By Charles Pekow — Moscow, ID has proudly joined the list of Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFCs). The spring class of new graduates to Bicycle Friendly America (BFA) status show some continued if spotty progress through the Mountain West area. Only one business in Utah – and the smallest possible one at that – gained Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) recognition this time. A few communities in the region improved their status. Wood River Valley, ID advanced to gold and Summit County CO improved to Silver.
Moscow earned bronze status, the lowest ring for a BFC (below silver, gold, platinum and diamond). The city’s sustainability coordinator, Adam Lane, pushed the program. “I actually lived in three BFCs previously: Sioux Falls SD; Minneapolis; and right before I moved here, Fort Collins, CO;” Lane explained in an interview. “I had seen the benefits the designations brought to their communities and thought it would be good to bring them to Moscow.”
LAB praised Moscow for staging events such as Bike-to-Work Day and Bike Month activities. “We are really proud of the fact that over the last five years, we have had zero bicycle fatalities,” Lane beams. Moscow has also achieved an amazingly good 4.1 percent bike-to-work percentage.
“Bronze means they are doing something in each of the ‘Es’ (engineering, education, encouragement, evaluation & planning) and are doing outstanding in one of them,” explains League of American Bicyclists (LAB) Program Manager Bill Nesper. To get a higher status, Moscow will need to improve its Safe Routes to School activities, increase parking, and expand education efforts for adults and non-English speakers “to reach everyone in the community,” Nesper notes. While Moscow has added bike lanes on major roads, it should put them on more side streets, he adds.
Lane acknowledges that “I think we could improve our cycling network infrastructure” and says the city is expanding its education efforts for women and other demographic groups. While the bronze status lasts for four years, Lane says he’s hoping to improve so fast that Moscow can apply for a higher rank even before that time is up.
Progress in Utah, meanwhile, was as small as it could get – Alta Planning and Design’s Salt Lake City office won silver, the only new awardee in the state this round. And with two employees, it’s the smallest business LAB will consider. (Anyone working alone such as this reporter doesn’t count.) Other Alta offices around the country have already won BFB status, including gold and platinum. “The application was pretty easy. All we had to do was fill out the questions we were asked,” Alta Senior Planner Tom Millar explains. It helped, he said, that the office is located near bike stations, bike lanes and other bicycle facilities. The office building supplies indoor and outdoor bike parking. And the company offers incentives, such as reimbursement for buying new bike parts and riding to work.
With only two employees, the office could report a 100 percent bike to work rate. “Both of us live fairly close to work,” Millar notes. And the planners encourage other people to ride to work and apply for BFA status.
Also in the region, Boise and Fort Collins continued their push to become the most BFB cities in America. Intel won silver in Fort Collins, while TerraGraphics Environmental Engineering Inc and CTA Architects Engineers in Boise both won bronze.
Las Vegas’ business community seems to be making a push. The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada moved up to gold. Two Las Vegas employers, the Outside Las Vegas Foundation and REI earned silver. And Coda Group Inc, a Las Vegas architecture/planning/design office with three employees won bronze. REI’s Henderson, NV office also won bronze.
For more information, see www.bikeleague.org/bfa