Today, the League of American Bicyclists recognized the City of Kalamazoo with a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award.
With the announcement of 6 communities moving from an Honorable Mention to Bronze, 9 communities receiving a Bronze award on their first application, and 22 renewing BFCs today, Kalamazoo joins a group of communities, in all 50 states, that are transforming their neighborhoods. There are now 416 communities currently recognized with a BFC award for their efforts to make biking better.
“We applaud these communities for making improvements for people who bike in a ways that build upon their existing strengths and are based upon their particular needs, whether that is infrastructure, education, or encouragement,” said Bill Nesper, Executive Director at the League of American Bicyclists.
“We are encouraged by the way that communities are using bicycling as a part of their solution to issues of health, job access, traffic safety, and the environment and using our program to make progress in those issues. We look forward to continuing to work with these communities as part of our mission to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone.”
The Bronze BFC award recognizes the City of Kalamazoo’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in infrastructure, pro-bicycling policies, and promoting bicycling. The BFC program provides a benchmark for communities to evaluate these conditions and policies, while highlighting areas for improvement. The national scope of the program also promotes competition and comparison between communities - with 416 currently recognized BFC there is always a model for your community to be found.
This year Kalamazoo will see the completion of the downtown segment of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, the completion of a trail segment through Upjohn Park, additional bike racks installed downtown and a road diet with bike lanes added to South Burdick Street, among other new lanes, routes, and improvements. A Complete Streets Policy is being drafted to ensure that all streets are planned, designed, constructed, operated, and maintained to enable a Vision Zero goal and provide accommodations for users of all ages and abilities. In 2016 the Kalamazoo City Commission passed a five-foot bicycle passing ordinance to improve safety for cyclists.
"We're excited to officially be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community for the first time ever," said Rebekah Kik, Director of Community Planning and Development. "We know we're still at the beginning of this process and will continue to create safe and accessible routes for cyclists and all street users throughout the City."
Each community that applies for a BFC award receives a report card which will be available in an award database at http://bikeleague.org/bfa/awards. Explanations of each award level and key data from each report card are available at http://bikeleague.org/content/building-blocks-bicycle-friendly-communities.
This announcement comes during National Bike Month, and right before Kalamazoo Bike Week begins on May 13. Visit www.kalamazoobikeweek.com for a complete list of events in Kalamazoo.
About the Bicycle Friendly America Program
The Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University programs are generously supported by program partner Planet Bike. The Bicycle Friendly Community program was created in 1995 and has processed more than 1,200 applications since 2002. To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, visit www.bikeleague.org/BFA.
The League of American Bicyclists is leading the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. As leaders, our commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change.