The last few weeks, weâ€™ve been anxiously waiting for news from the League of American Cyclists. Any day now they should be releasing their list of communities across America that they believe are good for cyclists. Places like Boulder and Davis are on that list. Will Provo be next?
Itâ€™s Been a Long Road
Becoming a bike-friendly community isnâ€™t exactly an easy process. Several months ago, after a year of work, the Provo Bicycle Committee finally submitted their application. First, we researched what it would take and got the city council to vote for a plan that included the intent of becoming a bike-friendly city. Council person (and hottie husbandâ€¦hehe) Sterling Beck started our application and began gathering facts and putting together sections, then Bike Committee member Aaron Skabelund took over and did a phenomenal job of contacting dozens of city and community resources to provide the (very, very specific) facts, figures, and details that were required. Bike Committee Chair Zac Whitmore spent a lot of his time getting some of the more hard-to-determine facts together (heâ€™s the only person in the city that has calculated the total number of public and private bike parking spaces everywhere), and I worked with the revisions.
Finally, we hit the â€œsubmitâ€ button and are now eagerly awaiting their response.
What Would Becoming a Bike-Friendly City Mean?
All that hard work isnâ€™t for nothing. Becoming a bike-friendly city could be a big deal for Provo. Yes, we would be listed on League of American Cyclist publications and would get to put up two Bike-Friendly Community signs. But, it will also give us some less-tangible benefits.
Think about these:
- Momentum â€“ Weâ€™ve been garnering more support for our cause, but official recognition would help our neighbors see just how much our efforts are improving the city. Ideally, weâ€™ll encounter less push back and will have an easier time getting funding and approval for things like bike lanes, bike racks, signage, and trials.
- Visioning â€“ As a part of the application, we were asked to share our vision and make note of some of our weaknesses. In particular, we were asked to judge how we matched up against specific attributes of bike friendly cities. This was a huge help in figuring out where weâ€™re headed and what we need to do next. We have a lot going for us. But, we also found there were a lot of attributes we havenâ€™t even started to get to. Combine our new vision with growing community support, and you have a recipe for success!
- Guidance â€“ When the League of American Cyclists releases the awards, weâ€™ll also get some detailed feedback from them about our strengths and weaknesses. Now only will this help us with our own planning, but we can use it as we communicate with city and state officials.
- Attention â€“ Becoming a recognized city means that Provo will become more well-known for its bike-ability. Bike-friendly cities are often featured in lifestyle magazines and top 10 lists. That means weâ€™ll do a better job of attracting bike-friendly businesses and awesome people that want to become a part of what weâ€™re doing. Itâ€™s really a cycle (haha) â€¦the more good publicity we getâ€¦the more people come on boardâ€¦the more changes we can makeâ€¦the more good publicity we getâ€¦etc.
So, send some good thoughts our way! Weâ€™ll let you know as soon as the League releases the list of bike-friendly cities.