It comes as no surprise to Boulder cyclists that Boulder was recently rated among the top three bike friendly cities in the country by both Bicycling Magazine and the League of American Bicyclists. Key factors in the magazine rating were the high number of streets with bike lanes or facilities, high ratio of bike shops and numerous cycling oriented events throughout the year. Being cited as a “Cycling Mecca” by the magazine just confirms why we love living and cycling here!
In the League of American Bicyclists rating, applicant communities are judged in five categories often referred to as the Five Es. These are Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning. A community must demonstrate achievements in each of the five categories in order to be considered for an award. Communities with more significant achievements in these areas receive superior awards. Some of the cycling resources factored into the LAB rating include the biking network, bike parking, cycling/motorist safety education, cycling encouragement programs, law enforcement training on cycling issues, plans to reduce cycling accidents, and implementation of programs like Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School.
The BCC is a member of the LAB giving it access to terrific resources for improving clubs and the LAB accident insurance plan for our members. The BCC is contributing to cycling safety education in our community through our advocacy and safety programs. We have Ride Leaders trained in safety, safe riding rules for our group rides, and all routes are designed to maximize safety. In addition, we have a new Beginning Road Biker Program. We are also involved in advocating safer roads in Boulder County where we ride. Check out some of the new cycling safety and advocacy content that has recently been added to our website.
Extraordinary Boulder Cycling Resources Cited by the LAB
After many years of top-notch investments and community action, Boulder has received the well-deserved Platinum designation from the League. Boulder’s bicycle network and service for cyclists is second to none. The city employs a Complete Streets approach when considering major transportation facility enhancements and maintains their bikeways to high-level transportation standards. Separate snow removal crews begin plowing the city’s multi-use paths at exactly the same time that other crews are plowing city streets. At least 95 percent of arterial streets have bike lanes or trails on them. The city’s site GOBikeBoulder.net helps cyclists navigate the city’s 380 mile network of bike facilities by offering turn by turn biking routes, miles traveled and calories burned, as well as CO2 and gas saved by not driving. The expansive bike network has even led local real estate agents to show homes by bike in an effort to highlight the location’s proximity to the network. Recently 100 inverted U racks were installed in addition to the 125 loop-and-post converted parking meters, which were implemented after multi-spot meters were introduced.
Boulder’s bicycling education and promotion programs have been the model for communities across the country. Twelve public and four private schools have Safe Routes to School programs to encourage more kids to walk and bike to school. Bear Creek Elementary was selected as the recipient of the 2008 James Oberstar Award for involving 70 percent of its students in walking and biking activities. More than 7,500 people participated in Boulder’s 2008 Bike to Work Day – an increase of 48 percent from 2007. During Walk & Bike Month there are more than 50 events including bike rides, walks, clinics, Park(ing) Spaces Day, contests between employers and individuals to encourage cycling and huge community gatherings. Boulder’s investment has paid off. Bike use and other non-automotive modes of transportation have limited the growth in vehicular miles traveled in Boulder to approximately 1 percent annually since 1990. Other encouraging efforts include the Buffalo Classic and Circle Boulder by Bike events. Community Cycles, Singletrack Mountain Bike Adventures and Y-Riders offer youth-oriented programming to foster responsibility, peer support and to keep young people active in cycling.
Most Significant Recent Accomplishment: Boulder has a clear dedication to completing their bikeway system. Integrating transportation and recreation in a truly comprehensive network, Boulder has made cycling a great way for its residents to get around and enjoy themselves. Boulder made significant gains in recreational cycling during 2008. Construction of the one-of-a-kind 45-acre Valmont Bicycle Park is anticipated to begin in spring 2009 with a goal of opening the park in late fall 2009. Additionally, 11 miles of mountain bike trails on Open Space and Mountain Park lands have been added in the last two years. Boulder has once again moved to the head of the pack with its innovative initiatives and investments.
Most Compelling Community Statistic: Ridership continues to go up throughout the community. Boulder’s 2007 to 2008 surveys show a 20 percent increase in bicycling in summer months and a 30 percent increase in bike use on Bike to Work Day. Similarly, bike parking counts in the downtown district increased by an average of 28 percent.
Best Result of Designation: Boulder’s Parks and Recreation department and GO Boulder worked in partnership to host the Athletes Holiday Gathering, a City Council supported event, to recognize more than 20 local Olympic and elite athletes that live and train in Boulder. Mayor Shaun McGrath also honored the economic and cultural contributions of Boulder’s active living, business, and broad-based community efforts, which factored in to Boulder’s Platinum award. The award also helped push forward efforts to improve singletrack access and recreational cycling opportunities in the city.