The League of American Bicyclists announced its latest round of Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) Wednesday.
Milledgeville earned Bronze status on its first try and becomes one of only seven Georgia cities to reach a BFC designation. The city is now formally recognized for its quality bicycling infrastructure, programs and continuing efforts to improve them.
“Milledgeville is proud to have earned the designation as a bicycle friendly community from The League of American Bicyclists,” said Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley. “We have worked over the past several months to make our community more inviting to bicyclists and to encourage more citizens to utilize bicycles as a means of transportation, recreation, and exercise. We hope this will aid in our message to encourage citizens to get active and help our community in several ways to include traffic issues, parking, and the environment.”
The local Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee hoped for Bronze but anticipated an honorable mention the first time.
Successful applicants can achieve Honorable Mention, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum status.
For Milledgeville to become “bike friendly,” the city met the five E's of engineering, education, enforcement, evaluation and planning and encouragement.
The Bicycle Club of Milledgeville and Live Healthy Baldwin promote cycling for transportation, recreation and fitness.
Another plus is the Fishing Creek Community Trail that will connect the Oconee River Greenway to Georgia College West Campus, Baldwin County Schools, the county recreation department and the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Industrial Park via bicycle and walking trails when completed.
“This round of applications overwhelmingly confirms what we heard from local elected officials at the National Bike Summit this year - riding a bike embodies the quality-of-life aspirations of communities across the country,” League President Andy Clarke said. “Making this healthy and active transportation mode safe and easy is of growing importance. We're excited that these communities have made the smart and vital investments to become a designated Bicycle Friendly Community.”
Milledgeville was one of 49 communities selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to work to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic through policy and system changes. One of the main goals of that initiative was to gain a BFC designation.
The City of Milledgeville enacted a Complete Streets Policy in 2013 to address needs and expectations of all users of city roadways and streets including bicyclists.
Under the Complete Streets Policy, the city agreed to try and accommodate all road users within the current budget constraints. The city receives free signage with the Bronze status.
A bike and pedestrian implementation strategy will transform the city by the next BFC application round. Complete Streets is a good tool to have.
This Friday riders will commute to downtown Milledgeville and meet in front of City Hall at noon, where Mayor Richard Bentley will deliver a proclamation for National Bike Month. Check out www.mvillebikes.com for May bike month scheduling and participation guidelines.