plan, which has led to the expansion of the bicycling network and the addition of 75 miles of bikeways in 2011 alone.
Miami (Bronze award) is working to expand its bike path network, as well. A new bicycle master plan has led to on-street bike facilities, like buffered bike lanes, and a new bike parking ordinance is putting hundreds of racks across the city. Strong advocacy organizations, like the Green Mobility Network, have helped grow an array of bike culture events and 90 percent of schools offer in-class bicycle education.
Through the BFC program, the League works directly with communities to continue to improve condition for bicyclists. With the League’s feedback and technical assistance BFCs have the road map to move up the ranks.
Learn more about the program and view the full list of Bicycle Friendly Communities at www.bikeleague.org/communities.
Source: Carolyn Szczepanski