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City of Portsmouth named a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community

6/20/2014, 3:24 p.m.
Thousands participated in Bike to Work Week.

Thousands participated in Bike to Work Week nationwide last month.

The League of American Bicyclists has announced its latest round of Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) awards, including the City of Portsmouth at the bronze level. With nearly 40 million Americans bicycling in 2012 and U.S. bike commuting increasing more than 61% from 2000 to 2012, there’s growing consensus that making biking better is a key component of a competitive, livable community.

“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,” said League President, Andy Clarke. “Making this healthy and active transportation mode safe and easy is of growing importance to the 8 million residents of New York City and the 6,000 people in Franklin, Pa. alike. We’re excited that Portsmouth has made the smart and vital investments to become a designated Bicycle Friendly Community.”

The BFC program is revolutionizing the way communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks, while allowing them to benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. With this impressive round, there are now 303 BFCs in 48 states across America. The bronze BFC award recognizes Portsmouth’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling safety and education programs, infrastructure improvements, and pro-bicycling policies.

Susan L. Wilson, Portsmouth’s Manager of Transportation & Maritime Planning, was part of the team that put together the City’s award application. She said, “Portsmouth was judged on our commitment to what’s commonly called the 5 E’s—elements that make places great for bicycling: education, enforcement, engineering, encouragement, and evaluation. From Safety Town and the Police Department’s Neighborhood Impact Officers, to the School District’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator, to our continuing installation of bike racks and bike lanes, the City realizes the importance in investing in bicycling, and thereby, residents’ quality of life.

Since submitting our application in February, we’ve continued making Portsmouth even more bicycle friendly, most recently with an ordinance change allowing bicycles along the Seawall downtown. This award recognizes our commitment to bicycling and gives us momentum to continue making Portsmouth even more bike friendly.”

The BFC program provides a roadmap to building a Bicycle Friendly Community and the application itself has become a rigorous and an educational tool in itself. Since its inception, more than 769 distinct communities have applied and the five levels of the award – diamond, platinum, gold, silver and bronze – provide a clear incentive for communities to continuously improve.