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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Making Lancaster a Bicycle-Friendly Community

Jul 30, 2014 07:54AM ● By Amy Crystle

 

The Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) Review Committee was impressed with the growing commitment to make Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a great place for bicyclists, according to a feedback report provided to the city of Lancaster in the fall of 2012 when it applied for a Bicycle Friendly Community designation with the League of American Bicyclists. The League is a national bicycle advocacy organization that represents bicyclists in the movement to create safer roads, stronger communities and a bicycle-friendly America. Lancaster was not designated bicycle-friendly by the League in 2012, but received an honorable mention.

The BFC designation is part of the Bicycle Friendly America program created by the League in 2002. Communities complete an online application and submit it with supporting documentation to the League. Local reviewers, League staff members and national judges assess the application and provide a feedback report and designation, if applicable. Based on the reviewers’ comments, the League awards applicants a platinum, gold, silver or bronze level designation. The League awards honorable mention to applicants that are just starting to address the needs of cyclists.

In the United States, 303 communities in 48 states have achieved the BFC designation. BFCs provide many accommodations for recreational and commuting bicyclists that include signage, bike lanes, education, events and organized rides. According to the organization’s website, BikeLeague.org, “Building such a community can translate into a more connected, physically active and environmentally sustainable community that enjoys increased property values, business growth, increased tourism and more transportation choices for citizens.” Communities in Pennsylvania that have earned the designation comprise Philadelphia (silver), Franklin (bronze), Pittsburgh (bronze), State College–Centre Region (bronze) and York (bronze).

In 2008, businesses and states were added to the Bicycle Friendly America program. The Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) program welcomes applications from any business, corporation, organization, association, government agency or nonprofit group located in the United States with more than two employees. The League recognizes 44 BFBs in Pennsylvania: four gold, 11 silver and 29 bronze-level businesses. In 2011, the League added universities to the Bicycle Friendly America program.

Dream Ride Projects, a nonprofit based in Lancaster that focuses on improving air quality, is the only gold-level designated business in South Central Pennsylvania. The League awarded silver designations to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in 2014. Bronze-level businesses in Lancaster include Cargas Systems, the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Weber Advertising & Marketing. In June, six regional organizations submitted applications, including two Lancaster-based businesses: Lancaster County Library, Duke Street and Mountville branches, and Lemon Street Market. The League will announce this year’s final round of designations in September.

To read the BFC feedback report for Lancaster or to help create a more bicycle-friendly America through community advocacy, visit BikeLancaster.org. To speak with someone locally, email [email protected]

Amy Crystle is director of education for the Lancaster League of American Bicyclists and the Bicycle Savant at Lemon Street Market. She created the Citizens for a Bicycle Friendly Lancaster Facebook page.

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