Olympia To Receive Bicycle-Friendly Community Award
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2004
Contact: Patrick J. McCormick
League of American Bicyclists: 202-822-1333; [email protected]
Olympia contact: Jim Lazar: 360-786-1822; [email protected]
Washington, DC—The League of American Bicyclists has honored Olympia, Washington with its prestigious Bicycle Friendly Community award, making the city one of just 38 communities recognized for their commitment to providing safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists, and for promoting bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation . Linda Schwartz of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington wi ll present the award at a meeting of the Olympia City Council on June 15 at 7:00pm in the Council Chambers at 900 Plum Street. Olympia is receiving the silver-level of the BFC designation.
Visit www.bicyclefriendlycommunity.org to learn more about the awards process and view the recently published highlights on the League's award-winning communities, as well as the results of the League's recent International BFC Symposium at the World Bank in Washington, DC .
Andy Clarke, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists, said, "I am delighted to honor Olympia and our other BFC award winners. Given the choice, people will and do ride their bikes. Bicycle Friendly Communities are special places, with a heightened sense of community spirit and an uncommon devotion to improving their quality of life. With political commitment, focused investment in infrastructure and policies, and broad community involvement, cities and towns can become better places not only to bicycle but also to live. The rewards for residents are huge: greater opportunities to lead active lifestyles; improved air quality, and increased travel choices."
staff and reviewers consider several factors before granting a community
BFC status, including:
Bicycling to work or on errands has become routine for many in Olympia because the City has made bicycle parking both convenient and secure, eliminating a major impediment for bike commuting. T he City has built four curb-extension bike parking areas in its downtown, including benches, planters, brick pavers and one or more 8-bike racks in each area. The downtown transit center also offers bike lockers and racks. In addition, Olympia's “Racks-on-Demand” program installs small A-shaped racks on sidewalks in the downtown for businesses that lack space to accommodate bike parking. Further encouraging bicycling, Olympia has bike lanes on 70% of its arterial street network.
Olympia's 16-year old Bicycle Commuter Contest takes place during the entire month of May, National Bike Month TM ( www.bikemonth.com ), encouraging residents to reduce traffic, save money, and improve their health by riding a bicycle to work and school and on errands. Participants track their miles to win prizes; in recent years over 1,300 participants (representing close to 5% of Olympia-area commuters) have biked nearly 180,000 miles. Each year, about 10% of the City's 600 employees participate in the Bicycle Commuter Contest.
Olympia also promotes bike commuting by City employees year-round. The majority of City of Olympia employees are eligible to receive a $2 per day incentive for commuting by bike (as well as for walking, riding the bus or carpooling). The City Manager receives a bicycle allowance in lieu of a car allowance.
Boulder, Colorado was granted the League's gold-level BFC award. Silver-level award winners include Gainesville, Florida and Tucson, Arizona, as well as Olympia. Bronze level distinctions were awarded to Ashland, Oregon; Auburn, Alabama; Carrboro, North Carolina; Longmont, Colorado; Mountain View, California; Portage, Michigan; and Rockville, Maryland. An Honorable Mention was given to Milpitas, California. The League has yet to bestow its highest-level platinum award on any communities.
The League's Bicycle Friendly Community Campaign is a national grassroots effort to increase the number of trips made by bike, promote physical fitness, and help make communities more livable. The Campaign works in the most effective way possible-town by town, city by city-to encourage bicycling and achieve a bicycle-friendly America. The Campaign is supported by generous grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ( www.rwjf.org ) and Bikes Belong Coalition ( www.bikesbelong.org ).
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The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America's 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org and www.bicyclefriendlycommunity.org . May is National Bike Month TM ; visit www.bikemonth.com for safe cycling tips, promotional ideas, and events in your area.
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