The League of American Bicyclists has honored Chattanooga with its prestigious Bicycle Friendly Community designation "because of its longstanding commitment to providing safe accommodation and facilities for bicyclists, and its efforts to encourage bicycle travel for transportation and recreation."
Through policy and design, Chattanooga has focused on increasing opportunities for physical activity and is a model in America's efforts to reduce obesity, officials said.
Chattanooga is one of 13 communities given the Bicycle Friendly Community designation this fall; a total of 27 cities have been honored with the award in 2003.
Chattanooga has been granted the League's Bicycle Friendly Community bronze-level award, the fourth highest prize in the national awards program. A total of 17 American communities have earned the bronze-level designation. Just three cities—Portland and Corvallis, Oregon and Palo Alto, California—have received the second highest gold-level award. The League has not yet bestowed the highest-level platinum award on any community.
Elissa Margolin, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists, congratulated Chattanooga for its achievement. “Chattanooga and our other Bicycle Friendly Communities display uncommon political commitment, technical expertise, and community involvement to become better places to bicycle. The rewards for residents are huge: reduced traffic, better air quality, increased travel choices, and greater opportunities to lead more active lifestyles.”
League staff and reviewers consider several factors before granting Bicycle Friendly Community status, including:
• The physical environment for bicycling – on-street facilities, trails, parking etc.
• Education programs to promote a “share the road” ethic among bicyclists and drivers
• Promotional initiatives to persuade people to ride or ride more often
• Enforcement of traffic laws for both motorists and bicyclists
• Future plans and evaluation techniques to improve conditions further
Among Chattanooga’s numerous policies and programs to make bicycling better for its residents, the League staff and reviewers were most impressed by its master plan for the region and its successful implementation of that plan. Andy Clarke, the Director of State and Local Advocacy for the League, will officially present the award at the Chattanooga City Council meeting on December 9 beginning at 6 p.m.
A related event will take place that day between 1:30 and 2:15 p.m. at the Waterhouse Pavilion in Miller Plaza. Approximately 100 fourth grade elementary students from the Battle Academy for Teaching and Learning and the Normal Park Museum Magnet will present their artwork promoting bicycle safety in the community. Posters will be judged by both students and members of the
Chattanooga Bicycle Task Force. Finalists will be presented at the City Council Meeting that evening.
The League’s Bicycle Friendly Community Campaign is a national grassroots effort to increase the number of trips made by bike, promote physical fitness, and help make communities more livable. The Campaign works in the most effective way possible—town by town, city by city—to encourage bicycling and achieve a bicycle-friendly America.
Visit www.bicyclefriendlycommunity.org to view the entire list of award-winning communities and learn more about the program.
The Campaign is supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (www.rwjf.org) and the Bikes Belong Coalition (www.bikesbelong.org).
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America on behalf of its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org and www.bicyclefriendlycommunity.org.
2003 Bicycle Friendly Community award winners
Palo Alto, California
Fort Collins, Colorado
Santa Barbara, California
Stanford University, California
Boca Raton, Florida
Cary, North Carolina
College Station, Texas
Miami Beach, Florida
The Presidio of San Francisco, CA