MILLEDGEVILLE — The Milledgeville-Baldwin County community’s leaders and decision-makers are learning firsthand about the benefits of becoming a Bicycle Friendly Community.
“I hope they recognize the value of attaining the status. It’s something positive for the community, which can be used for marketing the community and attracting people wanting to retire here,” said Dr. Jim Lidstone, a Live Healthy Baldwin advocate and director of Georgia College’s Center for Health and Social Issues. “It gives alternate forms of transportation and it’s something positive for businesses that want to relocate here.”
While members and advocates of the Bicycling Club of Milledgeville and the Live Healthy Baldwin coalition continue to urge the community and its leaders to support and implement a Complete Streets policy, Eric Broadwell, founder of the Be Bike Friendly consulting firm, kicked off a three-day local visit Wednesday. An invitation was extended to him from the local Chamber of Commerce, bicycling club and Live Healthy Baldwin.
“[Lidstone] asked me to come down and do an assessment on Milledgeville’s ability to attain a Bicycle Friendly Community designation. The goal in my visit is to create a road map with short-term and long-term goals for them to follow to gain the designation. When I look at a community, there are five E’s used to evaluate the community — engineering, education, encouragement, evaluation and planning and enforcement; enforcement is the hardest one to get a high score on,” said Broadwell, who helped create Georgia’s first Bicycle Friendly Community in Roswell in 2005. “In Roswell, after the first year of the Bicycle Friendly Community designation, $2 million was contributed to the city through cycling; 60 percent of people that came to the community to ride were not from Roswell. I am asking [Milledgeville leaders] about their impression on multi-use trails, if they ride a bike, if they are aware of Safe Routes to School, what they are doing to help businesses reach national designation to move forward, what the laws are and what the city does to promote activity on the bicycle, and if they are aware of bike clubs.”