50 states that have demonstrated significant gains.
Since the program’s rebranding in 2003, more than 800
communities have applied. A community can reapply on
each cycle to retain its status, or better yet, move higher
in the rankings.
Davis, Calif., (pop. 63,722), considered the mother lode
of community bicycling since the mid-1960s has implemented bike-only roundabouts, bike signal heads to
improve traffic flow, and technology that automatically
detects cyclists and stops traffic for them to increase efficiency and safety, and is now gearing for the Diamond
award. Its competitors will no doubt include the three
other Platinum level communities — Boulder and Fort
Collins in Colorado and Portland, Ore. Daily bike trips
in Davis, currently at roughly 20 to 25 percent of all local
travel, are among the highest in the nation. But that is
not good enough. As Davis’ 2014 Bicycle Action Plan
notes, this figure must increase for the town to become
world-class on the European model and also meet its
own climate action objectives. That means targeting to a
30-percent bicycle mode share by 2020.
Cleveland Heights, Ohio, (pop. 46,121) is part of an inner
ring of Garden-City-era suburbs largely developed before
World War II. It received a Bronze award in 2013 with
the help of Mary Dunbar, a retired financial communica-
tions executive. Dunbar holds dual roles as president of
the nonprofit Heights Bicycle Coalition and member of
the city council. Ongoing local initiatives include pend-
ing passage of a “Complete Streets” resolution, investing
in better crosswalks, crossing guards and safety patrol gear
for the Safe Routes to Schools program, and more inno-
vative street markings on par with the 2013 “buffered”
bike lane, the first in Northeast Ohio. The lane carries
hundreds of commuters daily uphill from the Univer-
sity Circle district, home of the Cleveland Museum of
Art, Case Western Reserve University, and a wide array
of other world-renowned cultural and medical facilities.
Dunbar hopes that by increasing the number of street
savvy cyclists, “We can get the Silver.”
Buffered lanes — or lanes that are separated by space
from motor vehicle traffic — belong to a toolkit of pro-
tected infrastructure solutions meant to overcome the
safety shortcomings of the standard one-size-fits-all bike
lane. Buffers mark an increasingly popular street design
approach intended to attract a large segment of bicy-
clists who have never felt safe on conventional lanes.
Buffered lanes attract a large segment of bicyclists
who have never felt safe on conventional lanes.
Photo by Paul Krueger