BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — The city of Bloomington’s push to become more bicycle-friendly has earned the southern Indiana college town a rare gold rating from a national bicycle advocacy group.
The League of American Bicyclists recently moved Bloomington up one step up from the silver rating the city earned in 2011.
The bicycle league has declared 326 U.S. cities and towns as bicycle-friendly, but Bloomington is now one of only 21 gold communities, The Herald-Times reported Friday.
Bloomington’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, Vince Caristo, said that in the three years since earned its silver rating, the city has increased its total mileage of on-street bikeways and off-street paths and trails by 73 percent.
The city has also replaced 164 storm grates parallel to bicycle lanes, which were dangerous to riders, while so-called “bike boxes” were added to several streets to allot additional space for bicyclists waiting at red lights.
“We are in incredible company with the most bike-friendly communities in the country,” he said. “It’s really a big achievement for Indiana and for Bloomington and the whole state to have a community in the upper echelon for recognition for cycling.”
The bicycle-friendly designation lasts four years. During that time, Caristo said the city will continue to improve by developing and connecting bike paths and streets and promoting cycling for transportation and recreation. The city hopes to receive the league’s platinum award by 2016.
Bloomington will also be working to address barriers to safe and effective travel by bicycle.
The city about 50 miles south of Indianapolis was named a bronze level bicycle-friendly community in 2003, making it the first Indiana community to receive that designation.
Indiana is ranked by the league as the 37th most bicycle-friendly state.