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Friday, May 01, 2009

Missouri now has a Bicycle Friendly Community

The League of American Bicyclists today released its Bicycle Friendly Communities for 2009. For the first time, a Missouri city made the list.

Columbia, the home of the University of Missouri, earned a Silver designation on the strength of the city's engineering of bicycle routes and encouragement of bicycling. As the Missouri Bicycle Federation has noted, bicycle trips in Columbia more than doubled--increasing from 3.4% to 8.7% of all work/school trips. The GetAbout Columbia program has succeeded in increasing the number of bike trails and bike lanes.

Three Illinois cities also made the list. Chicago earned a Silver designation, while the suburbs of Schaumburg and Naperville received Bronze.

What are this year's most Bicycle Friendly Communities? Davis, Calif; Boulder, Colo; and Portland, Ore. All three communities received the Platinum designation.

Earning Gold are Corvallis, Calif.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Jackson and Teton County, Wyo.; Madison, Wis.; Palo Alto, Calif.; Tuscon, Ariz.; San Francisco, Seattle and Stanford University.

As far as Bicycle Friendly States are concerned, Illinois ranked 12th, while Missouri ranked 17th.

Illinois earned its rating because the state "passed a complete streets law in 2007 and has a statewide bike map with suitability ratings. However, there are no performance measures or project lists in the state bike plan."

Missouri's status was because "Missouri has a bike route map with suitability ratings, but no bike master plan and no cell phone use restrictions."

Wisconsin took second place, trailing only Washington state. Other nearby Midwestern/Southern states and their rankings include Iowa (6), Michigan (15), Indiana (28), Kentucky (27), Kansas (33), Arkansas (38) and Tennessee (43).

What state is at the bottom of the list? Alabama. Here's that LAB has to say about Alabama: "Alabama promotes bicycling through its tourism board, yet lacks a state-wide bike route network and still has dated, discriminatory mandatory sidepath laws on the books. The state also falls behind the majority of the country in Safe Routes to School programming."

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