"City of Santa Barbara to Receive Bicycle Friendly Community Award on August 5 "
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(WASHINGTON, DC)—The League of American Bicyclists has named Santa Barbara, California a Bicycle-Friendly Community, following a detailed audit of the city’s efforts to provide safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists and to encourage residents to bike for transportation and recreation. Through policy and design, Santa Barbara has focused on increasing opportunities for physical activity and is a model in America’s efforts to reduce obesity.
Santa Barbara received the silver award, the third highest level of the League’s four-tiered Bicycle-Friendly Community national awards program. Just two cities, Palo Alto, CA and Corvallis, OR received the gold award; Santa Barbara was one of just six cities to receive the silver award. The League honored a total of fourteen communities around the United States with the Bicycle-Friendly Community award, but did not bestow the highest-level platinum award to any communities. The City’s Mobility Coordinator, Dru van Hengel said, upon hearing of the award, “We are in tremendously good company.”
Andy Clarke, the League’s Director of State and Local Advocacy, will present the award at the August 5, City Council meeting. The Mayor of Santa Barbara, the Honorable Marti Blum will receive the award on behalf of the City. The meeting begins at 2:00pm at City Hall.
An example of the City’s continuing commitment to replacing vehicle trips with bicycles is the new fleet of bicycles inaugurated this month, which will be unveiled on Tuesday as well. City staff can reserve and use an assortment of bicycles for City related business throughout the day, lessening the agency’s impact on parking and congestion. The City, in cooperation with the Bicycle Coalition, Goleta Valley Cycling and Traffic Solutions also offers bicycle safety instruction for all staff, with plans to expand the program to South Coast residents.
Santa Barbara has a long history of deep and abiding commitment to bicycling. The City recently conducted a $200 per day giveaway to all downtown employees who bicycled to work or used another form of alternative transportation during a six-month period. Space permitting, Santa Barbara installs safe bicycle parking facilities in front of any local business that request it. The City provides materials in both English and Spanish for bicyclists on traffic laws, safety at night, and employer assistance opportunities. Santa Barbara was a partner in a Safe Routes to School planning project to increase the safety of bicycling and walking to school for children. Van Hengel, also co-directed this groundbreaking project that subsidized the training of eleven League Cycling Instructors to teach safe cycling to area schoolchildren and adults.
The League of American Bicyclists considered several factors in evaluating Santa Barbara and other communities that applied for Bicycle-Friendly Community status. Reviewers examined the traffic engineering facilities and policies and bicycling promotion efforts of the communities. The cities’ enforcement of traffic laws on motorists and cyclists, their efforts to educate both groups on traffic safety, and their processes to plan for and evaluate policies and facilities for cycling also were considered.
Elissa Margolin, Executive Director of the League, said, “The League is delighted to honor Santa Barbara with the Bicycle-Friendly Community designation. Thanks to its long-term commitment to better bicycling, people in Santa Barbara benefit every day from reduced traffic, better air quality, and improved public health. These benefits translate to increased quality of life, higher property values, and heightened community spirit.”
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 liveable. The Campaign works in the most effective way possible—town by town, city by city—to encourage bicycling and achieve a bicycle-friendly America.
Santa Barbara is among the first communities in the nation
that applied to receive the Bicycle-Friendly Communities designation under
the League’s program, launched in September 2002. Communities wishing
to be considered for the award should visit www.bicyclefriendlycommunity.org
to view the application and learn more about the program. The Campaign
is supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (www.rwjf.org)
and the Bikes Belong Coalition (www.bikesbelong.org).
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