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City of Topeka named Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community

(WTVG)
Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 3:29 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The City of Topeka has been named a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

The City of Topeka says on Thursday the League of American Bicyclists honored its efforts to build better places for residents to bike with a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community award. It said it joins 485 communities throughout the nation in the movement for safer streets and better bicycling for everyone.

According to the City, the award recognizes for its commitment to creating transportation and recreational resource that benefit residents while also encouraging healthier and more sustainable transportation methods.

“During one of the toughest years in recent memory, we have seen so many Americans turn to biking during the pandemic for fun and for necessary transportation options. It’s so important that communities like Topeka have laid the groundwork over several years to make biking a safe, accessible option for people when we all need as much health and happiness as possible,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists.

“This Bicycle Friendly Community award is the culmination of years of work put in by Topeka and its citizen advocates for better biking. This award round, Topeka joins 51 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities in the movement toward healthier, more sustainable and connected places. As we turn the page on 2020 and look ahead to 2021, we’re proud that Topeka and communities like it are embracing bicycling as a solution to our collective recovery.”

The City said the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly America program sets the standard for how communities build and benchmark progress in making biking safer. It said this round of awards includes 51 new and renewing awardees, joining a total of 485 current communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the City, the Bronze-level award recognizes its commitment to improving conditions for all residents that bike through investments in bike education programs, regular bike events that promote and encourage residents to choose biking, pro-bike policies and bike infrastructure.

“We are honored to be one of only five cities in Kansas with a bronze recognition which is the highest recognition in the state. Biking is a choice for some but a must for others. It’s imperative to our quality of life and economic growth that Topeka continues to advance high-quality transportation choices for all citizens.  The bronze award speaks to the type of dedicated people we have in this community who will not let us forget that. Even with lower stress bike lanes, an expanded trail system, more complete streets, and bike racks at businesses, there’s still a lot more work to do including bringing back bike share,” said Bill Fiander Director of Planning and Development.

The City said over 850 communities have applied for recognition by the BFC program, providing a roadmap to making biking better for communities of all shapes and sizes. It said while the award process considers visible elements, like bike infrastructure, other essential elements include efforts around adult and youth bike education, encouragement through events like Bike to Work Day, evaluation mechanisms and enforcement all through the lens of equity.

According to the City, the rigorous application process is an educational tool in and of itself. It said the process includes an opportunity for local bicyclists and active transportation advocates to provide input on their experiences and perceptions of bicycling in their community.

The City said the five levels of the BFC award are diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze, as well as an honorable mention category. It said the different levels give a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve. It said awarded communities are required to renew their status every four years to ensure that they maintain existing efforts and keep up with changing technology, national safety standards and community-driven best practices.

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