Saturday, June 21, 2008

BIkes Belong News: June 21 2008

Read more cycling news at Cyclelicious.
June 23, 2008

Bikes Belong Awards Five REI/Bicycle Friendly Community Grants

Boulder, CO—June 23, 2008 Five designated and aspiring Bicycle Friendly Communities will receive funds to help them make bicycling more safe, convenient, and appealing places to ride. These grants, designed to pinpoint specific needs outlined by each community in their Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) application, help pay for bike plans, technical assistance, pilot projects, and innovative cycling initiatives.

This grant program is administered by the Bikes Belong Foundation in partnership with the League of American Bicyclists. It is made possible by the generous support of Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI).

Colorado Springs, Colorado
The City of Colorado Springs, a silver-level BFC, will receive $15,000 to conduct a community survey that will help determine key bicycling needs and attitudes in the city. The results will help city planners develop a detailed Bicycling Encouragement Plan for implementation in 2009.

Madison, Wisconsin
The City of Madison, a gold-level BFC, will use their $15,000 award to conduct a similar initiative. Their survey results will help the city rank and prioritize bike projects in their Platinum Plan, helping them advance toward their ambitious goal of "making Madison the best place in the country to bicycle."

New Haven, Connecticut
The City of New Haven received honorable mention in the last BFC round. Their $10,000 grant will help develop and implement a plan to improve bike safety, access, and parking in downtown New Haven, particularly targeting the Union Station area. This is the first step in their vision of a fully equipped bike station at the transit center.

Flint, Michigan
The Safe and Active Flint Coalition will receive $5,000 to improve bike safety and awareness through a Sharrow program. Flint received honorable mention in the last BFC round. They identified Sharrows—pavement markings encouraging cars and bicycles to share the road—as key to marking the first designated bike routes in the city.

New Orleans, Louisiana
The Metro Bicycle Coalition will receive $5,000 to help launch New Orleans' first bicycle event since Hurricane Katrina devastated the area in 2005. The community ride will promote bicycling and bike commuting while continuing to build momentum for bike facilities in the Unified New Orleans plan—a city-wide post-Katrina planning process. New Orleans received honorable mention in the last BFC round for its commitment to including bicycling in its infrastructure improvements.

About the REI/BFC Grant Program and Partners

The REI Bicycle Friendly Communities Grant Program is a collaborative effort of REI, the Bikes Belong Foundation, and the League of American Bicyclists. Advocacy organizations and city planning departments in League-designated Bicycle Friendly Communities are invited to apply for funding that will help them reach specific BFC goals. The grants provide seed money for technical assistance and evaluation, bicycle master plans, infrastructure improvements, and innovative pilot projects and programs.

The Bicycle Friendly Community program was developed by the League of American Bicyclists to inspire city governments to create safe, appealing bicycle routes and facilities as well programs that encourage people of all ages to ride bikes for transportation and recreation. Currently, there are 84 communities across the country designated with bronze, silver, gold, or platinum BFC awards. The League's BFC staff provides applicants with resources and technical assistance, and offers workshops and site visits for communities that want to develop and energize their efforts to become more bicycle friendly. Bikes Belong has been a key supporter of this important program since 2001.

REI—a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating, and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship—sponsors this important grant program. REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations, and financial contributions. For 11 consecutive years, REI has been recognized by FORTUNE magazine as one of "100 Best Companies to Work for in America." The company ranks 34th overall on the 2008 list.

Bikes Belong is the U.S. bicycle industry organization dedicated to putting more people on bicycles more often. Bikes Belong Coalition lobbies to increase federal bike funding, awards grants to support innovative bike projects, promotes bicycling and its benefits, and sponsors key initiatives such as the National Bike Summit. The affiliated Bikes Belong Foundation focuses on improving bicycle safety, enhancing children's bike programs, and making communities friendlier for bicyclists by backing national efforts such as Safe Routes to School and Bicycle Friendly Communities.