Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Is Your City Listed in Latest Ranking of Bicycle Friendly Communities?

Business
Is Your City Listed in Latest Ranking of Bicycle Friendly Communities?

The growing number of people pedaling along the sidewalks and streets aren't just biking in urban areas.

The League of American Bicyclists released its latest ranking of Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) today, including 32 communities that are new to the list, many of which are suburbs. There are now 291 BFCs in 48 states.

The League of American Bicyclists' list of Bicycle Friendly Communities features 291 U.S. cities, including 32 additions in 2013—many of which are suburbs. Photo credit: The League of American Bicyclists

The League considers the addition of that many suburbs a win in the battle to reduce emissions.

"One of the great challenges in envisioning a truly bicycle-friendly America is the need to transform suburban communities," League President Andy Clarke said. "Well, that transformation is evidently underway and is being lead by communities like Menlo Park, CA; Elmhurst, IL; Reston, VA; and Richfield, MN."

The BFC program has been around for a decade. Each year, communities apply to become a BFC and can receive advice on the investments needed to increase biking in their areas. They can receive platinum, gold or bronze awards based on their level of commitment to increasing biking.

Places like Elmhurst and Ferguson, MO, serve as examples to cities that aren't on the list. The League estimates that 10 to 20 percent of students in Elmhurst bike to school. That figure prompted the installation of hundreds of additional bike racks at local schools. About 300 miles away, Ferguson introduced an Earn-a-Bike program to encourage children to use safety when biking around town.

Map credit: The League of American Bicyclists

"Ferguson's residents and businesses, with the help of regional organizations, have been working to update our practices and policies to be more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly," said Dwayne T. James, Ferguson city council member.  "Receiving this bronze award shows that we're on the right path to doing what is right and what is best for our residents and the region as a whole. I'm thankful for this honor as well as look forward to continuing our efforts to be an even better Bicycle Friendly Community." 

There are just four platinum communities on the list—Boulder, CO; Davis, CA; Fort Collins, CO; and Portland, OR. Though Colorado has two of the top four platinum communities, the state is ranked second  on the League's Bicycle Friendly America map. Washington is ranked No. 1, with 10 BFCs and 20 bicycle friendly businesses.

California has 44 bicycle friendly businesses, including Facebook, which is listed as a gold-level company. The social network partnered with Menlo Park, the silver-level BFC where it is headquartered, on a program to build a 394-resident housing complex within walking distance to its headquarters. Menlo Park's amount of commuters grew by 8 percent since last year's ranking.

"We've worked hard over the past few years to raise our BFC status through policy, infrastructure and education efforts to encourage more active transportation in Menlo Park and improve our community health, environment, and quality of life," Menlo Park Mayor Peter Ohtaki said. "We look forward to continuing to enhance bike connections and amenities across the City to encourage a healthy, vibrant community." 

schnuddel / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Jenna McGuire

Commonly used herbicides across the U.S. contain highly toxic undisclosed "inert" ingredients that are lethal to bumblebees, according to a new study published Friday in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A warming climate can lead to lake stratification, including toxic algal blooms. UpdogDesigns / Getty Images

By Ayesha Tandon

New research shows that lake "stratification periods" – a seasonal separation of water into layers – will last longer in a warmer climate.

Read More Show Less
Trending
A view of Lake Powell from Romana Mesa, Utah, on Sept. 8, 2018. DEA / S. AMANTINI / Contributor / Getty Images

By Robert Glennon

Interstate water disputes are as American as apple pie. States often think a neighboring state is using more than its fair share from a river, lake or aquifer that crosses borders.

Read More Show Less
Plugging and capping abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells in Central Appalachia could generate thousands of jobs. StushD80 / Getty Images

Plugging and capping abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells in Central Appalachia could generate thousands of jobs for the workers and region who stand to lose the most from the industry's inexorable decline.

Read More Show Less
Plastic bails, left, and aluminum bails, right, are photographed at the Green Waste material recovery facility on Thursday, March 28, 2019, in San Jose, California. Aric Crabb / Digital First Media / Bay Area News via Getty Images

By Courtney Lindwall

Coined in the 1970s, the classic Earth Day mantra "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" has encouraged consumers to take stock of the materials they buy, use, and often quickly pitch — all in the name of curbing pollution and saving the earth's resources. Most of us listened, or lord knows we tried. We've carried totes and refused straws and dutifully rinsed yogurt cartons before placing them in the appropriately marked bins. And yet, nearly half a century later, the United States still produces more than 35 million tons of plastic annually, and sends more and more of it into our oceans, lakes, soils, and bodies.

Read More Show Less